Ignorance Isn’t Bliss

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Ignorance Isn’t Bliss.”

It’s Passover, and we celebrate our deliverance from Egyptian slavery, yet this is a slavery that was foretold by Hashem, and as you could say, like with many bad things that happen in this world (e.g. Coronavirus), we knew it was coming!


To me it’s not about being afraid, but rather it’s about being prepared. It’s great to be an optimist, but it’s important to be practical, especially when it comes to saving lives. Yes, we need to have faith in G-d and believe that ultimately everything is according to His word and plan for the world, but at the same time, we need to be responsible and do our part to protect ourselves and the future from terrible things that we have a relatively high-level of confidence will happen. There is no mitzvah to wait and be caught off guard, rather there is a commandment to save life (“Pikuach Nefesh”), and for this we need to “face up to facts” (including our known vulnerabilities, threats, and our capabilities to address them) and actually be very well prepared.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Cockroach Tea

So I went into this store in Chinatown in Washington, D.C. and was looking around. 


I saw this chest of draws with all sorts of herbs and insects listed. 


One draw included a label for “Cockroach”.


I asked innocently:

Do you have cockroaches in there?


The lady behind the counter responds in broken English:

Oh yes, there are roaches in there. 


Again, not understanding the relationship to the herbs for sale, I inquire:

What are the roaches used for?


The lady looks at me a little more intently and says:

It is for tea–cockroach tea!


My eyes literally bugged out and I go for a third round:

Do people drink that for health reasons?


She responds:

Yes, and it is good for managing pain. 


Hesitatingly, I asked her to take out the bag and open it so I could see for myself. 


I don’t know about you, but growing up in NYC, we definitely didn’t value cockroaches as part of our diet–in fact, we did everything we could to try and rid ourselves of these disgusting insects–but usually to no avail. 


The roaches survived everything we could throw at them!


If they are so resilient, maybe they can provide some health benefits to people (who knows–you’ve got to respect ancient alternative medicines), but I will only say this, you won’t get me anywhere near this roach tea–and not for all the tea in China!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Bad Little Mousey

So a colleague told me about an awful experience at work. 


They came into the office and had a big surprise. 


I won’t ask you to guess what it was. 


I’ll start off by giving you a hint.


It came from a mouse. 


Yep, they actually had what they called, “mouse poop” on their desk. 


Have to laugh even at the term…


But this is not what you want to have to deal with first thing in the morning, or anytime for that matter. 


What can you do though?


We share the world with other living creatures and if they want to poop on your desk–what are you really gonna do about it? 


I suggested setting some traps, but they said they want to see if it happens again. 


That’s two too many times for me.


Now though I learned to be grateful if my desk is poop-free. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Bored Meetings

So it’s been raining so much here in the DC area lately.


The result is that the hot Summer July temperatures are down in the cool 70’s and the rain is flooding everywhere. 


When I got in the elevator this morning, someone goes to me:


“Did you see the leak in the hallway?  They are watering the tree with it.”


And sure enough, there it was!


When all this rain finally stops, there is going to be a lot of cleanup and repairs to do. 


The other thing was yesterday, we were on the way to a board meeting in our synagogue. 


In the elevator, are two other people–a man and women–carrying binders.


They say to us:


“Are you going to the board meeting?”


Surprised, because I didn’t recognize them from our synagogue, I respond affirmatively and ask to clarify:


“Oh, you’re going to the board meeting too?  I don’t recall seeing you there before.”


Then the elevator stops and they start to get off–but it’s to a different board meeting for the building.


When they see that we’re going to a different floor, they start laughing:


“I guess we’re going to different board meetings!”


I say:


“Yeah that’s right, different board meetings, but we’ll all probably be bored!


Another laugh by everyone, and we we’re all off to the races. 😉


(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)

From The Bronx To Jamaica

manischewitz
So as a kid, I remember the older folks joking that “wine is fine, but liquor is quicker!”



As we went for some wine for Shabbat in Fort Lauderdale by the beach, we had a whole bunch of surprises in one evening…



– First, I was more than a little surprised to find a bottle of Manischewitz Concord Grape wine–in of all places, CVS!



– On the way to CVS, we ran into the Jamaican Man, from our last vacation, who makes straw hats on the corner by the beach, and he sees me and somehow recognizes me–next thing I know he is practically embracing me as if I am one of his best friends, high-fiving and fist-bumping me–yeah, me the Jewish boy from the Bronx (this was a riot)!



– On the way back, there is a lady with her kids in tow on the street, and all of a sudden she turns to one of the younger kids and says in her accented English, “That’s almost a $100, you little SH*T!” We could barely believe our ears. 



What a lot of surprises all in one evening from the Bronx to Jamaica. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Face Down

Face Down
Rounding the corner, it was interesting to see this guy lying face down in the pavement.



Heart attack, stroke, mugged, shot…lying in a pile of garbage-looking stuff.



Other people walking right past him holding their cups of coffee…not even paying attention to him.



Turned out he’s working, and there is an open manhole and he’s practically head first. 



Anyone down there?  😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Got Flashed

Lady 2
Crazy day…true story.



I was going out to lunch in Washington D.C. today minding my own business…



When two young women were coming down the block in the opposite direction.



As they got closer, they started to giggle…



And then all of a sudden, at point blank range, one of them lifts up her skirt.



Both of them crack up and run off. 



I am not often left speechless, but this was definitely a new one on me. 



Let’s just say, my wife told me that I have some “splaining” to do this evening! 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Knees Horror Story

Knees Horror Story

So I’m at a new medical practioner, and he sees on my information sheet that I am scheduled to have some orthopedic surgery.

He comes out of his office and sits down next to me, and he is rubbing his knees.

He proceeds to tells me that he had knee replacement surgery about a decade ago.

I’m watching him still rubbing his knees, and I say curiously, “So how did it go–were you happy with the results?”

He says, “I still have some soreness”–and I’m thinking, after all these years, yikes!

Then he goes on to tell me this horror story about his brother (I think it was) that had double knee replacement.

But after the surgery, the knees got infected, and they had to remove the replacements and put in studs (like placeholders) until the infection cleared with antibiotics.

I suppose he couldn’t walk around without knees, and I was wondering how long this guy must’ve been laid up.

Anyway, once the infection was gone, they put in new replacements for him.

OMG, all in all, the guy had to have 8 surgeries!

Needless to say, this was not the orthopedic success story that I wanted or needed to hear.

But I guess it’s good to know what can happen (bli ayin hara)–in all the gory details. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Isbye)

Which Part of “Men’s Room” Don’t You Understand?

So after my swim, I’m in the men’s locker room.

There are dozens of folks showering and changing.

All of a sudden in strolls a lady.

First she walks one way through the locker room–looking up and down the aisles.

Then she walks the other way through again–glancing this way and that way.

The men are looking at each other like what in G-d’s name is she doing.

Some of the men start yelling at her to get out (maybe the others are sort of glad she’s there)!

She sort of nods at them, turns unapologetically and strolls back out.

The men are bantering back and forth now–like what was that all about? Is she nuts or something?

On the way out of the facility, I stop by the front desk and ask innocently, “Do you know that their is a women walking around the men’s locker room?”

One supervisor goes, “Oh, that happens. The men do that too–going into the lady’s locker room.”

Oh really–is this a professional swim club or a Roman orgy?

The other supervisor, a little more reasonable here, says if someone can point her out, he’ll have a talk with her.

The kid behind the desk says, “Thanks for letting us know.”

The funny thing is there is a sign in the locker room that prohibits photos and videos–but, I guess in-person viewing is permissible–good to know. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)