Boiling A Frog

So sometimes you don’t know that something is happening until it is too late. 


A colleague yesterday told me this great simile:


It’s like when you put a frog in a pot of water and turn up the heat, the frog doesn’t know what’s happening until it’s too late, and he ends up being boiled alive!


With better knowledge of the context, of course, you can have the foresight to act, to fight, to get out, whatever. 


Similarly with the frog, if you throw him into an already boiling pot of water, he immediately jumps out, and viola he’s saved. 


It’s really important to have good situational and political awareness. 


Not everyone out there is so innocent–even when they have a good act and pretend, “Who me?”


Many of them know how to work the system, so that the system works for them. 


G-d forbid, when you’re in the way, they’ll often turn up the heat. 


And if you don’t realize what going on, you’ll be the frog that’s a not so tasty dinner. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal

Hey, Pay Attention

Watch Your Step.jpeg

It’s funny, when the way forward is uneven, broken, or fraught with danger, and someone just puts out a sign (and orange cone) warning you to be careful. 


Sure, it’s the responsible thing to do–protect people from misstepping. 


But even with the largest, loudest warnings, there always seem to be some people who just go right ahead anyway and tempt fate–they step on that 2nd broken stair.


Maybe it doesn’t give way (this time for this person) or maybe it does.


But they are too busy, too much in a rush, or too cocky to pay heed or else they like to play the odds–hey, what are the odds that something will actually happen to “me”?


The more cautious, perhaps smarter folks look for another way–using their ingenuity to go over, under, or around the obstacle in their path–in this case stepping over the broken 2nd step. 


Other may yet be deterred altogether and just turn backwards, giving up on their trek or just stop in their tracks like a deer in the headlights frozen by indecision.


I’d suggest that it is well worth it to take the time to look around you, sense the environment, and make a sound judgement before giving up or stepping stupidly into the ditch, minefield, quicksand, or on the broken step. 


It’s much harder to get out of trouble than to avoid it to begin with. 


I joke with one of my colleagues that they always have time to do things a second time (always!), but because they are rushing, never enough time–or focus–to do it right the first one. 


Watch your step, because some of them of definitely broken. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Travel in Metro DC Snow

Biking In The Snow

I took this photo yesterday in the Metro DC area. 

This brave–or should I say crazy–dude is bicycle riding in the snow.

Car is turning in front of him with the lights on.  

But the bike and rider has no lights or reflective material to speak of. 

Seems like a death wish or just plain stupid. 

Only more ridiculous thing I’ve seen with a bicycle recently is the rider plowing hard through a rain storm while holding an umbrella with one hand. 

Perhaps, there is a gene that makes people look for trouble in bad weather or is it the economy stupid (maybe sadly, the guy can’t afford a car or even an uber)?

Ride like the wind… 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Unsustainable U.S. Economy

Unsustainable EconomyThe U.S. National Debt often touted at an enormous $18 trillion is really more than 3 times that amount and closer to a whopping $65 trillion!


That’s when you actually count all the unfunded liabilities for civilian and military pensions, retiree healthcare, social security, and medicare.


For each of the 318.9 million people of that United States, it mean $203,826 of debt or for a family of four that’s a debt of $815,303.


Put another way, the entire net worth of Americans is $84.9 trillion, but after subtracting the debt of $65 trillion, it drops to just about $20 trillion–coincidentally around the amount of our new debt ceiling.


Moreover, with the richest 1% owning more than 50% of the wealth by 2016 that leave only $10 trillion or $31,675 for each of us–not so hoity toity for 239 years of independence and founding as a nation or all the blood, sweat, and tears we put in every day of our lives.


In terms of our escalating debt, just this last year alone, social security spending went up to $944,143,000,000 or the equivalent of $6,345 for every American with a job. and this is projected to dramatically rise with the retirements of the baby boomers.


Projections are for social security to exhaust its funds by 2035, which could result in across the board 20% or more cuts in benefits of the already meager program where many seniors end up eating cat food.


Additionally, the retirement age already set to go to 67 by 2027 could be forced to go even higher, and social security would likely be curtailed or eliminated entirely above certain income levels.


Is this the financial security and brighter future we are leaving our children and grandchildren?


We can kick the can down the road, but the unsustainability of it all will eventually come back to haunt us. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Pictures of Money)

Talking It Cryptic

Speaking

So for a while when I received weirdly worded communications from others, I thought “Gee, this person doesn’t know how to communicate!”


They aren’t saying what they mean or aren’t saying it clearly, and I am having to decipher it, read between the lines (more than usual) and certainly not always getting it right. 


I seriously thought some of these people needed to go for remedial communications and project management training, and was more than willing to send them.


Then, I started to see the bigger picture and context and it was beginning to all make sense.


The terse messages, the cryptic language, the dancing around the topic…these were not (necessarily) because the person couldn’t communicate well, but it was intentional!


No, they weren’t trying to mess with me.


They were afraid to say what they really wanted to say–not to me, but generally speaking.  


Why?


Conjecture, but perhaps they didn’t want “it” so explicit, they didn’t want a flagrant (unnecessary) trail, they didn’t want to potentially get in any trouble. 


So they truncate, obfuscate, used “code” words (not real code, symbolic) and otherwise made the communications so vague that they had plausible deniability or could interpret it just about any which way they wanted.


Ah, sort of a “get out of jail free card”–self made, signed, sealed, and delivered.


This is the art of being cryptic!


Fear and overly strict political correctness is not a good thing when what you really need is clear and honest communications from folks.


We do ourselves a disservice by “playing games,” keeping hidden agendas, and protecting ourselves over the necessity to get the mission accomplished and done well.


Perhaps when people are caught between competing masters and agendas, they are “forced” to do this to get the job done, stay alive, and in the important game we all must play in life.


Ink a dink a bottle of ink the cap fell off and you stink…got that?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Handbag All Alone

Handbag BW
I took this photo of this neglected bag in Starbucks today.



Someone just left their handbag on a chair and went off to line up for coffee with their significant others.



I’m not sure they needed to save the table given that the place was fairly empty this morning.



However, it did strike me that this bag was all alone, far from pretty much anyone, and no one was watching it!



Also, not only was this handbag left unattended, it was also completely open at the top, sort of inviting double trouble. 



As you can see, no one else seems to be paying much attention…so if someone wanted, I think this large, full handbag could’ve been a crime statistic in a moment. 



Trust is nice, but this handbag is crying out for company. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

PaRTy ANiMaL BeWaRe!

Party Animal Beware!

Just thought this was so cute.

Elephant with a jet pack, helmet, and goggles.

Looks like he’s ready for some fun.

Honestly, though I never understood the incessant party types.

Drinking, smoking, fooling around–basically, getting into trouble.

For a straight Jewish guy from the Bronx, I got enough with regular life stuff to keep me plenty busy.

It’s good to let loose a little, but party animal I am not.

On second thought, what have I been missing all these years. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)