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Sunday, April 29, 2012

This One's A Long One, But Enjoy!

You Just Can't Make Them.

Good Evening All, it's about that time.

Things are going quite well -- took a nice long run up and down the neighborhood and the park.  To shake things up, I used a new heart rate monitor given to me by a very supportive family member.  While it didn't show me distance or pace, it did indicate that I was very close to my maximum heart rate of 181, and burned 1127 calories in 1:14:20.  Good to know that I'm not overdoing it, and also good to know that my metabolism hasn't slowed down!

But on to tonight's topic.  A friend of mine recently noted that attendance in his/her house of worship was significantly less this week than it was during the recent major holidays.  He felt sad and frustrated that others did not seek out G-D faithfully, and questioned why those with only sporadic attendance and participation would even join a congregation to begin with.

His feelings are completely valid, and I'm sure many others who are active in church or temple feel the same frustration.  Most weekends, the sanctuary is populated by "the regulars," but on the red-letter days, it's standing room only.  Or better yet, on the red-letter days, some people only come to hear "the important part," and then leave with a substantial amount of the service remaining.  It's annoying and disrespectful, let's be honest!  It also serves to erode faith - apathy is sometimes contagious, and it takes strength and discipline to indoctrine oneself against it.

However, the frustration felt towards our apathetic counterparts must be contained, otherwise it morphs into arrogance and judgment.  Nobody can force adherents of any faith to be present at services, or to say all the right prayers, or to do anything that the ancient scriptures say ought to be done.  That's why we live in a country that respects freedom of religion (and atheism), and not one that imposes religion on its population.

Are they doing wrong?  Maybe.  Is it a diss to the house of worship and its leaders?  It sure feels like it.  Then again, there might also be completely valid reasons for skipping or cutting, such as children, health, or other commitments.  Or chances are, they wish they could attend, but some problem in their life is preventing them from doing so, and they may be somewhat embarrassed to explain what it is!  It also might not be our business.

And if they don't have valid reasons, then let them deal with G-D Himself.  We can't assume that we speak for Him when we don't, so let Him do the job.  If He sees fit to send a message, people are much more likely to take Him seriously than us!

For those of us who are faithful attendees, keep it up.  Don't be discouraged by those who aren't there with you, and don't question whether you're wasting your time because of their no-shows.  Just like they don't have to explain to you why they don't go, you don't have to feel self-conscious or self-doubting because you choose to attend.  You honor G-D the way you see fit, keep your faith strong, and don't let anyone -- not the latecomers, not the early-leavers, not the no-shows, and not the smart-ass agnostics who deride and belittle your beliefs -- make you feel like you shouldn't stick with it.

And besides, maybe it's better to be happy with those who do attend, than it is to be angry at those who don't.  By way of analogy, look at me and this blog -- sometimes it feels like I have a pseudo-congregation out here in the blog-osphere, but I can't make people read it.  In fact, there are a few people out there I would LOVE to read it, but I know for a fact that they won't.   If I sent emails of my blog entries to all of them, demanding that they read it, they'd just get annoyed and delete them.  So all I can do is write what I know best, check the stats, and be happy with the turnout that results.  It hasn't happened often, but I sometimes get negative feedback from my readers.  I can't force them to love every single word I write, but I can politely acknowledge their beef, and then choose to either accept it or reject it.  It's far better for me to keep this going, even with the video, than to feel slighted and stunted by those who feel like walking out on what I'm saying.

WHEW . . .  sometimes I don't know where it comes from, people.  Oh, one more thing:

DISCLAIMER -- the above post was not intended to offend, malign, besmirch, insult, or kick sand in the face of any adherent or nonadherent of any church, religion, creed, cult, faith, group or organization.  Any offense or sense of being miffed is entirely the responsibility of the reader of this blog.

That's all I got now -- have a restful Sunday night!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Aaaand the video!

A Little Hockey Analogy, All . . . .

Who's On Your Team?

Good evening, good evening all:

The Stanley Cup playoffs are in full swing. No, my beloved Islanders are not in it, but that's being offset by the other two New York area teams on the brink of getting bounced out of the first round. When being taunted by fans of those franchises, I often query which is worse -- not making the playoffs at all, or getting there and losing horribly?

But when I think about hockey, I think about how much of a team sport it really is. Not like basketball, where just one player can dominate the game, and not like baseball or football, where there are too many scenarios where just one player can win it, or lose it, all.   In hockey, teams win or lose based on how they function as a singular unit.   Which line is best for the power play?   Which one is best for penalty killing?   Who's forechecking better, or cross-checking harder?   And who can protect others from the "goons" and "enforcers?"   And, oh yeah, who can actually score some goals, and who's good with assists?

So, who's on your team?   Is there someone you can pass to?   Is there someone tough on defense?   Is there someone who brings confidence to the dressing room and brings your game to the next level?

Or is there someone who causes too much drama? Someone who tries to look better than you? Someone who exploits your weaknesses, erodes your confidence, and gives you pause to leave the team, or demand that they leave?

Take a look around at your own "teammates." This includes family, friends, co-workers, you name it. Who's on your team?   Is someone treating you more like an enemy than a friend?   Is someone going out of their way to one-up you all the time?   Is someone making you feel less like a teammate and more like the water boy/girl?

News flash, rook.   You're not just a player on your team, you're also the coach.   And the GM, and the president/CEO.   If you can see that someone in your life is not a team player, you can trade them.   Real easy-like.   For a draft pick, for minor-league prospects, or better yet for someone who doesn't desperately need to put others down in order to be satisfied with life.

Why bother keeping them? A winning team is made of winners, not cheaters, posers, or time-wasters. You can give them a few chances, just to be fair, if that's your team. After that, if they think it's a lot more fun to play games than it is to play your game, then cut them.  Please!  Your true fans will be clamoring that "_____ MUST GO!"  And once you listen to them, you're on your way to the Cup!

Feel free to comment, and once again, welcome to my new friends on Google +!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Just got a case disallowed, people! Showing the client the skills that pay the bills.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Here it is, all -- now to try out the webcam!

New Places And Faces

Hey All --

This weekend I discovered new running territory -- Forest Park in Queens, New York.  This beautiful spot of nature nudged between Brooklyn and Queens has major hills and amazing scenery, and at the center of it all is Victory Park, a 400-meter track perfect for speed work. 

There is a group that meets there Saturday and Sunday mornings at 8am to run.  Next week's mission is to join them for a group training run.  This weekend, I took the opportunity to get acquainted with "the lay of the land" on my own in the afternoon -- what a treat!  And it's not even three blocks away from my apartment!  Can't beat that with a stick . . . .

Oh yeah, that reminds me -- now that I've gotten my new credit card, replacing the one that is expiring, I finally made good on my guaranteed entry for the 2012 NYC Marathon.  This year I'm gonna make it happen and break that elusive four-hour mark, something I've only been able to do at out-of-town races.  I'll  keep you all posted on my progress, which may include a visit to places north of NYC -- way north!

Also, as many of you will see, I've gotten reacquainted with my webcam, and been tooling around with the Hangout feature on Google Plus.  Basically, it's like the chatrooms on AOL, but with video instead of text.  Obviously still a few degrees below in-person socialization, but it still requires us to watch how we act, and not only what we say.

So, the rest of my entry will be on the video embed I'm about to post, just to see if I can speak to you all as well as I can write.  Ahhh, the memories of the WTOP news are flooding back to me . . . .

Good night, don't forget to comment!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

Last night down here in Florida -- back to life and back to reality tomorrow!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Post for Passover and Easter.

Heroism -- Not As Easy As It Looked!

Yes, People, today marks the end of what is known as Holy Week for some, and the transition from the festival days of Passover to the intermediate days of Passover -- I'll explain that concept another time.


This week we celebrate major festivals in two different faiths that both concern men who were called upon to be heroes for different reasons.  The Passover story recounts how Moses, an Egyptian nobleman, learned of his Hebrew lineage, aligned himself with his enslaved countrymen, and led their miraculous escape from slavery. He was, at best, a reluctant leader - the rabbinical commentaries said that he was so uncomfortable with public speaking that Aaron had to "interpret" for him when he demanded that Pharaoh "let my people go."  Not all studly and forceful like Charlton Heston played him, he never volunteered for this gig.  Rather, he was chosen to be the leader and to bring G-D's message of deliverance and freedom.

And this business of freedom proved to make him an unpopular leader.  Once the Jews made it across the Red Sea, the complaint department was open for business 24/7.  People thought that Moses had brought them out of Egypt to die, they questioned where this Promised Land actually was, and they started remarking that the Egyptians, brutal as they were, at least fed them (no kidding they fed you -- to paraphrase Boba Fett, unfed slaves were no good to the Egyptians!)

This lack of popularity eventually got under his skin, so that he lost his temper on two significant occasions:  First, when he came down from Sinai with the Tablets in his hand, what did he see?  His own people decided it would be a lot more fun to worship a golden idol and hold a bacchanalian shindig than to wait for him to deliver some high-handed laws.  So he chucked those sacred Tablets at them, went off on them royally, and declared them unworthy.  Eventually, the Tablets were replaced from on high, the golden calf was smelted down, and those responsible paid the price, but Big Moe showed the people that he had his limits.

On the second occasion, he got tired of the people asking for water from the rock, which could have been delivered merely by speaking to it.  But he was in such a foul mood that day that he struck it hard out of frustration, against the commandment to merely ask for the water from the rock.  This time, he paid a hefty price:  all those complaining Hebrews were going to cross the river into Canaan and build their own country, but he wouldn't be joining them.

These two isolated incidents smudged his otherwise legendary status.  Although it was he who brought G-D's word to Israel, he was all too human in his reactions to the complaints and capriciousness of a brand new nation.  Had he only learned that it's not possible to change the way people act or think, even if they are delivered with Commandments from G-D, his record could have been perfect.  The simple truth is, that some people will complain and judge and gossip even when faced with direct and irrefutable proof of a Higher Power.  The only One who can change them is G-D himself, not you.  Had he simply understood that (a) some people flocked to the calf because they were not ready for G-D, no matter what miracles they'd seen; and that (b) people will demand water even if it's there for the taking, he may have been able to enjoy the rewards of his hard work, and actually entered what is now Israel.  However, he would settle for the fact that he brought Israel, a great and mighty nation, out of misery and bondage to build its own kingdom and Temple, which was clearly enough of an accomplishment in and of itself.


The Easter story tells of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  A carpenter was called upon to fulfill his role as a Chosen Savior predicted by prophecy, and he went about it the best way he knew how.  He preached what he knew was true, and taught others how they could receive the Kingdom of Heaven.  In doing so, he risked great peril from many sources.  While those who agreed with him saw him as a leader, a prophet, and a source of comfort and faith, others called him a fraud and an enemy.  Had he been around today, there might have been a large amount of friends and advisers with good intentions who would have tried to limit what he said, where he said it, and to whom he said it, just to protect him.  If there were such advisers around him then, he apparently chose to take those risks instead of seeking safety.

Ultimately, his enemies brought an end to his earthly existence in spite of the good he did.  However, the Gospels state that he still triumphed over them when he rose from the grave.  His words would eventually be accepted by most of known world.  Nevertheless, the end to his life on earth was a painful and tragic one.

His example, not unlike Moses, was a reminder of perseverance in the face of adversity and unpopular sentiment.  Both men stuck to their convictions, no matter how hated or reviled their positions made them.   Both men have long since been venerated for what they accomplished -- one brought a nation of slaves to freedom and liberty, the other preached salvation and redemption to all people.  They both succeeded, but both their successes came at heavy costs.

So let's take the examples from both men:  (1) Are you angry at people who just don't get your message?  Let them not get it, because that's not your problem.  Staying angry at those who just don't feel like listening will only drag you down to their level.  (2) Are you brave enough to deliver your message even if it's unpopular and others may threaten you?  Don't be afraid of them.  However, if there's a personal safety, life-and-death issue, be careful.  Dying for a cause is noble, but living for your cause is even better.  As long as nobody's being put in danger, and your adversaries at least respect your right to live and speak your truth, don't hold back.

Hope you enjoyed your holidays, all, and have a happy Monday!

DISCLAIMER:  The above blog entry was not intended to malign, besmirch, impugn, or condemn any religious practices, creeds, or beliefs.  Any offense experienced by the reader of this message is entirely the responsibility of that reader, and not its author.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Round 2 tonight. Tomorrow, leftovers. Inbetween, a close, personal relationship with Boynton Beach Boulevard. :)
Relaxing with family, watching the NHL playoff picture take shape, wondering what inspirational words would work best for tomorrow's blog entry.
Five miles in Boynton Beach, now we're talkin'. Now I'm ready for the Second Seder!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Whoaaaa, whole lotta eatin' goin' on. Good thing I can just burn it off tomorrow!
All Who Are Hungry, Let Them Come And Eat. Happy Passover!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Good Morning Pingers! Brooklyn this morning and back again later, every day I'm shuffelin!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A quick push through the cold in Forest Park. Bring it on, Tuesday!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hard to reach my peeps with my laptop on the fritz. G-D bless Ping!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Making Do.

Hey all!  Sorry I haven't been present lately, but my laptop is on the fritz.  Sooo, here I am, making do with my Droid.  It won't let me start a new paragraph, but that's better than no post at all.  As those of you who follow me on Facebook may be aware, I just moved, so that sometimes disrupts routine.  But now that I've found a way to "make do," I'm back on track.  By way of extension, it's always a challenge to adapt to inconvenience, delay, discomfort, deprivation, or more significant life changes.  Maybe your flight got canceled, maybe the judge was sleeping through your whole argument (or just ignored you), or maybe someone that you think is annoying got even more annoying, but you still have to be nice to them.  What to do?  You could whine, pout, stew, steam, or mouth off with the intention of starting more drama.  Or . . . you could find a reason to enjoy the experience anyway.  If the judge won't listen to you, the appellate panel will enjoy reading your fully-developed argrument before reversing him.  If annoying guy doesn't see you become annoyed, he may actually wake up and stop being annoying.  And then again, one of my favorite examples for us guys:   Ever get stuck at a party where all the "bad boys" are getting loud?  Well, The sweet chick at the party who gets bored by all the "bad boys" running their mouths might actually be more interested in a "nice guy" like you - my experience from New Year's Eve 1989-1990 proves this!