When Evil Seems To Prevail

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So there is this little Chinese restaurant–it sounds so cliche. 


But this one really is so small and bare that despite its name, which I don’t even know, we call it “The Hole In the Wall.”


This poor family with their children work behind the counter and kitchen serving up to the locals in the area. 


We know them from the neighborhood and they are always friendly and nice people just trying to make their way 


Well, over the weekend, this is what happened to their little hole in the wall. 


See the photo at the top!


I asked the lady, “What happened here?”


And she told me they had been broken into.


“That’s terrible! Well, what was taken?”


“Just a little cash box, but there wasn’t much in it,” and she half smiles.


Like this is what they smashed their door and broke in for…a few measly bucks. 


I told her how sorry I was for her and her family.


The people with nothing break into the other people who have nothing to steal basically nothing. 


While so many of the gazillionaires are choking on their wads and wads of money lavishly spending on mansions, yachts, planes, cars, drugs, prostitutes, clothes, jewelry, and endless parties. 


Let the others starve…except let me give a little to start a foundation…it’s a great tax shelter!


What type of world is this?


I’ve been sick the last few days and had the chance to watch a few movies related to this theme.


One was the Bitter Harvest about how Russia raped and pillaged Ukraine in the 1930s treating them as their breadbasket.


In the movie, Stalin says to take 90% of the food from the Ukrainian peasant farmers whose land they invaded and seized.


His henchman replies:  “But they’ll starve to death.”


To this Stalin responds, “Then takes everything!”


The movie well-portrayed the merciless killings and the people starving in the villages and the city streets. 


According to the postscript at the end of the movie 7 to 10 million Ukrainians perished.


Those were the days of great evil–Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Hideki Tojo, etc. 


Then another movie, The Birth Of A Nation, showing the horrors that the black people endured under slavery in this country.


The beatings, the rapes, the hangings, at one point, they even took a hammer and smashed the teeth out of the poor black man’s face as he hung from the wall in the barn in order to force feed him.


The brutality was unbelievable. 


What type of world is this (again)?


G-d must watch this evil and want to smite mankind for the seemingly endless evil, but for his mercy and love the world endures another day. 


Our challenge in the face of all the freakin’ evil out there is to do one good deed, say one good word, change the script of the evil doers…that’s all you and I can really do.


Change the script…mend the broken glass of the poor restaurant owner…mend the broken world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Way Out Of Social Bounds

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So on the 10th anniversary of the iPhone…


I want to say that the iPhone is probably one of the greatest inventions of all times…congratulations to Apple and especially to Steve Jobs!


I also want to say how far people have gone crazy in using these smartphones without any filters as to privacy or propriety. 


HERE IS A TRUE STORY THAT JUST HAPPENED :


We are in this building waiting for an elevator to come. 


A man comes around the corner speaking into his smartphone held at chest height with the speaker on blast!


He sees us, but apparently doesn’t even think to pause the conversation or turn off the speaker and put the device to his ear.


Instead, we hear from the phone from what is apparently his immediate family member.

“That’s right, it’s a yeast infection!”


We are looking at each other like is this really happening or are we on Candid Camera or something.


And he respond still on with the speaker as we get on the elevator:

“A yeast infection, yeah, yeah, you better not let it get any worse.”


Then from the phone:

“With these yeast infections, you know how it can be. I’ll try to take care of it today,”


Him again, now as he’s getting off the elevator:

“Well anyway, hope I’ll be seeing you over later today.”


My wife and I look at each other, and I blurt out after the elevator door closes:

“Yeah, yeah, I guess we’ll be seeing you later today–with that yeast infection and all–hope it’s not contagious!”


And we both start cracking up at how insane people are. 


While we can’t (completely) help what people are over-hearing -and seeing through surveillance mechanisms on our smartphones, this guy with his phone, he didn’t even flinch at the conversation he was having in the open on the speaker. 


It’s a different day and age, and some people have no sense of boundaries anymore. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Uber Overconfidence

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As everyone knows, Uber is essentially–for now–a high-tech taxi company.


And high-tech tends to command high price.


But they are IMHO very overconfident of their position. 


And while I generally like taking Ubers, I would go so far to say that in many respects they are potential dead cab meat!


Why?


– Not because their leadership is in disarray and their founder and CEO was just forced to resign.


– Not because they have a disastrous corporate culture.


– Not because of their uber low or not profitable margins.


– Not because of the threat of autonomous driverless vehicles.


– Not because of the (alleged) stolen documents from Google.


– Not because Uber is (potentially) overvalued at nearly $70 billion (more than GM, Ford, or Honda)!


– Not because of its numerous competitors coming up from behind, including Lyft.


But a major reason is because:


They just gave you a not-so-hidden increase in price by tacking on a new tipping mechanism that will result in many people paying as much as a 20% hike to their overall fares.


Uber is now losing a sizable portion of their price point competitive advantage!


With the risks involved here, who could be so overconfident?

Perhaps, it’s time to take a cab or hovercraft somewhere else. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


(All represents my own opinions)

Diversity Necessitates Respect

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So this was an interesting photo taken of a sticker hung in front/near the Capitol reflecting pool in Washington, D.C. 


It is one of the faces of the resistance, and while it’s not Linda Sarsour, it reminds me of her–she is the one who garnered wide attention at the 2017 Women’s March not long ago. 


Remember her rant of “Sisters and Brothers!”–whose sister is she anyway?


With her polarizing politics, support for Sharia Law and anti-Zionist rants and support for the BDS movement, she certainly is not mine. 


Note: An Israeli official even came out yesterday with like concerns about her. 


Here are some of Sarsour’s alleged sayings about Sharia Law–or is this more a complete embrace? 

While I greatly believe in diversity and strongly adhere to valuing and respecting all good people out there… 


There is something that feels wrong here. 


Generic images like the top photo with the traditional Muslim hair covering–again, I respect this.


It is overlaid with the American Flag–again nothing wrong with that–Jews wear yarmulkes with the flag too.


But look further now…underneath it states: 

“We The People 

are greater than fear”


Hmm…We the people–who is the “we” here?


Is this a group photo of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, etc.–so where is the inclusivity?


With Sarsour insertion of a Sharia ideology into American politics, perhaps, there is a subtle–or not so subtle–attack on our greater American freedom and democracy going on here.


Sharia law is being spread around the globe by:


Decree (think of the Mullahs in Iran)


Terror (think ISIS and Al-Qaeda)


Sympathy (think of the Palestinians)


Mass immigration (think of the changing cultural face of Europe), and 


Expropriating other people’s causes (such as Democracy and freedom and so called justice with Linda Sarsour).


Everyone is entitled to their peaceful beliefs, especially when there is a ethos of  mutual respect and a truthful recognition and acceptance for everyone of “Live and let live!”


But when the bounds are trampled by those who want to see only “their way or the highway”…then we need to seriously fear–who are “We the people”–and what do they really want? 😉


(Source top Photo: Andy Blumenthal and memes from Internet search)

Left and Right Unite

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So I saw on Facebook, an image of an old, wise, Native American Indian.


And over the image, it reads:

“The left wing and the right wing belong to the same bird.”


That is pretty darn smart–and one of the best things I heard all week!


To many extremist people out there, they seem to have been forgetting this lately.


Also, the agitators don’t seem to let up–does it matter if it’s conspiracy theories or fake news–if it gets the bird in the net for clip-clip.


In an effort to “resist”–or perhaps utterly destroy the opposition–we have put politics above the National interest. 


Yes, politics matter–issues matter–people matter. 


But can the bird fly with only one wing?


Sure, we need to speak up when we see something wrong or that we don’t agree with.

But we also need to discuss, negotiate, and compromise–for Pete’s sake, work together to make the bird stronger and fly further and faster–rather than kill the bird itself. 


Our competitors and enemies have arrows pointed at and are shooting them at our American Eagle.


Will we give them the advantage as we self-destruct with loathing for one another? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Winning Attitude

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I met this lady at the shopping outlets a few weeks ago. 


One of the awesome brand stores was running a sale with 70% off!


Check, check–not a gimmick–we race over with the crowd already forming lined up outside the doors. 


This salesperson was there to guide just a few people in at a time–I guess, so the mob wouldn’t rip the joint to sale shreds!


This lady (pictured) had something awesome about her.


Working part time in retail, I’d imagine that it’s not the job’s salary and benefits that is perking her up or “getting her out of bed in the morning.” 


Yet, she had the most unbelievably great attitude. 


She stopped to talk with us and tell us about her background studying and living in Israel during the year, and that she had a twin sister working in the same store for the Summer. 


Her energy and enthusiasm was inspirational and I would imagine could even be contagious to many who let themselves revel in it rather than resist it. 


As people waited on the line, this women offered them her umbrella to stay dry and cool. 


Waiting on line is not the most fun thing, even when it’s for a 70% off sale, but this lady kept everyone smiling and sort of stress free with frequent updates and walking and talking up/down the line.


Listen, we all know people who do the same or similar jobs: one is grouchy, sullen, and is for all intensive purposes miserable all or most of the time; the other is generally smiling and happy to be there learning and contributing, and have the job.


What a difference between these 2 types of people!


And what a enormous contrast between the positive and negative impacts they have on others and on the organization. 


It’s not just what you say and do, but how you go about doing it. 


Yes, we all have various challenges and problems in our lives, but how do you deal with it.


This doesn’t mean you should be a phony baloney head–you need to be genuine and real to be credible and a high-functioning human being–and of course, everyone has bad days. 


But an overall winning attitude goes a long way in life and towards success–for yourself and how you can influence others. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

I Doth Fear

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Innocent Shakespeare in the Park or violent assassination incitement of the President of the United States? 


Kathy Griffin holding up a severed head of the President.


Stephen Colbert’s tirade and obscenities.


And the list goes on and on…


Is this resistance or are things perhaps going too far for political discourse? 


Whatever your views, does the rhetoric need to get any hotter or more violent in this country. 


Cooler heads and compromise need to prevail for anything positive to come from all this.


Is it not still possible to unite under the shared values of freedom, human rights, and democracy that we all presumably hold dear and use these to advance our common cause? 


At least twice now protesters have stormed the Shakespearean stage calling the incitement as an evil portrayal reminiscent of those like Nazi Propaganda Minister, Goebbels (may his name and memory be erased).


The other side pretends nothing is going on and says, but it’s only Shakespeare. 


Demonstrating against the actors’ nightly violent portraying (and perhaps undisguised wishing for) the killing of the President, the plays’ protesters are themselves summarily dragged off by security.


Nothing seems to stop the shrill words, calls for violence, and violence itself. 


Just last week, we had the unreal and gross shooting of Congressman Whip, Steve Scalise, at an early morning baseball practice with his colleagues. 


For those who care to glimpse down the road, what happens from here as we seem to forget who we are as people and as a nation, and we let extremists take over the agenda.


I doth fear (a little Shakespeare myself here) that the problem with extremism and violence is that it can too easily beget more extremism and violence.


Incessant name-calling, an avalanche of punches by the media, hostility on college campuses towards free speech, SNL just poking fun (is this really so funny anymore), an inciting Shakespearean play, plus marches, protests, and then taking things too far.


Like the closing in a classic Shakespearean tragedy…should we all not fear how this will end? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)