Card Ya

Thought this was novel in the store. 


They have a digital calendar with the date from 21 years ago.


It says:

To Purchase Tobacco Products You Must Have Been Born On Or Before This Date.

 Thank you for showing you I.D.


Ah, easy to match the DOB on the I.D. presented to the date on the calendar.  


Nothing to calculate, no mistakes. 


They raised the age for smoking (cigarettes and vaping) in Maryland to 21 on October 1, so it’s the same requirement as for drinking alcohol.


Luckily for me (even though I’m over 21), I don’t really do either–definitely not the smoking, and the drinking limited primarily to the Kiddush prayer on Shabbat. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Amazing Cuban Art

I never knew about Cuban art until we visited Cernuda Arte gallery in Coral Gables, Florida.


They treated us like royalty and gave us a personal guided tour of two buildings filled with works by Cuban artists still at home in Cuba and here in exile. 


This was better than many museums that I’ve been too. 


I just want to thank the gallery owners and our guide for a wonderful showing and tell them how impressed we were with the art there. 

Even while the Cuban people are repressed by their dictatorial leaders, there is so much of interest in Cuba: from their colorful colonial architecture to their cool “oldie cars”, renown cigar smokes, some pretty talented artists, and I’m sure much more. 


Cuba is only 485 miles from the USA!


I pray for the freedom of the Cuban people. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Loneliness Is Death

There is a very important article in the Wall Street Journal today on the link of loneliness to death. 


Frightening loneliness statistics:


– One in 11 Americans over age 50 “lacks a spouse, partner, or living child.”


– More than 1 in 4 baby boomers is divorced or never married.  


– 1 out of every 6 people lives alone. 


Research indicates that loneliness leads to early death. 


The impact of loneliness is equivalent to:


– Smoking 15 cigarettes a day


– Drinking 6 alcoholic beverages a day


Loneliness is worse for mortality than:


– Obesity 


– Physical activity


“The effect of isolation is extraordinarily powerful…we have to address loneliness,” says the former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 


Whether you are extroverted or introverted, we all need human interaction, sharing, caring, touch, and love.  


Truly, no man is an island!


Those that are stranded on loneliness island need to escape it and make their way back to human civilization.


Alone our lives are dull and stunted; but together, we have the inherent social dynamics to be able to experientially learn, grow, change and mature. 


Alone we die–together we live. 


It’s not just power in numbers, it’s life itself. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Turkish Lights

Just wanted to share these beautiful Turkish lights that I found in Hollywood, Florida. 


We had a delicious lunch at L’Chaim Asian Cuisine and Steak House–the honey chicken was to die for–OMG, it was like candy!


Afterwards, we walked about the shopping strip there and came across this store with these amazing lights. 


It was a hookah (not hookers!) store which I am completely not interested in, having never smoked a cigarette or anything my entire life–true!


But these light were gorgeous. 


I took these pictures and was even tempted to buy one–loved the colors and happiness of them. 


Held off for now, too many nice things, especially since we then followed up with a day trip to Saw Grass Mills today–what an unbelievably huge shopping and outlet mall.


I know it must definitely be time to head home soon, because the shopping experience down here is wearing me down–just kidding, but it’s definitely a paradise not only for the beach, but for the  shopping fun as well. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Friendly Sightings 613

Police 613.jpegNo Smoking 613.jpeg

So this is a first where other people are contacting us with their experiences seeing 613 (the holy mystical number of Commandments in the Torah).

These two photos of a police car and a no smoking sign are coming to us from South Florida. 

Also, I experienced another weird 613 experience this week in that I was number 36 in The Top 100 Most Social CIOs (see the 613). 

If you see 613 in extraordinary ways in your life, please feel free to share the them with Dannielle and I. 

We hope and pray at this time of Passover (commemorating redemption and freedom) that this is a sign of great mazel and blessing for all our times. 😉

(Source Photo and with gratitude to Ms. Ellen Weiner)

Smokem Peace Pipe

Peace Pipe
So we are almost all settled in our new place (now about 2 1/2 months)…



And in the kitchen, I am re-organizing one of the top cabinets. 



I reach in the very back, and I feel something all the way in the corner. 



I pick it up and pull it out, and it’s this really weird looking smelly pipe. 



The pipe has a face on it and a blue and red stone above and below it. 



My wife says it looks like a peace pipe, although I’ve never really seen one of those before. 



There are no feathers or pictures of Indians on it, just this crazy-face staring up with crooked teeth and a big schnoz. 



Did someone actually smoke this thing? 



Ick, washed my hands like 3 times. 



Left it on the counter to show the rest of the family.



Throw that G-d darn thing out!



Dirty smokem peace pipe with ugly face heading down the garbage chute–wonder if I should’ve sold it on ebay. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Addictions R Us

Addictions R Us

I was having an really interesting conversation with a friend–okay, and it got a little deep.

He said something fascinating to me–which is that everyone is addicted to something.

Think about it–some are addicted to the hard stuff…drugs, alcohol, smoking.

Others are addicted to sex, work, shopping, exercise, even religion.

In modern times, there are new addictions to technology, gaming, and social media.

My friend is smart and we discussed or alluded to a number of reasons for the addictive nature of all people.

1) Meaning – Many people have a tough time dealing with the seemingly meaningless, mortal nature of their lives. Without a strong purpose and meaning, we can sort of float through every day looking for some anchor, stability, or rhythm. Addictions, for better or worse, can provide that habit or repetition compulsion. While not very meaningful itself, these addictions help people forget–temporarily, during their high or while they are being kept busy–that they are perhaps lost amidst it all.

2) Pain – Everyone has pain–emotional, physical, mental–these cause stress on people and their ability to deal or cope can be stretched thin, and they turn to some sort of addiction as a “crutch” to help them get through the day. It reminds me of a very crude song that I overheard years ago, called “F*ck the pain away” (excuse the language here, please). Anyway, simply replace the first word, with “work, shop, drink, and so on and poof, you have opiates (i.e. pain relief) for the masses.

3) Fear – People are afraid–afraid of living, afraid of dying–and addictions take us away from having the time to stop, think, and have to deal with our fears. If every minute, I am running around doing a million things–then I don’t have the time to shut it all down and out, and deal with what’s really going on inside. In fact, some people credit the Holy Sabbath day, as being beneficial to us to just stopping all that daily stuff at least for one day a week!

We are all human, and there is no one who is immune to looking for meaning, avoiding pain, and dealing with their fears.

The question is do we just throw ourselves into something to keep going or do we take more of a Buddhist approach, accept that life is suffering and try to raise ourselves above it through healthy balance, contemplative meditation, compassion and thinking about others, doing good deeds, and so on.

Keeping busy is good too–but going through life in a drug or otherwise induced fugue is not–then we’ve lost ourselves, which is maybe the point for our crazy world where addictions abound and we are all too happy to dive right in. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Miles Cave)