Monument To The Homeless

I really had to take a second look at this. 


From a distance, it looked like another homeless person sleeping on the bench in Washington., D.C. 


But as I got closer, I realized this was a statue of a homeless person.


And the only thing real about it was the empty cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee next to it. 


Honestly, I am not sure what the point of this statue is. 


There are enough REAL homeless people to remind us of their serious plight and the critical need to help them. 


The money that went into creating this monument would’ve been far better spent on helping these real people in need. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Who Took The Cheese?

So this is a photo from today in the cafeteria of the mac and cheese. 


What I see without fail, day-in and day-out ,is that the people take the yummy crispy cheese off the top of the mac and cheese. 


The result is that just a few people get all the cheesy cheese from on top and everyone else is left with the noodles underneath.  


So for cheese sake, why do they do it?


– For the Love of Cheese – People simply love melted cheese so much, they’ll do anything to get more of it.


– Because They Can Take Cheese – People take the best part, the crispy cheese on top for themselves, because they can and there is only benefits to themselves and no adverse consequences if they do it. 


– They are Very Hungry for Cheese – People take the cheese because they are so famished, only the cheese on top can satisfy their hunger pains. 


– Sense of Cheese Entitlement – People have a sense of entitlement for themselves, and if there’s cheese to be had, they they are entitled to it.


– Cheese Narcissism – People are innately selfish for cheese and they will take and take and take until there is no cheese on top for anyone else. 


– Anti-social Cheese Behavior – People have anti-social personality cheese disorder, so they can’t help but take all the cheese. 


– Not Enough Cheese to Go Around – People feel their is simply not enough cheese to go around; in other words cheese is a scarce resource, which makes it a valuable cheese commodity to scoop up for themselves. 


What is really funny-sad about this whole cheese situation is that every day the food service seems to put out the same leftover mac and cheese with a fresh topping of the cheesy-cheese on top, only for it all to be taken off again–cheesy day after cheesy day. 😉


(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)

Conflict – Resolution or Escalation

Conflict.jpeg

So I thought this was interesting on the cause of conflict. 


There are four main parts:


1) Deprivation – You believe that someone is depriving you of something you need or want. This could be something physical like money, or an object or it could be inanimate such as love or respect. The feeling of deprivation is anchored in a real or perceived feeling or being deprived of access to resources or the imbalance who has those resources. 


2) Name – You identify the person you feel is causing you this deprivation. 


3) Blame – You blame them for their role in causing you harm. 


4) Claim – You justify the accusation by anchoring it in a claim that the other person has violated some social norm such as taking something that doesn’t belong to them or violating an agreement you have with them and so on. 


As the conflict comes to a head, it is clear that people are feeling hurt, that there is a desire to correct the situation, and that you are going to confront the (perceived) culprit and make your case on why what they are doing is wrong and how it should be resolved. 


If you have the wrong person in the cross-hairs, your justification is weak or you’re not telling the whole story (i.e. maybe you played a part or harmed the other person too), or the person just won’t give you a fair hearing and sincerely work with you to resolve it, then the conflict may escalate from here.  


Usually, it’s best to listen, empathize, negotiate, compromise, try to be reasonable, and resolve the situation at the earliest point possible.


If there is a greater conflict or risk to either party involved, then heels may get dug in and all avenues to resolving it can be open including legal and even all out war. 


Conflict is no game, but in some cases it may be unavoidable–and then the ramifications can be earth shattering. 


What to do when you’re in a conflict situation? Think before you act, and then think again. 


Ultimately, peace is one of the greatest of blessings. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Under The Feet Of Haters

Feet.jpeg

So there is a saying in Washington, D.C….


“You know you’ve made it when you have your haters.”


This is a very political town!


But more than that, a leader has to take a position. 


You have to stand for something. 


There are oodles of constituencies and no matter how hard you try, you will never satisfy everyone. 


Yes ideally, we always want to create a win-win situation. 


However, every give, usually has a take, since the pie isn’t infinite. 


Compromise where possible, but hold your ground where necessary. 


The key is to choose a direction from your conscience and follow your moral compass and do the most good for the most people and what’s right in the eyes of G-d. 


Unfortunately, some people will declare themselves your mortal enemy and try to stamp you out of existence just for being and following who you are. 


Many of us who have experienced racism, discrimination, slavery, and even genocide know this senseless hate all too well. 


Be strong of of good courage and do righteousness. 


G-d is our rock and shield. 

Psalm 27: “The L-rd is my light and salvation–whom shall I fear?  The L-rd is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid.”

So as your enemies advance to step on and try and crush you, remember that G-d will decide where their feet actually land and how they will fall. 🙂


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why We Fight?

Google Diversity.jpeg

Well first of all, let me say that I really liked this image on Google the other day. 


Beautiful to see the diversity and brotherhood (and including those with disabilities)!


I had a an interesting conversation with my daughter the other day about why people often don’t get along. 


She said something that I thought was really astute:


“If there were unlimited resources, then no one would have a reason to fight!”


Think about that a moment…


Everyone feels they don’t have enough or someone else has more then them or they are afraid they won’t get their share, and so what happens?


Like jealous little children, we fight for the pail and shovel in the sandbox. 


Only as adults, our sandbox is a lot bigger and it involves hate, bigotry, racism and deadly weapons including guns, knives, and even nukes!


So this isn’t the Garden of Eden where everyone prances around free and with plenty and nothing to worry about. 


Instead, everyone has to work “by the sweat of your brow,” and there are limits to what we have, and there is fighting over who has what.


Yes, truly “greed is the root of all evil.”


What we need to learn and internalize is that it’s more important how we act towards each other than what we have and that the real gold in life is the good we do and not the plenty we amass. 


Sure we each need enough to be able to survive and excel as human beings, but it’s fool’s gold that prevents us from seeing each other as the real brothers and sisters we all are. 


If only we had enough–in both perception and reality–then peace could reign among mankind. 😉


(Source Photo: Google)

Special Blue Bird

blue-bird

Just wanted to share a photo I took of this beautiful blue bird that I came across in Florida. 


This bird was something special. 


I couldn’t help admiring his amazingly blue feathers punctuated by the yellow around his smart eyes 


He wasn’t the only beautiful animal or flower that we saw there, there were many.


They all just left me in wonderment at the unbelievable beauty that G-d created for us in this world.


No one is going to tell me this is all random by evolution, and that there is not a profoundly wise and all-knowing Maker behind it.


Perhaps, we never really left the physical Garden of Eden, but being expelled from there meant more of a mentality where we have to work and fight hard to keep it all pristine.


Mankind’s inclination is to take and use abundantly almost without thought as to the sustainability of his actions.


– Cities expand and encroach on natural rural areas. 


– G-d’s beautiful creatures are in retreat and often in danger of extinction. 


– Resources are used willy nilly as we dig and dig, chop and chop, and burn and burn. 


– Garbage is expelled and piles up virtually anywhere and everywhere.


– Pollution fills the land, air, and waterways.


Eden is still here, but people must act more like angels and less like snakes if G-d gracious gifts to us are to survive. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)