Saturday, July 24, 2010


I have, for at least the past 15 years or so, been disappointed, frustrated, angered, and sometimes simply astonished at some of the current deficiencies in the news media I was once a part of. So many times even national network anchors report on stories which they obviously have not checked and usually have no historical knowledge of from which to place the story in perspective.It's as if they never read newspapers or books on anything happening more than a few months ago.

I enjoy it when Jay Leno does one of his famous Jaywalking bits, where he asks ordinary people very easy questions, like who fought in World War II, who's the Vice President of the United States, and is President Obama a Democrat or Republican? It's shocking and funny how many answer incorrectly, and some of these people are college students or even teachers. But I'm not sure most so-called news people in today's 24/7 media could answer any better.

When I was a newsman for WRVA Radio in Richmond, Virginia; KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia; and NBC and WINS NewsRadio in New York, we were held to much higher standards. We were expected to be well-read, educated in current events and history going back at least 50 years.

I became nostalgic for this bygone era when I tuned in this past weekend to one of my favorite news and information shows, Inside Washington, which originates on the local ABC television station in Washington, D.C., and is carried in selected other markets. I catch it online every week.

In this particular edition, moderator Gordon Peterson opened by commenting on the controversy surrounding Shirley Sherrod, a black women condemned and fired for making a racist remark during a speech. Except she never made it, the whole story, which started with an edited and doctored video posted on a conservative website, and then was trumpeted by Fox News, was a big lie, as in the kind of Big Lie perpetrated by Hitler's Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. Even the Obama Administration acted stupidly and prematurely, and followed the herd mentality by firing her. The President has since apologized to Sherrod and offered her a better and bigger job. But it does point out the deficiencies of today's news media in terms of accuracy, diligence, and integrity. Gordon Peterson said:

"Some of you may remember the good old days of newspapers, TV and radio news, when you had hours to work on your story, and your editors and producers had plenty of time to sift through your stuff for accuracy. If you remember that, you're a dinosaur! Welcome to the blogosphere, the burn-out pace of online news, and the 24 hour instant deadline."

Well, call me Tyrannosaurus Rex, because I do remember that time. I remember one story at KYW NewsRadio in which Andrea Mitchell (yes, that Andrea Mitchell) and I worked for a couple of weeks checking out facts before we were allowed to go on the air with our report. I'll admit there have been times over the years when I wondered where I'd be if I had stayed in that career. It was fun and exciting. Andrea still seems to be the hard-working and impeccably prepared reporter she was back then when we were colleagues and friends. But she and a few others are rarities, dinosaurs if you will. And I'm happy to have quit when I was ahead, and the quality of news media was way ahead.
(If you haven't discovered it yet, check out my prosperity blog, from which you can download my latest book, an online edition titled The Moneylove Manifesto, and even access a free sample audio from The Moneylove Club.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Thinking about this subject of boredom got started with a satirical comment I posted on Facebook:

I hear Apple is working on an app that would send out an electric shock to anyone who posts anything boring or useless on FB. If it's true, are any of us immune?

And this evoked some of the most interesting comments I've ever gotten on Facebook. Which led me to the belief that "boredom" might be an interesting topic to write about (or ironically, I could be boring the life out of you merely by bringing it up!).
Focusing on this subject, which incidentally is the antidote to boredom--focusing with attention on anything intently out of all the things we could be paying attention to--brought me to a major self-realization. I am almost never bored. Even during 12 years in the dreariest, dullest, most tedious and enervating environment of all: prison, I was never bored. Of course, I'm one of those arrogant people who finds his own thoughts profoundly fascinating.
I like what Wikipedia says in its definition of boredom:
"An emotional state experienced during periods lacking activity, or when individuals are uninterested in the opportunities surrounding them."
And some scientists studying the subject seem to agree that it's not that people are bored from the lack of things to do, but from the inability to latch onto any specific activity. This reminds me of the term I recently coined, "Scatterholic," to describe someone who cannot focus on one thing at a time and therefore dilutes his or her creative energy.
I also like what Anna Gosline said in the December, 2007 edition of Scientific American Mind:
"Don't blame your job, the traffic, or your mindless chores. Battling boredom, researchers say, means finding focus, living in the moment, and having something to live for."
I think that is the also the secret to battling poverty consciousness and any other obstacle to a creative, loving, healthy and prosperous life.
A lot of people must find this subject interesting, since there are over 12 million results when you Google "boredom."
As you may know, one of the ways I kept my sanity in prison was by writing cartoon gags, some of which major cartoonists then sold to national publications like Saturday Evening Post, Wall Street Journal, and Parade. And I get these snippets of inspiration in the most unlikely places (which is one of the things that keeps me from ever being bored). Even in writing this piece, one just popped into my head:
Scene: Woman to man at party.
Caption: "You're definitely the most interesting man here, and you still bore me silly."
And the saddest fact in all of this is that some of the most boring people on the planet actually believe that they are endlessly interesting.

Now, for some really interesting stuff on prosperity, check out my other blog,

Sunday, July 4, 2010


So it's Independence Day here in the U.S. I remember how strange it seemed spending the holiday in London back in 1985. I suddenly realized my British friends really didn't care to celebrate the anniversary. This brings to mind the recently released statistic that 20% of U.S. citizens don't know who we won our independence from. One friend, an American, was married to an Englishwoman who was minor royalty...22nd in line to the throne or something like that. So they were invited as special guests to the garden party at the U.S. Embassy to celebrate the 4th, and took me along. A festive event, but certainly surreal.

I've been thinking about personal freedom a lot recently. When I was in prison, I outlined a book that is currently on my famous "back burner," The Great Escape--12 Essential Freedoms.
The most essential one I think is the one offered by Christopher Morley:
"There is only one success--to be able to spend your life in your own way."

That's really what freedom is all about, isn't it? On several occasions I've had the rather arrogant thought that I am more uniquely qualified to expound on freedom than most people, having spent 12 years in prison, and feeling that I hadn't lost my freedom at all--just my freedom of movement through the physical world. Inside my own head, I was as free as the proverbial bird, free to stretch my wings and take off in any direction. Free to think, to reflect, to meditate, to daydream, to imagine, to have any opinion I chose on any subject in the universe. True, there were harsh realities to deal with, but with such an abundance of internal options on which to focus, these were largely insignificant and usually easy to ignore.

But more recently, I had the further realization that we all have that ability to create our own freedom, in prison or out. Some people create their own prisons of limited freedom without ever getting involved with the so-called justice system. All have the ability to escape.

I just posted a comment on my Facebook page about the fact that I was planning to spend July 4th alone at home to celebrate my Personal Independence Day. And then I exercised my personal independence by changing my mind. In about an hour, I am headed for lunch at Red Lobster, where I will order one of my favorites, their seafood gumbo served in a sourdough bread bowl with a salad featuring wood grilled shrimp. I am celebrating a small but very satisfying victory. Some of you know that a continuing interest of mine is poker. And last night I entered an online Razz (7 card lowball stud) tournament for $5.50. There were 55 other players from all over the world, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Australia, Canada, Austria, Italy, Brazil, etc. I came in 2nd and won $112.50. Not a huge amount of money, but certainly worth celebrating with a delicious lunch. And it moves me further along in my education, which I hope will lead me to a slot in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas next year.

In response to my Facebook item, I got a message from my old friend Gregg Sanderson, whom I first knew in Miami in the 1970s. Marla Sanderson recently took over as minister of the Church of Religious Science in Largo, Florida, so they moved from Nashville back to Florida after some thirty years away in such places as Las Cruces, New Mexico; San Diego; Nevada City, CA. In his message, Gregg sent me a link to their newsletter and an article by Marla on Personal Independence Day, so I decided it would be perfect to share that with my blog readers, as it coincided with so many of my own thoughts on the subject (don't we always adore the writings of people who largely agree with us?).

Summer is a great time to explore and exercise your personal freedom. I still vividly remember the sense of freedom I would get during summer vacation from school. I was suddenly free to do whatever I wanted with an entire day. Sometimes this was scary, sometimes boring, but always life-affirming. I loved that sense of freedom so much that I became determined to always be able to live as if I was on summer vacation from school. And most of my life I've been able to do that. I wish the same for you.

By the way, another way I exercise my personal independence is by having another blog, independent from this one, focused mostly on prosperity, but certainly with a similar philosophical view of life, liberty, love, and the pursuit of happiness. Check it out.