Everyone Deserves A Day of Rest and Happiness


So someone I know came over to this country and literally has to work 7 days a week for months at a time!


They don’t want or need to work that much, but their employer insists that’s the way it is. 


On top of it, they don’t even get overtime for all the unbelievable hours they have to put in. 


One day, this person actually just broke down in incredible tears, just asking to get a single day off. 


Finally, finally, finally–the employer gave in–for just a single day!


The person was so happy–one day of freedom; one day to enjoy; one day to regain their inner beauty and humanity. 


I was so happy for them!


Every person deserves at least one day off per week. 


Every single one of the major religions in the world that is anchored in the Bible–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam–have a holy Sabbath as a day of rest.


There is a divine and ancient wisdom to this. 


People need a day to rejuvenate.


Everything is nature does.


Even the fields have to lay fallow every 7th year so the earth can revitalize and replenish itself. 


There is a natural cycle to things–peaks and valleys–and we need to have some rest and relaxation–to work for something and not for nothing. 


The joy on this person to just have a day off–it was so incredible and touching. 


It spoke light years to me about treating people right–just–humanly–with compassion–and doing good over evil in this world.


What does the employer need to wring an extra days work out of their employees for the rotten greed of money and profits?  


Better to care for your people, and they will be better off for it and thus to the needs of the business and its customers. 


Care for people–they are people. 


Love people–they are G-d’s beautiful children. 


Treat others as you would like to be treated. 


Let everyone have a day of rest and something to look forward to–to enjoy, to have some happiness, to get time with their family and friends, to get back to themselves, to attain a deserved and proper peace of mind, body, and soul. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)  

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The Wealth Effect

So some wealthy people are good and they use their blessings and good fortune to help others.


Yet, others think that they “have it all coming” to them, and they flaunt their money and look at others who don’t have what they do as pure trash–unworthy to occupy or breath the same universal space or air that they do. 


Visiting Palm Beach yesterday, I must say that I saw too much more of the latter than the former. 


Some people were nice, but others were incredibly arrogant. 


With my Jewish head-covering (yarmulke) and our mundane vacation wardrobe, we got more than our share of looks–with one older lady who was wearing fancy clothes and talking to another literally sneering at us with her nose raised in contempt as we passed. 


People whispered as we browsed the fancy stores where a shirt, skirt, or bag averaged around $10,000!


Even a large (over-sized) coffee table book was almost $1,000.


Yes, we did not belong there to buy anything, and were just respectfully browsing–and frankly, we are human beings too.


In the end, we were subject to some good old-fashioned racial profiling by the Palm Beach Police, who pulled us out as we were entering an Uber by the gorgeous beach and fancy schmancy Worth Avenue. 


At least 3 police cars surrounded us and took us toward one of them for questioning. 


They said to my wife that Chanel called saying a woman in a “hot pink” top and black skirt had stolen a pair of sunglasses. 


My wife doesn’t wear sunglasses!


We told them matter-of-factly that we weren’t even in that store–although we did pass by there–and my wife wasn’t wearing a skirt, but rather pants.


They looked in my wife’s knapsack that she opened and it was almost empty except for some travel items for the day. 


Then they said that the suspect that been called in had high heels, which also my wife didn’t have–so basically the description didn’t match and it didn’t make any sense why they even pulled us over.


Hey, did they bother to check the store’s surveillance tapes to see what the thief actually looked like???


So after they proceeded anyway to run my wife drivers license for any outstanding warrants–hey,  at this point might as well try for something–we finally, we got the:


Oh, so sorry for the inconvenience and have a nice day folks. 


Another officer winked at me. 


This whole thing went right along with the scene of the high-end looking Palm Beach patrol car that they have off to the side of the road immediately when you get over the bridge to their luxury island–clearly conveying the message:


Non-wealthy people not wanted here!


We are watching you!


So this is part of the land of the free and the home of the brave, but where the sickness of money pours from their narcissistic veins. 


But interestingly enough, right over the bridge going in the other direction–after you leave this island paradise–is the hospital. 


I’d bet that they probably all have nice, private rooms for these monetarily rich people, but for those that are spiritually bankrupted, I’m sure that their money doesn’t buy them what is truly important in life like health, meaning, happiness, or love. 


For the ones that are driven by corruption, greed, and arrogance–what they get is a dirty evil little soul.


And like Sodom and Gomorrah–these things usually don’t end well for them. 


If they manage to live out their stink-in rich years, I think G-d will probably send them back one day, but instead, theirs will be a story of riches to rags–so they learn their lesson and learn it well. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Heart And Soul Of The Matter

So I had a beautiful conversation with an older gentleman who works in a menial job for minimum wage for most of his life. 


But this person was shinning and smiling ear-to-ear. 


What happened, he got offered a job to work in a lovely school as their cook. 


He’s been doing this as a special treat for the students once a year, and they decided to bring him on to do this full time. 


He pulled out his phone and proudly showed me a picture of himself in the classroom surrounded by all the children.  He was in an orange sweater and stood out in the middle of all of them and with a smile that lit up the entire room. 


He told me how the children thought of him as a celebrity chef and the teacher even organized autographs by him for the children.


His whole life, he questioned his worth, and now he felt recognized, appreciated, and loved. 


I told him that I thought he was indeed quite a special person. 


He said to me, you may have a talent or be special, but you have to recognize it–and he repeated aloud again at least three times emphasizing more and more on RECOGNIZE it. 


Surely, after so many years, only now was he being recognized and more so, recognizing it himself. 


Apparently, someone who worked in the school was also a renown food critic, and she had nothing but praises to sing of him. 


Talking with him, I felt my eyes being opened. 


Everyone can do good with their lives and have worth. 


We have to recognize it in ourselves. 


We need to just be given an opportunity to show it and share it. 


It doesn’t matter what you are or earn.


It matters where your heart is.


For many, they earn gazillions, but their heart is a heart of stone. 


For others, they may earn minimum wage, but their heart is a heart of gold. 


It’s not the money, it’s not the power, it’s not the prestige…it’s the heart and soul of the matter. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Homeless DC

So aside from all the Washington, D.C. weighty monuments to our esteemed values of democracy, freedom, and human rights.


And aside from all the prestigious institutions and people of great power that formulate the policies and rules and keep us abiding by them. 

This is what I see in D.C. 


The plight of the poor, homeless, and downtrodden. 


Those that have fallen by the wayside.


People who are down on their luck.


Human beings–that’s right human beings–that need and deserve help or even just a chance.


Why does anyone have to live–if you can even call this living–like this a couple of blocks from the White House. 


I know there are people all over the world who are hungry, homeless, sick, and abused.


Yet, nowhere is this more stark an example than in the U.S.A where there is such an enormous divergence between “the haves” and “the have nots” and where our values are supposedly bound up with equality, human rights, charity, and kindness.


Yes, we are supposed to be equal in treatment and in opportunity, but we all know that is not really the case. 


Sure, some work hard and others are perhaps lucky/blessed, but then are those that are born with a “silver spoon in their mouths” and excel through a tight weave of corruption, narcissism, nepotism, and abuse.


Yet a real chance for everyone, a living wage, and basic dignity and respect should be afforded to all.


Money and power is ephemeral.  


Those with it, that abuse it, shall see it pass between their fingers ever trying to clutch unto it with dear life. 


Only the way we treat others will last in this world and in the world after. 


Everything goes around and comes around. 


This is the cycle of life and the lot of those who abuse their good fortune as well as those that harness it. 


G-d will judge with His mighty hand and bring to bear the deeds and intentions of those that mock His holy will. 


Because His children lay in rags and heaps, while others dance their folly jig. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Invasion of Dinosaur

So what’s with the invasion of dinosaurs. 


First one is standing next to the checkout line in Whole Foods in Maryland.


Second one is actually on someone’s terrace overlooking the beach in Fort Lauderdale.


Third one is the real McCoy from the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. 


Certainly, dinosaurs aren’t cute and cuddly–even the plush ones from Whole Foods–they’d eat you and I for dinner if they could!


So why do we gravitate to relics from the Ice Age past?


Perhaps, just like looking forward to Aliens from outer space, the dinosaurs represent an important historical link for us, and thus anchor us in a much larger perspective of time and space. 


In a way, it all points to the dichotomy between us as humans with great–almost endless–potential, and yet at the same time, how small we are relative to the enormous dinosaurs that roamed the earth of yesteryear as well as the distinct possibility of mighty extraterrestrials that we may someday (soon) encounter from outer space. 


From this context, I guess what’s really amazing is that we, as a people, are still here!


Despite our bad habits and unsustainable living, we continue to innovate our way out of own messes of greed, conflict, contagion, pollution, and resource depletion, and create a future far beyond what destroyed our predecessors or even what may come from current or potential future foes. 


Like the economy, we think we can grow ourselves out of all our troubles–and who knows, maybe we can if we can continue to stay at least one or two steps ahead of all the challenges and threats–but, at the back (or front) of our minds is what if we can’t or don’t?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Always An Evil Cersei

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So Games of Thrones session 7 was fantastic!


And the evil ruler of Westeros in King’s Landing, Cersei Lannister, never ceases to amaze in her deviousness and wrongdoing. 


There is a great existential threat to the 7 Kingdoms as 100,000 strong army of White Walkers and a zombie dragon (as Air Force) invades from beyond the wall in the far north.


And while Jon Snow (King of the North) and Daenerys Targaryen (Queen heir to the 7 Kingdoms) unites to fight them, Cersei seeks to win it all for herself. 


Cersei gives her word to join them with her armies in the fight against the invaders, but instead she backtracks and plans to conquer them from the south as they faceoff with the enemy to the north. 


This is the classic treachery of getting the upper hand and working to divide and conquer. 


As the Queen of Evil, Cersei will torture and kill anyone in her path to power, even threatening her own brother and incest partner, Ser Jaime, so turning on her competition to the Iron Throne is just a walk in the park for her. 


Unfortunately, this is really a tale of everyday life…where people band together to fight big enemies that threaten us–whether from violence, poverty, or illness–and someone always uses the war of the day as an opportunity to benefit themselves. 


Whether it’s arms trafficking, human smuggling, drug profiteering, intellectual property theft, money laundering or someone else trying to get rich, famous, and powerful by exploiting an opening for themselves, there is always a Cersei! 


Cerseis are people that don’t care about solving large institutional or global problems–but instead are selfish and seek to capitalize on them.


While the White Walkers invade, Cersei is counting bodies of her enemies fending them off, while she seeks to take over once the battlefield is full of everyone else’s corpses. 


Cerseis are people you know at work, school, in the community and in politics…they take when others give, and they don’t give back in return, because they want what everyone else has and works for, and that is how they win the Game of Thrones in everyday life.


How do you stop the Cerseis of the world–anyone got some Dragonglass? 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to HBO via the New York Times)

I Got The Call

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I got the call!


But not the one that I always wanted, which is to serve at the very highest echelons of government or/and industry for those values and things which I so hold dear. 


No, instead I got the call that my professor in college warned me about. 


He said:

“You will get a call one day from someone asking for a lot of cash–no questions asked! At that time, you will know who you’re real friends are.”


So I actually got this call (for real) and in the middle of my work day.


This person who contacts me is considered quite affluent and with an extensive network, and I know him/her for only a relatively short time


Person:

“You know you’re like family to me Andy…I need $2,000–in cash–by 7 pm. I’ll pay you back $500 on Friday and the rest by Monday.”


Me (Stunned):

“What–is this a joke or something?”


Person:

{Repeats again the request}


Me:

“OMG. What’s wrong–is everyone okay? Are you in any trouble?”


Person:

Uh, everyone’s fine…don’t ask me any questions–there’s no time for this now.”


Me {Reaching for some humor in this bizarre situation}:

“Oh, only $2,000–I thought maybe you needed $2 million–that’s no problem, of course.”


Person:

“Please don’t make jokes now Andy–this isn’t funny!”


Me {Trying once again to get some more–any–information}:

“Can you just explain to me what’s going on–I really want to understand, so I can help you.”


Person:

“Do you have the cash or not?”


Me: 

“To be frank no. I don’t keep any cash around. {Inquiring to learn more…} Could you take a check or something else?”


Person:

“No. Listen, can you go to the ATM now?”


Me {frustrated by the abruptness, lack of sensical communication, and pushiness, as well as more than a little suspicious at how this is all going down}:

“Well the ATMs have a cash limit. Also, I would really need to check with my {lovely} wife first,”


Person {seeing they weren’t getting what they wanted when they wanted it}:

“Okay, well if you can’t help, I’ll just call someone else–thanks {hanging up on me}!” 


WOW!


Despite having trusted this person and feeling very hurt by all this, I still called the person back later that evening to follow up and because I truly cared, and they were still not any more forthcoming with me, and in fact, were quite attacking that they were sorry to have called me.


But I wasn’t sorry…my college professor was right on, thank G-d–I do know who my friends are!


Whether its a lunch date, LinkedIn/Facebook contact, or social invitation, be discerning about the motives of people–outside of any sane and normal context–that are seeking to “friend” you. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)