Duck The Bullet

Firing Squad.jpeg

So I learned that there are at least 2 things to be mindful of when it comes to a firing squad:


1. Never get between a man and his firing squad — sometimes, the judgment has already been passed, the victim blindfolded and tied, the trigger(s) already pulled back and the victim is too far gone to save.  Don’t step in front of the bullet!


2. When it is a circular firing squad, rise above it! — when people are engaged in self-destructive, internal disputes, recriminations, and taking pot shots at each other,  you need to either duck or rise above the fray and be the bigger man/woman.


Shooting the messenger, the interventionist, or each other just leaves a lot of spilt blood.

  

Save yourself and stay focused and determined to fight for the issue, when others are simply determined to take someone out back and put the bullet through their head. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Shockingly Hungry

Parenting

So a funny part of my personality is that I can be a little bit of a joker sometimes.


I am a study of human nature, so it can be fun just to get a rouse out of people, by doing something unexpected or even shocking. 


Today, going through the airport with my daughter, the TSA security lines were a lot better than what had been advertised lately.


As we get through and are getting our stuff together, my daughter says to me (around breakfast time now): “I’m hungry, can we get something to eat?”


So, I jokingly turn to her with a serious face on and say, “But you already ate yesterday!”


This strange man next to us, stops dead in his tracks overhearing what I said, and gives us the craziest look.


So what do I do having a ball with this?


I repeat even louder and with more emphasis, “Why do you need to eat again?  You already ate yesterday!!”


I am having to hold myself from cracking up laughing as I know this guy is listening and I almost can’t wait to see his facial expression. 


I look at my daughter who gets it and is playing along and she is also pretending and putting on a sour face like she can’t have any food today.


The guy looks like he is about to explode and say something, but decides I suppose to just make a real disgusted kvetchy face and move on.


I was sort of disappointed that he didn’t want to help (in his mind) this kid and say something like, “How can you do that–and not feed her every day?”


I would have admired him for actually caring enough to try to help and intervene for someone else, even a stranger. 


But I guess the pent up shocked look will have to surface for today’s human antics. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Taking A Bow

Taking A Bow
Wow–this is some awesome piece of art!



Aside from the beauty of it, what do I think about looking at this?



Something like this:



Some people take a bow in arrogance and self-aggrandizement, while others are bowed in humbleness and grace.



Those who see only their own greatness fail to see all those people, factors, and most importantly, G-d’s mercy that enabled them to achieve what they have. 



We are but agents of the heavenly maker above who endows us with creativity and the ability to capitalize on it. 



We should be bowed in thankfulness to G-d, but unfortunately all too often instead stare in the mirror admiring our own image that we imagine is so talented and successful because of who we are and what we ourselves have done–that we can’t even contain our bursting self-satisfaction in wonderful selves. 



Yes, it’s good to recognize when we do something good and when we make mistakes so that we can learn from them, but G-d is not only our one-time maker, but he gives us the knowledge, skills, abilities, and good fortune to succeed in what he wills. 



I remember being taught in Jewish day school that not a leaf falls from a tree without G-d wishing it–that G-d is not only the creator, but is intimately involved every moment with us and the world.  



Like the most brilliant computer that can calculate gazillions of calculations a second, G-d can orchestrate the fates of all his creations in a just and masterful way that takes everything we do and don’t do into account.



May it be G-d’s will to endow us with what we need to succeed and for us to be deserving of it, and to recognize from where it all comes and not be so in awe of ourselves that we fail to see our innate limitations and mortality that is us. 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Struggle Against Nature and Nurture

Struggle Against Nature and Nurture

I started watching The Following on Netflix.

If you haven’t seen it, the show is a portrayal of a serial killer.

This criminal has a near cult like following of people who want to kill, like him, and they do.

It is a frightening portrayal of people who murder, gruesomely.

They do it almost nonchalantly, like second nature.

They have no remorse, quite the opposite, they are deeply committed to what they do (e.g. through stabbing, burning, choking, etc.)

And they connect with each other, and the main serial killer, in their brutal acts of murder.

The show is deeply troubling in that there seems to be so many people out there who savor this, and that the authorities struggle to try to stop them.

Last year, the Wall Street Journal explored the science behind violent criminals.

They found in more than 100 studies that “about half of the variance in aggressive and anti-social behavior can be attributed to genetics.”

The study of this is called neurocriminology.

When this predisposition of genetics is combined with “early child abuse,” an individual is more prone to commit violent acts.

This is the old, “nature and nurture,” where our biological predisposition combined with our specific environmental factors, in a sense, make us who we are.

Understanding these contributors can help to both predict behavior and recidivism, and very importantly help with early treatment by “making it possible to get ahead of the problem” through therapy, medication, and so on.

People can be the worst type of animals, killing not only for food or because they are threatened, but actually for the joy of it.

The show is scary, but the reality is even more frightening as we battle heredity and environment.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Panera Bread and The Disabled Man

Panera_bread
So how many of you have seen the ABC show “What Would You Do?” hosted by John Quinones.
The show is a little like “Candid Camera,” which ran for over 5 decades, in which a practical joke was played out on people with a hidden camera capturing their reactions. Then when the joke was over, the people would be told “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera.”The new show “What Would You Do?” is similar in that a scenario is played out with a hidden camera, but rather than a joke, people are tested with illegal or unjust situations to see what they would do and whether they would speak up for the victim? It is a test of character and conviction. And at the end of the scenario, Quinones and the cameras are revealed.

I was reminded of this show yesterday, when I was in at Panera Bread and at the table next to me was a disabled man in a scooter–hunched over and not looking too well.

At one point, the disabled man leaves the table for a moment to get something to eat or go to the bathroom, perhaps.

In the meantime, another man comes over and takes his table. When the disabled man in the scooter returns and asks for his table back, the other man simply ignores him (intentionally) and keeps eating as if the diasabled man wasn’t even there.

The kicker here was that the disabled man could not really sit anymore else as this particular table had the extra room around it that he needed to get his scooter in at.

The disabled man put his head down and just shook his head in disbelief that the other man wouldn’t let him sit back at the table.
The man eating his sandwich finally says, “No one was here–this is my table!”

At this point, I couldn’t stand seeing this poor man suffer anymore, and I said “He was sitting there, the whole time, and just left for a moment.” To which, I thought this whole “misunderstanding” between the men would be resolved.

But I was wrong!

The man eating his sandwich at the table then shakes his head and nods his shoulders indicating that he just didn’t care and too bad on the disabled man.

In turn, I offered the disabled man our table and that we would move instead, but he refused and just waited for the other man to do the right thing.

At this point both myself and my wife and the people sitting on the other side of the man try to intervene and ask that he please give the disabled man his table back, where he had been sitting, so he could finish his meal.

Then, the man at the table slams his fist down and starts cursing us all out, loudly.

My wife got up to get the store manager, and while she does this the man finally moves to another table pushing an empty chair at us.

I couldn’t help thinking how this was like the show “What Would You Do?”–but this was real life and this horrible man was no actor!

And John Quinones did not appear to interview everyone after and have a few laughs. Instead, we were saddened by how some people can be so cruel to others and I was reminded by something I had read from Voltaire that stated that “every person is guilty of all the good he didn’t do.”

My hope is that whatever hurt this person had in their life that would cause them to treat others this way is healed and that they can find in their heart to have mercy on others and help them rather than get angry and spiteful–there are more tables to eat at and the food is just as good over there. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Getting Control By Getting Back To Basics

Controller

I don’t know if you’ve seen this–it’s pretty popular, but I just really liked it:

 

“Beware of your thoughts, they become your words. 

Beware of your words, they become your actions. 

Beware of your actions, they become your habits. 

Beware of your habits, they become your character. 

Beware of your character, it becomes your destiny.”


To me it just makes so much sense–and it’s how we can either get ourselves on a track for successful living or potentially into some pretty big trouble:

 

It starts with a simple thought–good or bad–light bulb goes on, bling! 

Utter the thought (in word) and it begins to take form–blah, blah, blah.  

Put that thought into action, and now–boy oh boy–what have you done?

Repeat once, twice, three times, and you have a habit–or in Jewish tradition a “Chazakah,” something firm or established–think of it as, you’re hooked. 

Habits sure as heck breed character–and don’t pretend otherwise…

And your character is your calling card with others and ultimately with G-d.


The good thing is that we have 5 steps to intervene–to gain control over where we are going with our lives.

 

And we can turn things around, at any time.

 

– Change your thinking. 

– Clean up your mouthpiece. 

– Act with kindness. 

– Repeat only the things you want to ingrain. 

– Guard your character through regular monitoring and course correction.


(Source Photo: here)