Wide Load @McDonald’s

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I took this photo passing a McDonald’s. 


It just seemed so perfect.


With this SUV parked right between the McDonald’s arches.


And on the SUV are two red warning flags sticking out from the sides with a sign on top that says: 

“Wide Load” 

And in the McDonald’s window is a smiley face and a $2.99 Happy Meal special. 


With the “fast food” unhealthy eating culture that McDonald’s has so long represented, what is there really to smile about except the cheap fixings. 


If you eat at McDonald’s too much or too long then like Morgan Spurlock in the documentary “Super Size Me,” who ate nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days and gained almost 25 pounds and felt crappy…unfortunately the sign “Wide Load” may be descriptive of what can happen.   


This isn’t a dig at McDonald’s per se (there are many fast food joints and things that we know aren’t necessarily good for us)…moderation in life is really key. 


Healthy eating, exercise, mindfulness, work-life balance, and generally taking good care of yourself is not just a nice to have, but important to our well-being.


Genetics aside, it’s the “Battle of the Bulge,” and it’s a lifelong pursuit to be healthy 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Faces of The Metro and The Times

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Do these people look happy and fulfilled or are they looking more vacant, exhausted, and miserable to you?


Is it the Metro? 

Is it Washington, D.C.? 

Is it their work? 

Is it family issues? 

Is it the economy?

Is it health problems?


For a superpower country with supposed incredible wealth, might, and freedom to enjoy it all–what the heck is going on.


Should we blame the politics and fighting? 

Should we blame the fake news optics?

Should we blame our gnawing adversaries (Axis of Evil Russia, Iran, North Korea…)?

Should we blame materialism and consumerism (and a corresponding lack of spirituality and values in our lives)? 


We have the greatest advances in history–revolutionizing energy, transportation, healthcare, communications, and more–so much to advance our well-being, to savor, and seemingly endless more to come. 


Why aren’t people smiling?

Why aren’t people jumping for joy more? 

Why aren’t people even awake with eyes open to enjoy the life’s journey?


There should be great hope in the future–with fruitful life there is hope and with hope there is excitement and joy–but without hope all is meaningless and lost.  


What is going on out there–psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, clergy?


We are trying to do everything right.


So where are we going wrong-wrong-wrong? 😉


(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

I Met The Swamp And It Is Us

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So with the election came promises (and hope to some) to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C. and beyond. 


That means redefining the size, scope, and purpose of federal government.


It also means reducing regulations that stifle American business and competitive advantage, placing restrictions on lobbying, and imposing term limits on Congress.


Presumably, it also means addressing mounds of fraud, waste and abuse in the system (many examples of each are out there).  


So here is a funny true story from when I was traveling recently…


A gentleman is riding with me in the elevator and he turns to me to make chit-chat. 


He says, “Good morning. Where you from?”


I smile and respond, “Washington, D.C.,” and add proudly, “the nation’s capital!”


He then asks, “What do you do there?”


Feeling a little perky that morning and with the elevator ride about to come to a stop at the lobby, I quickly blurt out, “Oh, cleaning up the swamp.”


To which, the man responds with the sarcasm galore and probably a good dose of disdain, “Yeah right!” 


There was something so comical about this scene in which I sort of baited this guy and at the same time found the reaction that is all too likely throughout America.


Do people believe and are they committed that we really do the following:


– Change the status quo of big stumbling government


– Right the wrongs done by those who take advantage of the system, its power and big money


– Restrain the ginormous national debt that threatens to consume all of us


– Fairly and compassionately address the nation’s priorities including those for national security, prosperity, and well-being


– Drain the swamp from the horrendous creatures that dwell and thrive therein


And the capital is not built on a preexisting swamp, but it did come and grow, man-made, dark and deep, as a result of the greed and fear that drives too many, far too far. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When Life Has Meaning

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What makes meaning in life?


Faith.


Family.


Friends.


Love.


Giving.


Integrity. 


Purpose.


Learning. 


Growth.


Struggle. 


Hope.


Meaning is crucial to personal happiness and wellbeing. 


Without meaning there is worthlessness, helplessness, and hopelessness.


Seek meaning to prolong your life and make it a life truly worth living. 😉


(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

Respect The Disabled

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So coming home tonight on the Metro train… 


People were switching trains in downtown D.C. 


Getting off from one train and going up the escalator to catch another. 


Every night people literally race up the escalator to catch their next ride. 


Some pushing their way on past the laggards. 


Others yelling for the people in front to “move it!”


Tonight, there was someone riding up the escalator on a wheelchair and holding unto to both sides to keep the chair from tipping over or literally rolling down backwards. 


(Usually the people in wheelchairs take the elevator and this was the first time I saw someone on the escalator riding it like this.)


So while I was expecting the people to start acting up on the escalator, running for the train on the platform.  


Instead, when they got to the wheelchair, they stopped and silently rode up with deep respect for the person holding himself steady.


There wasn’t a peep or a shove. 


I could see people missing their train, but they were thankful for their health and respectful of the man in the wheelchair. 


Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised and proud that there is still some human decency out there and that is cause for hope. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Little Wear and Tear

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Despite a generally longer life expectancy…people still have lots of aches and pains already by midlife. 


Danielle Ofri in the New York Times points out:

“Our bodies evolved to live about 40 years and then be finished off by a mammoth or a microbe. [However,] thanks to a century of staggering medical progress, now now live past 80, but evolution hasn’t caught up; the cartilage in our joints still wears down in our 40s and we are more obese and more sedentary that we used to be, which doesn’t help.”

I hear from so many people in their 40s that they are already getting knee and hip replacements; they have high blood pressure, diabetes, and are having heart attacks, and many even are seeing their first bouts of cancer.


So in many ways, the 40s really sucks!  


Many of us would be dead many times over already, if not for G-d’s grace and the miracles of medical science and technology these days. 


So life is prolonged, and we even often get pain relief, while we are able to continue forward with our families, communities, and careers.


As we read in Psalms 39:4

“Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.”

Perhaps that’s what illness is…G-d showing us that we are just mortal and that life is short and we need to make the most of every minute. 


When everything is going just swell, how easy it is to become arrogant and forget how mortal we really are. 


My father used to say:

“G-d doesn’t let any tree grow into the heavens.”

By our 40s, when most of us are growing our families, careers, wealth, and stature–unfortunately, maybe we sort of need that kick in the pants from Above. 


G-d is our maker and our teacher, and he guides us to the end of our days, and hopefully they are reached with wisdom, meaningful contributions, piety, and love. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Congrats @POTUS

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May G-d bless the United States of America and our true friends and allies!


It doesn’t matter whether you are Republican or Democrat, Black or White, Jew or Christian, Male or Female–we need to unite and move this country forward and be great again!


Strength, Security, Health, Economy, Jobs, Education, Environment, Space, Jobs, Freedom, and Human Rights.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via Fox News)