Halloween DC Style

So Halloween in Washington, D.C. is no small deal.

I liked the new spooky Orange Fanta soda cans with the scary lady on it–it really stood out from all the others–Coke, Pepsi, etc.–that were otherwise so boring. 

Then there was this other lady riding the Metro in her Halloween outfit–anybody need a nurse?

Let’s just say she seems to have evoked some attention on the train. 

Even more than another women (lower left) holding 2 baby dolls slumped over backwards in a very unfortunate manner.

One more is Mr. Baywatch lifeguard here, and peering over his shoulder is someone with scary Zombie hallowed out black eyes and sharp growling teeth!

Finally, one of my wonderful colleagues told me about a Halloween party she went to with her male friend. 

I asked whether they dressed up. 

She said, “yeah,” and smiled.

So I asked, “What did you dress up as?”

Well this was a new one for me…

She was dressed up as the jelly side of the sandwich and he was the peanut butter side. 

What all this means for this zany holiday, I have no idea…but it’s a fun time of year that doesn’t go unnoticed by anyone. 😉

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

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The Horrible C Word

Beat Cancer.jpeg

Cancer is such an awful killer disease.


After heart disease, it is the #2 cause of death in the United States taking almost 592,000 lives a year or 22.5% of all deaths!


Usually, we don’t even like to say the word and even tempt fate.


Instead we just refer to it as the horrible “C word.”  


Today my daughter forwarded to me this poem written by a teenager with terminal cancer, and I thought this was worth sharing with you all…


SLOW DANCE

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round?

Or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?

Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?


You better slow down.

Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short.

The music won’t last.


Do you run through each day on the fly?

When you ask, “How are you?”

Do you hear the reply?


When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,

with the next hundred chores running through your head?


You’d better slow down

Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short

The music won’t last.


Ever told your child, 

We’ll do it tomorrow?

And in your haste,

Not see his sorrow?


Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die 

Cause you never had time 

To call and say,’Hi’


You’d better slow down.

Don’t dance so fast.

Time is short.

The music won’t last..


When you run so fast to get somewhere,

You miss half the fun of getting there.


When you worry and hurry through your day,

It is like an unopened gift….

Thrown away.


Life is not a race.

Do take it slower

Hear the music

Before the song is over.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

That’s One Scary Shot

Scary.jpeg

Wow, this is one scary photo. 


Imagine coming downstairs and seeing this kids body laying on the floor like that. 


Looks like he’s dead!


Would you freak out totally?


Call 911.


Get the emergency responders on the scene. 


Try to save his life. 


Thoughts race through your mind. 


Is he sick?  Was it an accident?  A crime scene?  Terrorism?  Is there an active shooter? 


Is he going to make it? 


Where is his family?


OMG, what if they lose him?


Well, it turns out this kids was just acting out and scaring his parents–and everyone else passing by.

Life is so full of surprises. 


You never know if it’s the real thing or not.


But you have to be prepared for anything, anytime. 


This is a crazy world we live in. 


Thank G-d when it’s just a false alarm and everything is okay. 


Unfortunately not every time is it all well that ends well. 😉


(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

Graffiti Blood Fashion

 

graffiti-fashion-jpeg

Thought this was a really cool fashion design skirt that I saw in Neiman Marcus.


Aside from all the colors, the design is just eye-taking.


Almost like graffiti on a skirt!


Hey, I think that would make a great business for someone(s) by the way.


Give me a call…and we’ll start it up and make a $ billion–I hope!


Seriously, this skirt is so interesting with a scare theme of monsters, heart, teeth, and blood.


But the fright is quickly turned into envious fashion style as a complete standout item.


Gorgeous design and style, and I definitely see a fashion trend emerging here big time. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Helpless And Helping

Feet

The following is all true.


So I dreamed last night a scary dream…


I was lying prone in a horizontal but bent position.


My clothes were tattered rags and my legs bare.


I could see my legs, but could not move them–at all. 


The bottom of the legs by the ankles were completely skinny, diseased and bright sore red (like burnt), and the skin was falling off them.


I knew I was in immense pain, but could not feel anything.


My legs completely useless, in hopelessness, I looked upward and called out:


“Father! Father! Father!” 


I was looking for my dad, and hoping for him to come and help me somehow. 


Then, my voice turned and called:


“Father that art in heaven” and repeated this again. 


I was turning to G-d as the only one who could help me when everything else was stripped away. 


Then I awoke, and I was very afraid and yet somehow comforted–I had turned heavenward and found G-d. 


Later this morning, I went to the pool for a swim and as part of my post surgery rehabilitation. 


As I was swimming, I saw an old somewhat hunchback lady come to the pool.


I recognized her from other days when she does a little self-defined exercise routine against the side of the pool. 


But today, her lane at the sides were taken. 


Seeing that she was upset and couldn’t do her exercise in the center of the pool, I stopped swimming and went over to her.


I said, “Why don’t you share with me (there is plenty of room)?”


She hesitated and I could see maybe she needed help getting under the swim rope that divides the lanes, so I lifted it for her and told her reassuringly, “It’s no problem.”


And then she went under and did her exercise thing–and we shared.


It was such a small thing for me, but yet I could see it was a big deal for her–she was old and I could tell that she needed her routine.

The following is all true.


So I dreamed last night a scary dream…


I was lying prone in a horizontal but bent position.


My clothes were tattered rags and my legs bare.


I could see my legs, but could not move them–at all. 


The bottom of the legs by the ankles were completely skinny, diseased and bright sore red (like burnt), and the skin was falling off them.


I knew I was in immense pain, but could not feel anything.


My legs completely useless, in hopelessness, I looked upward and called out:


“Father! Father! Father!” 


I was looking for my dad (who I know deeply loved me and vice versa), and hoping for him to come and help me somehow. 


Then, my voice turned and called:


“Father that art in heaven” and repeated this again. 


I was turning to G-d as the only one who could help me when everything else was stripped away. 


Then I awoke, and I was very afraid and yet somehow comforted–I had turned heavenward and found G-d. 


Later this morning, I went to the pool for a swim and as part of my post surgery rehabilitation. 


As I was swimming, I saw an old somewhat hunchback lady come to the pool.


I recognized her from other days when she does a little self-defined exercise routine against the side of the pool. 


But today, her lane at the sides were taken. 


Seeing that she was upset and couldn’t do her exercise in the center of the pool, I stopped swimming and went over to her.


I said, “Why don’t you share with me (there is plenty of room)?”


She hesitated and I could see maybe she needed help getting under the swim rope that divides the lanes, so I lifted it for her and told her reassuringly, “It’s no problem.”


And then she went under and did her exercise thing–and we shared.


It was such a small thing for me, but yet I could see it was a big deal for her–she was old and I could tell that she needed her routine.


Sort of funny but, when I offered to help, I could practically here the angels of heaven let out a little song of joy–seriously, I did. 


And I thought to myself…Andy, you can learn!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


Sort of funny but, when I offered to help, I could practically here the angels of heaven let out a little song of joy–seriously, I did. 


And I thought to myself…Andy, you can learn!  😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Safeguarding D.C.

Gas Cylinders
I took this photo the other day of a truck loaded from front to back with compressed gas cylinders in downtown, Washington, D.C.



I understand that there are strict safety regulations for this. 



Although with this truck just sitting out on the street, appapently not moving or even attended as far as I could see, I was a little concerned. 



At the same time, coming to work today, there was someone marching down the street yelling “Allah”–again and again–sort of talking to themselves yet screaming something that wasn’t intelligible, at least to me. 



Not that there is anything wrong with freedom of expression, but it just seemed a little wild and scary on the darkened streets. 



I couldn’t help think about this gas truck with all these gas containers from the other day…and are we keeping things as safe as they need to be. 



We take a lot for granted in terms of our security, but are we perhaps getting a little overconfident so many years after 9/11 now. 



Hopefully, we’re all good, but we need to be careful, vigilant, and safe! 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A One Taxi Town of HELL!

Taxi
So coming back from vacation today was a tear.



We had an early flight–before dawn–and when we woke up, I called the town’s single cab company to confirm our early morning pickup (of which the reservation had been made the prior day by the front desk manager at the hotel). 



When we awoke the morning of the travel, I called the cab company to confirm they were on their way.



A man picks up the cab company’s phone and says curtly:



– “I am the dispatcher and also your driver this morning.”



– “I have another person to drop off near your location and will be 15 minutes late.”



Upon which he just hangs up, and we readjust our schedule slightly.



Then I receive a text message 20 minutes early that says the cab is downstairs. 



We rush downstairs, but there is no cab.



15 minutes later he arrives.



He says in a commanding voice:



– “Don’t you put the luggage in trunk, it can damage my computer [we don’t know what computer he was talking about].”



– “Shortest person sit behind me!”



We look at each other at how strange this cabbie is behaving, but again it’s the only “game in town.”



We get in the back seat, upon which he proceeds on the “dispatch computer” set up in the front seat to ignore us with mild apologetics and  works to handle calls, texts, and other people arrangements, while we are waiting in the back [already late because of his prior excuse] to get to the airport.



After what seemed like forever, he turns to me and says, “How are you going to pay?”



I ask, “Can you take a credit card?”



He says, “Yes, but the card reader may have interference at the airport [from this tiny airport, really?], and the ride will be 50 bucks!”



Realizing he was playing some sort of game with us to rip us off, since this was a meter cab, I try to explain that it seemed he was overcharging us saying “Well, we took a cab with you company from the airport just the other day and only paid around $40 and that was in a snowfall [today were clear skies and roads], so I’ll pay you the same $40.”



He turns angrily to me this time, and says threateningly, “You‘re trying to lowball me!  How about I just drive you around in circles and charge you by the meter even more?”



At this point, we could tell this guy was seriously off his rocker, and I try to deescalate this and ask, “Why are you giving us such a hard time with all of this?”



He seemed to calm down for a second as he was ostensibly trying to figure this out, and said okay, “We’ll do the meter [and you’ll pay]!”  



Now we were running late to the airport, this driver had our luggage hostage in the trunk, and he has threatened us to take us for an unwanted tour of the city instead of to the airport and overcharge us or potentially even make us miss our flight altogether.



I looked at my wife and daughter and they were clearly understanding the danger we were in of losing the flight, luggage, and so on; but as we discussed later, they were afraid of even worse physical danger from this person. 



He starts the car and with the dispatch computer screen still open [he angrily slammed open and closed the laptop multiple times], he drives on the highway while simultaneously, still working on dual duty as dispatch…we were terrified.



About halfway to the airport, he turns to me again, and says “Okay, I’ll turn the meter off [before] 40 bucks and you pay me 40!”



Afterward, my wife told me she thought he was going to pull over before 40 bucks and just drop us off somewhere in the middle of the highway.



I ask, continuing to try and calm this guy, “I don’t understand how can the meter be going higher than when we made the same trip in reverse in a storm just the prior week?”



Note, there wasn’t [barely] another car on the road and unlike in big cities, there was no signage with the driver’s picture, name, identification, etc.



He says, again in a threatening manner, “Oh I can also take the back roads to get you there cheaper, but you wouldn’t want me to do that, would you?”



Then he pauses, thinks again, and repeats, “Just pay me $40 cash {and he reaches to turn off the meter).



Soon after, we reach the airport terminal, and the taxi driver jumps out, dumps our [hostage] luggage on the side and holds out his hand. 



I gladly give him the $40 and thank G-d that we are at the airport and safe.



This was really an eye-opening lesson about what can happen when you are in the car with someone and they are in total control over whether you get where your supposed to go, make it in time, get your things, and get out safely.



In these small towns, it is no help that the cab company is a monopoly and probably the dispatcher/driver is probably also a part owner and maybe even has friends at the local airport, hotel, police, and the courts, etc.



I don’t think for a second that we were his first victims, and hope that people reading this will help make this his last! 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)