Thursday, April 18, 2013

Time to get off the sofa....

Do you read biographies? If not, it is high time you do...or at least watch some on the Biography channel.

Watching or reading a Biography does not mean you wish to live your life vicariously through someone else who has "made it " big enough to warrant a biography. No, it is far more important than that. After wading through a few biographies you will find that there is a very strong theme that runs through most of them. It is that theme that we should be looking for, and seeking an understanding of that can be adapted to our own lives and our own success.

If you want to know how to become a rock star, read rock star biographies. A businessman? Read biographies. A great teacher...biographies. Every possible success can be found in Biographies.

And don't forget the old adage, do not reinvent the wheel. If you want to be successful, copy what successful people have done. I like biographies. But why do I find them so interesting?

Lets take a quick look at one person who has seen success....Danny DeVito.

Now Danny was the youngest of 3 children, having two sisters 16 years and 10 years older than him. (Maybe a change of life baby?) He was basically raised by his sisters, and went to work as a hair stylist in his sisters salon.

He was very good at it and was much in demand from the customers. His sister suggested he learn cosmetology and he decided that was a good idea, so looked for a make-up school. The only one was with an acting school and he had to qualify as an actor to do the classes in film makeup.

He liked acting so much that he went full time to acting school. He got a role in a small play where he met someone who would be significant in his career. That person was Michael Douglas, and they shared an apartment in New York until Michael Douglas got the gig with Streets of San Francisco. (Even though Douglas was in California he still sent his share of the rent back to DeVito who was still in New York.)

DeVito got his first break when he got a role in the Oscar winning move, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, with Jack Nicholson. Danny really expected that the amazing success and critical acclaim of this movie and his role would launch his career, but it was not to be. His career languished for many years, with the occasional bit parts and little else. His stature was an issue for him and he was even told that "nobody wants a 5"0" character actor".

At the age of 34 his career really started with a starring role in the TV show, Taxi. His stature and agressive New York style made him a very appealing character in a show with many stars. When Taxi finished its run after 4 or 5 years, DeVito was again unemployed with a career that appeared to be going nowhere.

But he refused to give up. He wanted to be more than just an actor. He also wanted to be a director and a producer. Michael Douglas was a significant part of the next step in his career. Wanting to produce a movie, Douglas got together with DeVito and did Romancing the Stone, such a huge hit that it was followed with Crown of the Nile. DeVito had really arrived now, and strung together a list of hits including his directorial debut in Throw Momma from the Train.

DeVito around this time was looking at Producing more movies and saw a film by a young relatively unknown director that he found so appealing that he paid the director $900k for the rights to produce the next movie that director was planning. The film that struck DeVito so much that he handed over $900k sight unseen for the next project, was Reservoir Dogs by the relatively unknown Quentin Tarrantino. His next movie, Pulp Fiction was a huge success, produced by DeVito's company.

OK. So, DeVito started as a hairdresser and become a multimillionaire film producer. Did he stop there? No.

He has now gone back to his roots and turned full circle to once again starring in a TV show, "It's always sunny in Philadelphia."

So what can we learn from this short biography of DeVito?

1. stature is more about who you are than how you look. At 5 foot tall DeVito lacks physical stature, but makes it up in ability, determinatioon, and creativity. Never think you can't do something because you are too tall, too short, to heavy, too light, too dark, too white, too bald etc etc. The only people who think that are those willing to live by other people's rules. Live by your own and you never know how you can change the world.

2. every person you meet is a possible ally for you. Never assume that the person you are talking too is not someone who can help you in the future. Treat everyone as if they are important to you, as a person first, and then that will usually come back to help you in the future. Treat someone like crap, and it will usually come back to bite you in the ass when you are not looking! DeVito struck a friendship with Douglas when both were struggling poverty stricken young actors. That friendship paid off big time.

3. from humble beginnings, great things can emerge. DeVito was a hair stylist. His sister gave him the confidence and encouragement to succeed. Just as auctioneers are fond of saying, it does not matter where you is where you finish that counts.

So get off that couch, stop finding excuses, and go be who you want to be.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Going Galt....


That is the only word I can find right now.

For the last several weeks I have been thinking very carefully about what this blog should be doing for the coming 4 years…and as I watch the Liar-in-Chief and his machinations in the White House, as I watch his lies, his deceptions and his attacks on the Constitution I am thankful that at least conservatives hold the House and can put up a fight against this crap.

And then I understood.

The House has no more interest in stopping the march toward tyranny than I have in living in North Korea.

We hear the obligatory bleat from Boehner as he finds a way to increase the debt limit.

We hear the conservatives say that by doing this we can regroup and reduce spending next time around.

I hear the democrats laughing their asses off as they watch the GOP disintegrate in front of their very eyes.

Their mocking is loud and clear as the President suddenly becomes a keen shooter…the White House propagating that lie by taking a picture of his highness holding a shotgun as only a person who has never shot a shotgun in his life could.

And meanwhile every possible move is being made to restrict our 2nd amendment rights.

While the Conservatives in Congress find a way to appoint John Kerry as Secretary of State…notwithstanding his dishonor of the State in the past. How soon we forget that this excuse for a man threw his medals away…or just pretended…either way he is a disgrace to this Nation and has no right to be anointed Secretary of State. Just another liar. And yet, with nary a question he marches to his new role and states “I have big heels to fill”…well, John Kerry, you better come out of the closet, put on your pumps and start selling America down the Muslim Brotherhood path. ‘Cause if you don’t, there are plenty of Obama disciples in the wings who will do that for him…best watch your back and do his will lest you become just another useful idiot discarded in the street, having to learn to dance in those pumps and fishnets just to make a living!

Over these last few weeks I have struggled to understand how America has reached this point.

And frankly, I have no idea. 

Education? Maybe.

 Intimidation? Definitely. 

The “have nots” outnumbering the “haves”? Certainly.

But none of this explains the absolute lack of backbone shown by conservative politicians. None of this accounts for the total lack of political savvy within the minds of conservatives in Congress. None of this accounts for the cowardice, poor judgment, and lack of knowledge displayed by those we have elected to represent us.

And therein lays the problem.

These are the men and women we have chosen to represent us…and we have selected fools and cowards (not necessarily in that order).

There is no doubt in my mind that we get the government we deserve…but to think that we have elected a bunch of Lilly-livered pathetic, inarticulate and scared little children as the men and women we hope will stand up for us is insane.

We are the problem…we elected children to fight liars and egomaniacs. Why would we expect anything different to what we have?

And so I am disgusted.

For once it is not with Obama…he is exactly who 51% of the population voted for, and while I immensely dislike the person, he is who he is by nature. I hate what he has done to the Office…and he will one day answer for the irreparable damage he and his followers, his disciples, have done to this country…but that will not be anytime soon.

No, I am disgusted with the conservatives in this country who continue to elect a core of intellectually and morally bankrupt pretenders to Congress. People who secretly harbor white man’s guilt and love Obama on the throne. They are scared of being called racists…and are terrified of the union thugs.

They no longer know what is right, nor if it is even worth fighting for…the only survival they know is to put on the Nike’s and run as fast as they can when Obama says “Boo!”.


So what can we do?

Well…I for one, am ashamed of the people of this country. I am tired of fighting an overwhelming force of evil. My wounds run deep…my faith in the conservatives in this country is sorely shaken.

I no longer feel qualified to be a part of the charge to rightness, let alone a leader.

I need to regroup…to step away…to accept that this battle is lost and to determine how the war can be won. Being involved on a daily basis does not allow me to see the big picture. Being consumed by doubt, anguish, and yes, fears for the future of this country, does not a leader make.

And so I am letting go for now. Call it going Galt if you will.

I am stepping away. I am licking my wounds to fight another day.

So what will I be doing?

I will be doing what Obama hates most…I will be making money. I will be preparing for the safety of my family. I will not be caught unawares if the shit hits the fan.

Yes, I am arming myself. I am ensuring adequate supplies of guns and ammunition and food and water are available at all times.

I hope I won’t need them.

And I will continue to write…perhaps not here on this blog, although I may from time to time. Certainly not as regularly as I have done.

I will ration my media. Very little news, very little politics will enter my home.

I am becoming the hermit who cares not for the world outside. We have made our choices and now have to live with them as best we can. Life is too short to spend in grief. I am going to live mine by choice…my choice.

Perhaps in doing this I will become the very thing that Obama fears most….a free man.

Perhaps we should all do the same.