No Smartphone, No Life

Disaster.jpeg

So we are utterly and helplessly dependent on our smartphones and mobile communications.


If our enemies strike our communications networks, we are as good as dead. 


Can you imagine the panic and chaos that would ensue?


Cut off from family, friends, and colleagues.


Unable to get unto the Internet!


No eCommerce. 


No online Banking. 


No social networking.

No easily and readily available information.

No online music, videos, or gaming.

No online (fake) news. 


As you see in the photo, under the smashed smartphone…it says, “Disaster”!


We wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves. 


And we wouldn’t know how to conduct ourselves by ourself. 


We are completely dependent on mobile communications and connectivity to each other.


Without, we wither and die. 


And G-d created the marvels of the Heaven and Earth in 6 days. 


But we have become so tethered and dependent on our technology, we are toast in just a split second. 


If we don’t get serious about cybersecurity, and fast, there is going to be hell on Earth to pay. 


And not a single shot needs to be fired. 😉


(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

Why Yell And Intimidate The Child?

Child.jpeg

So at the table next to us this morning at breakfast was a mean looking lady and a fidgety young child. 

The lady as we found out over the course of their dialogue was the child’s grandmother. 

And she wouldn’t stop berating this kid, maybe 5-years old. 

Grandmother: “Don’t you dare get up from the table until I’m done with my coffee, [and then this weird chilling] thank you.”

Child: Obviously looking to run around and have some fun, “But I just want to go.”

Grandmother:  Who has finished her breakfast and coffee and is just making a continuing point, “You’ll wait until I’m done, and I say we’re ready, [and again, the long controlling pause and then] thank you.”

Child: “I’m tired.”

Grandmother: “Then you’ll go upstairs, get back into bed and go to sleep, and no tv, just sleep–you will not move!”

Child: Looks up helplessly sad.

Grandmother: Now the truth starts to come out, “You know I don’t like the way you treat you mother. Your disrespectful! And that won’t go with me.”

Child: Appears to not really understand what she is saying and legs dangle anxiously off the chair, but clearly very afraid to get up.

Grandmother: “You’ll learn to be respectful to your mother. You will learn!”

Child: Head leaning sideways on table, says nothing. 

Grandmother: Makes child wait some more and more, and finally, “Now we can go.”

Child: Child picks head up and runs to take her hand. 

Grandmother: Sneers and smirks with her power over the child–she looks like a freakin’ witch. 

Whole scene was sort of heartbreaking. 

My wife and I look at each other, and shake our heads.

This was not teaching or loving, but something else and it wasn’t normal or nice. 

I say, “Perhaps, when a child is abused this way–day after day, year after year–this is why they grow up and then do horrible and hateful things.”

It’s amazing how adults take out their issues on children–and they think it’s legit–but deep down you can see it really isn’t–and the children and society pays for the sins of the adults. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Can You Say Coalition?

Face.JPEG

So count up the number of times the word coalition was thrown around last night in the DNC Presidential Debate. 


Every last sentence to every question asked was like: 


We need a coalition to defeat ISIS.


We need a coalition outside the U.S. to defeat terrorists grabbing land, and inside the U.S. to defeat the lone attackers. 


We need a coalition for climate change. 


We need a coalition to get our economy back on track.


We need a coalition to better regulate guns. 


We need a coalition on immigration reform. 


Of course, as the superpower, we can’t seem to do anything for ourselves anymore. 


We are disengaged, leading from behind, and have no real answers to any of the big problems we face. 


No matter that we have been using a coalition to fight ISIS these last number of years, and success has been marginal at best as they keep recruiting on social media. 


No matter that we can’t get binding agreements with Iran as they shoot off new ballistic missiles capable of carrying nukes into the ether, or on global warming because each country in the end will do what they want in their own best interests. 


No matter that ISIS, Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea does what they want and don’t need permission, forgiveness, or anything from anybody–they pursue what is good for them and they are relentless in getting it. 


No matter that we constantly show fear and weariness and helplessness in the face of our enemies that have the resolve, patience, and determination to fight as long as it takes and do whatever it takes to win. 


One candidate spurted something about, “Do you know how many coalitions I’ve put together” or “I’ve been putting together coalitions for years” (like that has achieved what exactly)?”


Terrorism is on the rise from Paris to California, ISIS is on the move grabbing up territory from Iraq and Syria and now even in Libya, the world is an unstable powder keg from Taiwan to Sudan, and our problems at home are growing worse (national debt, racial discord, etc.)


Oh, we need to get Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Iraq to step up to the plate, so said another one of the candidates last night. 


But we spend billions and billions training them, and they are happy to take the American dollars, but when the first shot is fired, the troops head for the hills…why should they get killed fighting a war that we care about and against their own brothers.


You can’t relegate your problems to others or ask others to pick up your slack, while you sit back and drop some bombs from the air–la la la la. 


Are we in a complete and utter leadership void and stupor?


Coalitions are only effective when there is leadership and resolve.


Coalitions are a cop-out when we are stymied to fight for ourselves, to stand up for our beliefs and values, to demonstrate we are committed, and to lead the charge. 


Cowardice will lose the war and much else…if we don’t get off the coalition’s dime. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Disabled, Can You Imagine?

Disability
A very important article in the Wall Street Journal by Anthony Weller about what it’s like to Paralyzed From The Neck Down.



Weller has suffered for 10 years with primary progressive multiple sclerosis. 



He describes losing everything…from “incalculable personal pleasures” to being “totally helpless.”



And what’s more, you have to save your chips in asking others for things, because “you’d be asking the whole day.”



“Say goodbye to any sense of personal space, too”–in needing everything, you’re essentially left like an open book to everyone around you.



Here, I can’t help thinking about those moments of personal indignity–in caring for our own bodies–that even that someone else must be there for.



Then, there is the just sitting around and endless thinking…”There isn’t much else to do.”



I remember learning about some medieval torture methods and one involved lying a person down in the space cleaved into the stone face of the dungeon and there a person would essentially rot–not being able to move, sit or stand up, or even roll over. 



How long could a person last like that before completely losing their mind?  



While Weller says that he used to imagine being paralyzed as feeling like being “encased in stone,” but now he see it more that your limbs just ignore you, to me whether you are paralyzed in your own body or embedded in medieval stone, the challenges physically and mentally are as scary as anything that can be imagined. 



How do you keep your sanity, let alone any hope?



Weller says, you live in the past, “happiness isn’t is, but was, [and] you try not to contemplate the future too much.”



G-d should have infinite mercy on his creations and lift up the fallen, cure the sick, and release the innocent that are imprisoned…please, please, please let it be. Amen.



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Hospital Wake Up Call

Sunrise

So recently, I was in the hospital for something. 



G-d, I hate hospitals, but this time something was going on and I knew I had to go. 



I admire all the doctors, nurses, and other health professionals that work there helping people–it is definitely not an easy job.



I watched the other patients–on gurneys, in wheelchairs, laying in the hospital beds, and getting various procedures–and it is eye-opening. 



Many people, who are otherwise strong and able-bodied, are reduced to needing help with feeding, going to the bathroom, getting around, and some even just turning over in bed.



I watched the people out of their everyday clothes and forced into hospital gowns–one of the most awful things in terms of our human modesty and dignity.



Then there is the need to have to ask for everything and being reduced to poking, prodding, and vitals checkups at all hours of the day and night. 



In one case, they even woke someone up to give them a sleeping pill, true. 



Also, when you have to share a room with a stranger with their own various ailments, the quiet time and the privacy to deal with your issues is even less. 



Hospital are not a great place for getting rest or for feeling confidant in your abilities–let’s face it, you’re confronting very helplessness itself.



In these circumstances, I found myself getting down about the circumstances and my wife, G-d bless her, said something really smart to me. 



She said, “You are better than this,” and I looked up at her feeling physically lousey and emotionally spent, and she repeated, “You are better than this.”



I stopped to not just hear what she was saying, but to really listen–and it was amazing. 



She was right, there was nothing to feel bad about. I needed to have faith and believe that all was for the best, and that I was stronger than this test. 



A short time has passed, but I will never forget my wife’s words to me–she gave me a great gift and I will always be grateful what she did for me. 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)