Out of Control Ice Cream

I’m not sure how you control yourself around this Alpaca Ice Cream.


But somehow I managed not to get any…this time.  


I promise!  


LOL


These are made with fresh hot waffles wrapped around your choice of ice cream and toppings. 


As you can see these are pretty big and scrumptious!


Anyway, they have a store in Rockville and I absolutely must stay away from it. 


Oh, maybe I just go in once for a taste.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Unbridled Government Spending

I liked this notion from Margaret Thatcher:

The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money. 

And from the Wall Street Journal:

The problem with resisting socialism is that until the money runs out free-spending progressive politics are remarkably seductive. 

In other words, we love to spend what appears as “free” government money–more and more entitlements, bigger and bigger government…basically, we can’t resist the candy in the candy store.

But the problem is that the money eventually runs out and by then we have gone too far and are left eating our own flesh. 

 Why can’t we spend our precious money and scarce resources prudently and also save wisely for a rainy day–why do we have to act like pigs in the poke?

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

How Angry Do You Get?

Anger is one of those emotions (like jealousy) that can clearly get the best of people. 


Hence, the term anger management!


The Talmud teaches that there are 3 ways to know a person’s real character: 


– Koso, Kiso, and Ka’aso.


From Aramaic to English it translates as:


– Cup, Purse, and Anger. 


In other words…


Cup–When a person “drinks,” this is how they handle their alcohol and how they act when physically (or perhaps emotionally) inebriated or as we say, “When the wine goes in, the secrets come out!” Are they jumping on the bar, ripping it all off and saying and doing the inappropriate and profane or are they able to recognize their point of weakness and ask someone for a ride safely home. 


Purse–This is how a person handles money (and power). Materialism of people speaks volumes. Are they cheap, misery, and narcissistic or compassionate, caring, and giving to others.  


Anger–When a person is angry, this is often when their “true colors” show.  Do they get mean, bullying, abusive, and violent–do they go for the throat and the kill or are they situationally aware, measured, and do they listen, understand, and are they able to cope well when “under the gun.”  


Focusing on the anger piece…


It’s easy to get angry, and it’s also easy to look for a scapegoat and let it out on people that really have nothing to do with why you’re really angry. 


Maybe people can’t always address their anger with the true source, maybe they don’t even recognize their feelings fully, or have no idea how to safely release and reset.


In any case, anger is a dangerous emotion if not dealt with. 


Many mistakes are made that cannot be undone when people lose their cool (or sh*t, as now seems more commonly said). 


Thoughts on this…


Take a breath, slow down. 


Evaluate what’s really going on


Think about whether it’s truly the end of the world or not. 


Assess the options for coping with it. 


Look for ways to deescalate and resolve. 


If necessary, seek help from others.


Finally, where possible be compassionate and forgiving. 


And where not, cope, cope, cope–and survive another day!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

How Do I Choose?

So I thought this was an interesting topic for the sermon on Shabbat by Ben Shemony. 


It was about how we are confronted in life with whether to follow our impulses or our values. 


I think there is a lot to this topic…


Some may see it as the little good angel standing over one shoulder and another bad angel standing over the other trying to convince us what to do when it’s decision time.  


Others may be perpetually torn between temptations or pleasures of materialism and the flesh versus of pursuing what you know to be spiritually good and right in this world. 


Either way, as human beings, we are a complex make-up of both body and soul.


Do we give in to temptation and do what feels good–more money, more food, more clothes and jewelry, more houses, cars, and yachts, more vacations, more carnal pleasures from the proverbial “wine, women, and song” or do we pursue the path of spirituality, serving our maker, caring and giving and doing good for others and the world?  


It sounds simple, but our impulses tell us one thing and our values tell us another. 


Are we being selfish or selfless?


Perhaps, too much of anything is bad for us–even too much giving and selflessness–we need to care for ourselves too–we are mortal, we have needs, we have to nourish ourselves, and we need to live. 


But you can’t be a glutton or a slave to your impulses–you can’t take and not give, your can’t indulge until you make yourself sick, or take at the expense of and harm to others.


Like all things in life, there is a need for balance.


Certainly our spirit should guide our animal. 


If and when our animal is dictating to our spirit then we are in real trouble. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Keep A Cool Temperament

So this was amazing. 


I was working with someone for a number of weeks/months. 


All of a sudden, I got a complete blow off email from them that said they are done and they wished me well in a sort of very sarcastic and even contemptuous way–like a real f*ck off!

Were they just being nasty or trying to pick a fight or something?


First, I was taken aback and honestly hurt–like what the heck happened that they showed their true strips…did I miss it all along. 


I showed my wife their email, and she read it the same way, and said “What an asshole!”


I continued to hold my mouthpiece and feelings as I contemplated how I would respond. 


I have to admit that some choice words and wishes back to them definitely came to mind. 


But I said to myself, “Hold, hold, hold!”


It wasn’t easy not to respond in kind–lash back out at them–and even then some for good measure. 


No, that isn’t the way. 


You can rise above this. 


I kept my mouth shut and literally controlled my reactions.


Well, lo’ and behold, I thought I would never hear from this person again the way they spoke to me, but then a few days later,  I received another email where apparently they rethought what they did.


It didn’t have to come from me to them to “set them straight!”


Their own conscience seemed to have played on them and they came to their own senses about how they behaved and spoke. 


I learned from this that it is critical to maintain your composure and keep your cool under all circumstances, no matter how trying. 


Don’t stoop to their level–you rise above it!


Sometimes, the other person may just surprise you and rise back up too and do the right thing in the end. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Mikva = Tikva

I thought this was a really special Jewish clock I saw in the store yesterday. 


It promotes holiness and sanctity in the family.

Mikva (Jewish ritual bath) = Tikva (hope) 

Rebirth and renewal (from the immersion in the holy water).

Build your family in sanctity!

Purity leads to sanctity.


The Jewish laws of refraining from sexual relations during Nidda (a women’s menstruation) and of immersing in the mikvah at the end of the cycle and before the husband and wife coming back together physically are cornerstones of acting with self-control and a couple dedicating themselves to Hashem first.


The family is the core of raising and educating our children and of the makeup of the community and ultimately of serving G-d in everything we do. 


Self-control (with sexual purity, kosher food, Sabbath time, etc.) is what separates us from animals and how we emulate being more like the angels. 

It is also a way for a husband and wife to elevate their love and show respect for each other as human beings and not just physical beings.  


I never saw a clock that reminds us of these holy concepts and laws like this. 


Also at the top it says another well-known Jewish quote about managing our time wisely:

“The day is short and the task is great.”


Another good reminder to maximize the use of our time every day here on Earth and to make the most out of every moment. 


If we dedicate ourselves to serving G-d, raising our families, being productive professionally and personally, and acting with integrity and sanctity always–this is a good life! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

We’re A Bunch of Chemicals+

So it’s pretty well known that we are a combination of nature and nurture. 


Nature is our genetics and our hormones–it’s sort of the innate material that make up who we are. 


Nurture, of course, is all those external influencers, like parents, friends, teachers, religious figures, experiences, etc.–that shape us. 


In a way, it’s hard to think of ourselves as a product of nature and nature, because that sort of removes our conscious free choice in the whole matter of who we are and what we do. 


For example, if someone is a raging lunatic, sociopath, serial killer, because they have a brain or hormonal defect and grew up in a broken and abusive home(s), then the question is, well how can you really or fully blame them for their actions–is it really their actions? 


Don’t we have to ask ourselves how much control does a person have over themselves if they are physically and environmentally predisposed to be a certain way–even a very socially unacceptable and hurtful way?


This is where the courts and justice system come into play in looking at things such as whether the person is even competent to stand trial (e.g. the insanity defense) or are there mitigating circumstances to reduce the person’s culpability.


I would imagine it is quite difficult to exactly judge the level of self control that a person is or should be able to exert given their individual set of nature and nurture.  


And even if the person isn’t fully in control of themselves, does that help the victim or their families who are still left reeling from the harm and/or loss caused to them by the perpetrator?


Yet it is uncontested that people are driven by nature and nurture, and just in today’s Wall Street Journal, there was a discussion of the influence of a person’s hormone levels on their personality and behavior.


– Generally, more testosterone makes a person aggressive, while more estrogen makes them sensitive. 


– Similarly, dopamine makes people more energetic, while serotonin makes them more sociable. 


So there is nothing inherently “wrong” with you for being a certain way…that’s your makeup, but you are responsible for how you manage yourself given what you’ve got.   


In other words, where you have lemons, you’ve got to make lemonade!


In a nutshell, we are truly a combination of our genetic makeup, a bunch of chemicals, some environmental molding, and the exertion of our willpower, faith, and belief in what’s right and wrong. 


What happens when you mix these altogether, you get you and only you! 😉


(Source photo: here with attribution to skeeze)