When People Can’t Admit They’re Wrong

So he’s a story from the pool today…


I’m doing my laps minding my own business.


And this guy gets to the pool, sits down, and immediately pulls out his cellphone.


Then he proceeds to literally yell into his phone for probably a good half an hour. 


I’m doing my laps and I can hear this guy yelling:


– At his end of the pool 


– ALL the way at the opposite end of the pool


– With earplugs


– AND even underwater


And he goes on and on and on. 


Doesn’t stop for even a breath of air. 


Now, in all the years swimming, I’ve never had to approach someone about their behavior like this.


BUT this was too much as my head was pounding from his incessant yelling.


I waited until he finished his call. 


And it happened to coincide with me finishing my laps. 


I come out of the pool and grabbed my stuff. 


I have to pass him on the way out. 


And I’m still debating with myself whether this schlemiel is even worth it. 


My head is still throbbing from his yelling.


I stop in front of his chair. 


Now he’s pulled out a book and is trying to read. 


I say:

Excuse me.

He knows he did something wrong, and he barely looks up, trying to ignore me. 


I say again:

Excuse me. Did you intend for everyone at the pool to hear your ENTIRE conversation?


He starts murmuring something, and then says throwing it back on me:

What’s the problem?


So I say:

You were speaking so loud, I could hear you all the way on the opposite end of the pool.  I could even hear you under the water. 


He’s agitating now and he says:

Well, I was speaking to someone 85-years old who doesn’t hear well.  You get it?


So I say respectfully:

I am sorry that he doesn’t hear well, but does everyone else here around the pool also need to hear the conversation? 


Then he says:

So what–I don’t care if everyone hears.


I try one more time.

Do you see all these other people trying to read, rest, swim–do you at all care?


He still can’t get himself to come around, and instead doubles down and says, 

Well. I’ll do whatever I want!

Now, I’ve had enough, and I say:

So basically you don’t give a shit for ANY of your neighbors, do you?


Finally, he must of been embarrassed enough at his terrible behavior, and he backs down and says:

Next time he calls me, I’ll take the conversation inside!


At which point, he goes back to his book, and I complete my exit. 


It took all that just to get him to say he’ll handle it differently next time and basically be respectful of his neighbors and not a selfish pig!


It’s amazing–some people really just can’t own up to when they are being a jerk.


But I was glad this guy finally came around–maybe there is still hope. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Beauty of Words

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “The Beauty of Words.”

Before Amos Oz could read the words themselves (by sounding our the letters), he learned to read by shapes!  Amazingly, he saw the words in a whole new way. The “S” in “Snake” looks like a snake. Similarly the “F” in “Flag” looks like a flag on a pole. Again, an “eye” looks like a pair of eyes with the bridge of a nose between them. 

“Language arts” really is an art that is poetic in sound, meaningful in thought, and even beautiful to look at–no different than a work of art by Picasso or Mozart. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Green Eggs and Ham – דוקטור סוס

So who would’ve thought that Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” comes in Hebrew. 


I watched this video, and loved it!


It is amazing that this can translate over.


One critique that I have is that the book should’ve said that the main character didn’t want to eat the green eggs and ham, because he is kosher (instead of not being hungry or not loving the food).  


But then again, he would’ve had to stick to his guns and not have eaten it in the end.


One other thing that I learned from this video/book, is that even though I am loving learning Hebrew in Ulpan class, I still have the vocabulary of a 9 year old.  LOL


But I’m learning… 😉


(Thank you to my daughter, Rebecca for sharing this with me.)

Going Back To Ulpan

So yesterday, I started Ulpan classes to improve my Hebrew language skills (currently, I’m not very skillful with it).


It was 2.5 hours and it was such a joy for me and my wife and one of my daughter to have the wonderful opportunity to participate in this. 


It wasn’t like in Yeshiva where we focused on learning the Biblical and prayer book Hebrew, and on Aramaic from the Talmud, but was more focused on modern-day conversational Hebrew. 


I loved learning and speaking the words, for example to describe a large cosmopolitan city like Tel Aviv. 


We also listened to recordings of others speaking, read the text, and learned verbs. 


It reminded me of my mom, who also used to love to take Ulpan, and carried around her notebook with the Hebrew words and their translation and the many descriptive verbs–she was so happy learning and practicing. 


Given my horrible language skills, it was funny for me that I was asked if I wanted to join the advanced class…ah, no!  (or at least not yet…)


While so many languages (and cultures) have died over the ages, Hebrew and the modern State of Israel is a complete revival–it’s truly miraculous!


There were people in the class from Asia, South America, and all over the world!


And from all the people there, I felt a tremendous love not only for the language, but for the land of Israel, and the Jewish people. 


I wish like this beautiful language we all embraced, everyone could love and not hate us anymore!


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

How-To Book Craze

How To Take Photos

I took this photo of a person reading a how to take great photos book.


Sort of ironic, funny, no?


You can read about it or do it. 


I’m one of those people who learn more by actually doing. 


Ok, I’m not the greatest photographer in the world (by a really long shot).


But for me it’s more about the idea I’m trying to convey than the pure artistic value per se. 


Anyway, in the vein of words being cheap, “Reading is fundamental,” but doing is absolutely fundamental. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

B&N Chairs Are The Pits

Barnes and Nobles
So if you ever go to Barnes and Nobles, you’ll see that they have the most horribly hard wooden chairs. 



They are so  uncomfortable–many people seem to rather sprawl out on the floor to browse the magazines and books, rather then get a butt bender in those darn chairs. 



Some other people that I’ve seen now have resorted to placing cushy stuffed animals on the chairs to ease the discomfit on the arse!



I took this picture of someone’s chair by the window with 2 stuffed animals left over after what must’ve been a much needed cushion liner on the the bare wood. 



[BTW, sorry for whoever buys those sat on, smelled on stuffed animals afterwards–ew!]



The question is why invite people in to browse and sit–if you are only going to make them so uncomfortable.



Ok, I get the implicit message, “You can read for a few minutes, but otherwise buy something or get the h*ck out!”



And not that they are wrong (they aren’t), but why resort to making people physically uncomfortable and forcing them to leave instead of making everything welcoming and encouraging shopping and sales.



Barnes and Nobles–a nice place to visit for 20 minutes as long as you have some stuffed animals for your butt–but Amazon will reign bookstore supreme. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

For Everyone That Loves Reading

Books
I thought this was a great picture for everyone that loves reading.



Whether you read from traditional paper books, newspapers, magazines, and journals, or you prefer reading from a tablet, smartphone, eReader, or browser. 



Reading expands our mind, challenges our thinking, and builds on our knowledge. 



Here’s to reading…just about everything you can get your hands on. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)