Monument To The Homeless

I really had to take a second look at this. 


From a distance, it looked like another homeless person sleeping on the bench in Washington., D.C. 


But as I got closer, I realized this was a statue of a homeless person.


And the only thing real about it was the empty cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee next to it. 


Honestly, I am not sure what the point of this statue is. 


There are enough REAL homeless people to remind us of their serious plight and the critical need to help them. 


The money that went into creating this monument would’ve been far better spent on helping these real people in need. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

That’s Some Pricey Garbage Art


So we stopped in this gallery in Palm Beach.


And there lay this piece of “art”.


Well, I’m not sure–is this really art?


The proprietor explained that this is made up of scrap pieces of metal from the garbage dump like from old discarded automobiles. 


The artist welded the garbage together, painted it, and voila there it is–some very pricey art. 


Who pricey you ask.


Take a guess.


No really. 


No, you’re too low. 


Try again. 


No, you’re still too low.


Not even in the ballpark. 


Okay, I’ll tell you, but only because you asked so nicely.


It starts with a 95.  


No, not $9,500.


No, not $95,000 either. 


That’s right $950,000!!!


All this “art” can be yours if the price is right. 


Can anyone say “irrational exuberance” again? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

DMAIC Reengineering

A colleague gave a wonderful talk the other day on process engineering.


The key steps to reduce waste (Lean) or variation/defects (Six Sigma) are as follows:


Define – Scope the project.


Measure – Benchmark current processes.


Analyze – Develop to-be processes (with a prioritized list of improvements) and plan for implementation.


Improve – Executive process improvements.


Control – Monitor/refine new processes.


It was amazing to me how similar to enterprise architecture this is in terms of: defining your “current” and “future” states and creating a transition plan and executing it.


Also, really liked the Project Scoping questions:


– What problem do you want to solve/what process do you want to improve?

– Why do you need this?

– What is the benefit?  And to whom?

– What are your objectives for this effort?

– Who are the key stakeholders?

– When is this needed and why?


I think process improvement/engineering methodologies like this can be a huge benefit to our organizations, especially where the tagline is “Why should we change–we’ve always done it this way!” 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Suicide Back To Go

So I spoke to someone who tried to commit suicide.


This is what they told me:


“When you try to commit suicide, there is no light; there is no Heaven; there is only darkness.”


Basically, even though they were desperate and tried to kill themselves, their experience was not one of finding relief, but rather of going to Hell!


So while I really don’t know anything, this is what I imagine happens when you try to commit suicide. 


Yes, there is no light–there is only darkness. 


Yes, there is no Heaven.


But I don’t believe you go to Hell for being desperate, depressed, alone, and feeling like you have no other way out. 


Instead, what I believe is that you “Go back to GO and you do not collect $200.”


In other words, you have to start the Game of Life all over again. 


Since you didn’t complete your tests, trials, challenges, and mission…you go back to the beginning. 


You have to relive your life and go through it all over again. 


Who is to say, whether it is a better life or not. 


Presumably, whatever lessons you were supposed to learn the first time around, you still have to complete those lessons. 


So I would think you have to relive a lot of the same. 


I don’t know about you, but one of the things I hate worst when things go wrong is to have to go back and redo what I’ve already done. 


It seems so fruitless, such a waste of time and effort. 


How is that for frustrating–working just to redo what you already did. 


Perhaps that is quite the measured “punishment” for those who end their life prematurely–before G-d says it’s time. 


While we frequently say things about wishing to be young again or do it all over again–I think rarely does someone mean having to go thru the same pain points again. 


I assume it’s nice to live again, but it’s got to be a value-add life–not just a do-over!


So in my mind, while someone on the edge may not have a real choice in what they are doing and in making a decision to take their life–it’s probably not a purely rational moment in time–I do think that in so taking their life, they are not doing themselves any favors in the end. 


Because, suicide isn’t game over, but rather the game begins all over–from the beginning again. 😉


(Note: I am not talking about assisted suicide here for someone who is at the end of life and in absolute pain and suffering and it is truly time to go–I am sure that is perfectly okay). 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

To BE Corruption FREE

corruption

Amazing, they were advertising this in downtown Washington, D.C.:

“A Government Free of Corruption”


Wouldn’t this just be completely miraculous!


WE HAVE A DREAM:


– No lies and spin


– No deception and manipulation


– No public and private faces


– No collusion and cheating


– No hidden agendas and backroom dealings


– No hate, bias, and divisiveness


– No denigrating, name-calling, and character assassination


– No bribery and pay to play


– No intimidation, payback, and shadow government


– No self entitlement and self enrichment


– No fraud, waste, and abuse

Imagine instead, if integrity was the essence of good leadership.

Today, in synagogue, the weekly Torah portion was Genesis–where as we all know, G-d created the heavens and the earth. 

Genesis 1:2 “Now the earth was chaos and void” (in Hebrew “tohu va-bohu”).

The bar-mitzvah boy, in his speech, joked about how his first 13-years of life growing up was very much tohu va-bohu (chaos), but he was hopeful that with his wonderful parents guiding him, he would get on track and pay more attention to his schoolwork, all the details, and not rush through things. 

I thought to myself, there are probably a lot of people even in their 30s, 40, and 50’s whose life was still tohu va-bohu, but that doesn’t mean we can’t emulate G-d and still create something wonderful from all the chaos, right? 

Similarly in the tohu va-bohu chaos of Washington politics, where nearly 80% of the electorate believe that we are going in the wrong direction, it’s not too late to continue make something great that we can all be proud of.

In the Wall Street Journal today, Peggy Noonan described a recent focus group led by Democratic pollster, Peter Hart, where all 12 voters (Democrats, Republicans, and Independents) unanimously and sadly agreed that “America was off track.” 

In fact, one person wisely intimated that things seemed to go off track with 9/11 and “never quite recovered.”  Unfortunately, more than the World Trade Center came down in America that fateful day. 

But it’s not the first time in history that things have been tohu va-bohu, and perhaps it’s okay…that why G-d teaches us things can change for the better…order and sense and progress can be made to rise from all the chaos.

The good news is still out there, “And G-d said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

DC Metro Is In Shambles

DC Metro.jpeg

So the latest this week from the crumbling infrastructure of the DC Metro train system, not withstanding the mess of Operation SafeTrack. 

While riding this morning, a large panel inside the train abruptly and widely swings open and smashes against the fabricated white and plastic wall adjacent to the seats. 

It made a loud bang and initially everyone on the train looked up with the deer in the headlights stare apparently thinking it was a gunshot on the train or something. 

Luckily, no one was in the 2 seats where the panel swung open like that, because their would’ve been some physical damage done to somebody there. 

The age and decrepitness of the train obvious from the incident and also looking at what’s behind door #1!

What is amazing is that this is the Capital of the United States, one of the wealthiest and most powerful nations on Earth.

We spend lavishly abroad and domestically on wasteful pork barrel politics, broken programs, and even money that goes completely unaccounted for (can anyone say pass a financial audit). 

Yet, we cannot provide a modern, clean, safe, and functional metro transportation system servicing the capital of our country or for that matter educate our young people properly or feed the hungry and shelter the homeless within our own borders. 

There is a lot broken here and Metro is just the tip of the leadership iceberg unbecoming who we are and what our potential for this world is. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)