Friday, December 28, 2012



We hear a lot of references to happiness and its synonyms during this time of year, and we are seeing an interesting phenomenon throughout the year and throughout society. Happiness is becoming more relevant. In part this is due to a number of research studies that have shown that people are healthier and live longer and are even more financially successful when they feel happy. 

There was just a study reported on which shows that grumpiness is related in men to a lowering of testosterone levels, so that the term "grumpy old men" is pretty accurate. And grumpy is pretty much the opposite of happy. Twenty years ago, when college students were asked about what their major aspiration was, a large majority said it was to make lots of money. Now, when the same question is asked, the answer is that they want to be happy and make a difference in the world.

More than a few people have asked me how in the world I could have been happy during my  time in prison, how I could smile and write cartoon gags and notes for a humorous prison memoir and future stand-up act in the midst of that depressing environment. I think just asking that question indicates more about the person asking it than me no matter how I answer. It reveals someone who doesn't understand the basic truth about states of mind, moods, and psychological balance and well being. To put it as simply as possible, happiness has nothing to do with one's external reality. It is an inner experience, and as such can transcend even horrible physical environments and situations. We are happy when we choose to be happy no matter what else is going on around us in that outer world. 

Lots of people are struggling with financial anxiety, worried about the debt and deficit and government dysfunction in dealing with the economy. But none of that matters, or has to have anything to do with whether we are happy or unhappy. Unless we choose to make it matter, unless we choose to stay focused outside ourselves on something that may or may not occur. 

If you didn't see or feel or remember at least a dozen things today that made you feel happy, then you are not paying attention to what is really going on, but rather choosing to focus on limited, negative, disappointing, frustrating fantasies about what is going on.

You may not have the same view on this as I do, but I'll guarantee you one thing--if not, my smile as I write this is a lot bigger than yours as you read it.

Check out my prosperity blog at:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Though I am sometimes envious when I read something I wish I had written, even if it's not a literary masterpiece, I mostly just appreciate and share it. This is an unusual post in that I am doing just that, and it's an article or essay from a commercial site, International Living, which I follow because it is focused on Americans moving to wonderful places around the world and provides lots of useful free information. This appeared today and reconfirms my decision to move to Panama at the end of January.

26 Ways to Know You're Living in Paradise...
By John Curran
During the recent Powerball hype, a friend asked me if I won the lottery, would I move somewhere else? Sure I would! I would move anywhere...but only if you can find me a place that has...
  1. Good weather, the kind that doesn’t require a furnace or A/C to cope—just a T-shirt and a sweatshirt.
  2. Beautiful scenery...because life’s too short to live someplace ugly.
  3. Access to plenty of clean water all year round for cooking, cleaning, and drinking—because I tend to do all three year round...
  4. The proper mix of sun and rain so flowers, plants, and trees don’t just grow, but flourish. (I lived in the desert as well as the snow and cold for far too many years.)
  5. Internet access where I can read, watch, or download whatever I want or need.
  6. Decent roads (I’ve traveled in the outback of Kenya...)
  7. Fresh fruits and vegetables available year round—full of flavor, not chemicals— because I tend to eat year round.
  8. Airports, so I can leave when I need to and, more importantly, come back when I want to.
  9. A healthy environment because I don’t want to live in a place where I’ll need the most expensive health care in the world.
  10. Friendly people who view their life as a privilege, not a right—and live accordingly.
  11. A government that minds its I can get on with mine.
  12. Decent public transportation, even in rural areas, because sometimes theburro (donkey) is in the shop.
  13. A teeny-tiny police force because that’s all that’s required.
  14. Peace and quiet.
  15. A news media that doesn’t think the Kardashians are news.
  16. Clean, crisp air so the sky really is blue during the day, and at night, I can see all the stars I remember as a kid.
  17. Good food... because I like to cook and bake.
  18. Good restaurants... because I don’t always like to cook and bake.
  19. Lots of holidays—because, well, why not?
  20. An appalling lack of mosquitos because I’ve lived in Wisconsin.
  21. A low-stress environment. I’m a firm believer that stress causes bridges, buildings, and especially people to fail at their weakest point.
  22. Airports where I can go through security with a full bottle of water and my dignity.
  23. Adequate health care because you just never know, somebody I care about might need it one day.
  24. Low property taxes because I don’t like paying for my house...twice.
  25. A lot of chickens because when you have chickens around, you’re already halfway to a laugh.
  26. People with a "you only go around once" attitude to life. "I wish I had spent more time at work" were never anyone’s dying words.
Now John lives in Ecuador not Panama. And there are a few differences between the two. For one, though still low crime, I think Panama has more than a "teeny-tiny" police force. Also, one thing, and this is much more important to me, is Panama has no earthquakes or volcanoes, both very present in Ecuador. They do share the happy fact that neither country has hurricanes. All in all, we all can use all these items as a checklist as to whether we are really living the best lifestyle we can be living.
I equate lifestyle with prosperity, and you can check out my prosperity blog at:

Monday, December 10, 2012


If mosquitos didn't have those four rows of teeth that allow them to suck out your blood, they would be harmless, just mildly annoying occurrences in life. This is exactly how I view the obstacles, challenges, and setbacks that pop up in my life, as they do in all of our lives from time to time. 

I have been exuberant of late, preparing to move to Panama on February 1st, where I have already met a terrific group of new friends and have a great support system in place for my efforts as that nation's first English-speaking stand-up comedian, as well as continuing as a motivational speaker and workshop facilitator. The ten days I spent there in October convinced me that all the glowing reports I had from my friend Tony Busse about living in that tropical country were being seriously understated. 

But in recent days, I've been dealing with a sore back, probably due to overdoing it in sorting through all my accumulated stuff, lugging some of it out to the recycling bin, deciding what to take, what to give away and what to throw away.  And just minutes ago, my so-far-very-dependable two year old high definition 24 inch computer monitor just up and quit on me. Technical nitwit that I am, I haven't a clue. 

I see people all around me, and even posting on Facebook, allowing even less significant events to cause anxiety, depression, anger, sadness, and general mood damage. Notice I say, "allowing," because we do have a choice when these occur. Perhaps the factor that helps most is that I am on a path I am passionate about, work and an upcoming lifestyle that fill me with excitement and joy. So in the larger scheme of things, little temporary setbacks won't get in my way. If you have not gone for your passion, then even very petty events can throw you for a loop. 

So I am headed for my chiropractor in about an hour, who just happens to be across from In-N-Out Burger, which I feared I might not get a final visit to before I leave February 1st. And I will either stumble upon a way to get my monitor back on, or someone will give me a suggestion that will get it going, or I will just have one less bulky object to take with me to Panama, and will buy a new, maybe even larger once once I get there.  

Oh yes, I am human and I got severely pissed at both back and my monitor...but just for about a minute each. I gritted my teeth and growled in upset and frustration, for exactly a minute, intentionally, forcefully. It feels good, try it the next time something doesn't go your way. I did it in prison every single day, railed and ranted against the terribly dehumanizing unfairness of it all, for one single minute, and then went on to plunge into creative projects and daydreams and meditation and visualization. We all need to remember that we control the balance of things, and all mosquitos can be toothless if that's how we see them.

Check out my prosperity blog, too:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I just came across a great quote from the Dalai Lama:

"Don't try to use what you learn from Buddhism to be a Buddhist; use it to be a better whatever-you-already-are."

This is so profound on so many levels. As an author, motivational speaker, and teacher over many years, it always has been most significant for me when a student uses what I offer to improve, expand, or accelerate his or her alreadyness (my newly coined word of the day). 

There are many who teach others to become almost clones of themselves, as there are institutions that teach participants and devotees to become regimented followers. Many organized religions would be appalled by the Dalai Lama's advice, having as their main focus the idea of worshippers becoming good whatever-the-church-wants-and-expects-you-to-be. One of the spiritual teachers I most admired was Jiddu Krishnamurti, who had some two million "followers" or disciples worldwide as a young man, but disavowed them and disbanded the organization he led to become what he termed a "simple teacher". 

It can be very heady stuff having followers or even fans. When Moneylove first gained major recognition, I was approached by a number of people who wanted to become apprentices or disciples of my prosperity teachings, little Jerry Gillies mini-mes. I discouraged them all. One went on to become one of the leading lights of the prosperity teaching movement with a bestselling book, even appearing in the movie, The Secret, so I evidently was right in turning him down at the time. He found his own way, as we all ultimately must do. 

When I taught meditation and was running the Biofeedback Institute in New York with two partners, I always was careful to teach that meditation is not going off in a corner or a cave and putting all your attention on your breathing or your mantra. That's just the preparation for meditation. A true meditator has learned to absorb those skills into his or her everyday life, so that everything becomes a meditation, so that meditation is an enhancement to what they are already doing, to what-they-already-are.

Check out my prosperity blog too:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I am having fun with this new term I just created, "Wrinkle Thinking". I recently posted a comment on Facebook in which I said, "Thinking outside the box is no longer where it's at. We need to go deep within the box, and be able to then bounce out to a place where the box is no longer even in sight." 

For me, wrinkle thinking is not only staying inside the box, but sealing the box with duct tape, and then burying it under a layer of old ideas and preconceived notions and cultural prejudices and misconceptions. As we saw in the recent election campaign, a lot of people are still stuck in that modality. A lot of books are coming out on how to use some of the new knowledge we are learning about the human brain. Robert Greene's MASTERY is one of the best of these. He refers to what I am now calling wrinkle thinking by saying that if someone is successful early in life (which certainly happens a lot in this digital era), he or she may tend to become more conservative, more interested in protecting what they have rather than being excited about what new they can create. Greene talks about the importance of opening our minds to serendipity. I have long railed against the over-scheduled, overworked aspect of many people's lives that prevent them from being open to surprises and new opportunities.

This is one of my primary reasons for moving to Panama in a little over two months. A lot of serendipity has led me in this direction, but my life has been filled with many transitions and transformations, while also having a consistency in terms of synergy and flowing in a forward direction. Going from being a writer to broadcasting to writing books to doing lectures and workshops to writing and performing stand-up comedy, all seems very organic a process to me. And moving to a place where I will be forced to learn my very first second language, with new energy and many new adventures and lots of room for serendipity, all seems to be part of a smoothing out of those wrinkled thoughts.

The gorgeous Latina women, varied and wonderful food, majestic and sweeping beaches, warm temperatures--all these I consider rewards for my willingness to take new risks, perks I deserve for being willing to start a new life and be open to whatever.


This is my very personal blog, but I also have a lot of fun writing my prosperity blog based on my two million copy bestseller, Moneylove, at:

Friday, November 9, 2012


The phrase appears in a passage in the book, The Stark Munro Letters, by Arthur Conan Doyle, written in 1895 and one of his many novels not featuring Sherlock Holmes. In it, a young doctor talks about his friend and partner who has quite a vivid fantasy life and comes up with some wildly unrealistic schemes. This passage immediately brought to mind the political campaign just ended three days ago. It also comes in the midst of a lot of Republican and conservative recrimination. 

Billionaire donors are complaining that the Romney campaign lied to them about his chances to win, and that Karl Rove--who as George W. Bush's famed "architect" certainly knew the trend and demographics were against a Republican victory for the presidency or the U.S. Senate, but took hundreds of millions of dollars from them under false pretenses. And ordinary voters are lambasting Fox News for skewing the truth in just about everything they said in the final weeks of the campaign. In other words, a huge "Liar, Liar, Pants of Fire!" to almost all Republican pundits and politicians.

Here's the passage as it was written over a hundred years ago:
The future wilt decide which of us is right. The survival of the truest is a constant law, I fancy, though it must be acknowledged that it is very slow in action.
In the spirit of compromise and conciliation, I offer this suggestion. Let all of us of a progressive and/or liberal persuasion, reach out to those we might perceive as being on the other side with understanding and empathy. We should all appreciate how tough it is to be lied to consistently and persistently by institutions you have come to trust just because they appear to be in political agreement with you. This has certainly happened in the past from the other side, though arguably the lies were much more flamboyantly blatant this time around. Or maybe not--a historian has pointed out that during his campaign, our 4th president, James Madison, was accused of pimping out Dolly in exchange for votes.

It's a good time for healing, forgiving and forgetting. Gullibility is not a crime--and if it were, most of us would be under arrest from time to time. 

So, my conservative friends, let me remind you that there are some pundits on your side who had it right, who understood the truth and told it. People like David Brooks, and Joe Scarborough, Kathleen Parker and Peggy Noonan were sometimes called Rinos by the far right prevarication machine, but "truth-tellers" would be more accurate. And Olympia Snow and even young Megan McCain. They may not be as sharp-tongued or occasionally witty as Krauthammer, Hannity, Coulter, et al--but neither did they lead vast numbers of believers into shocked humiliation, or make millions at the expense of the duped.

Check out my other blog on prosperity:

Sunday, October 28, 2012


I've now been back in the Bay Area for a week after my return from my exploratory trip to Panama, in preparation for my move there on February 1st. All of the reasons I cited in my previous post for choosing this move have been dramatically reinforced and expanded. 

A lot of this has to do with the quality of the people I've met, mostly through my good friend and Panama mentor, Tony Busse. I would be willing to bet that no one has ever emigrated to a new country with more of a solid network of influential contacts and potential good friends. The food and beautiful women were way beyond my expectations, and even during the "rainiest month of the year," not a single drop fell on my head during the entire ten days, so that I still have never opened the umbrella I brought. I bought a windproof model over six months ago for the normally yucky San Francisco climate, but it hasn't rained here either for a long time--well maybe a couple of times, but not when I had to be out in it. 

My friend, Barbara Winter, whom I interviewed/dialogued with for the Moneylove Club audio series this month, says, "Figure out where the adventure is and optimize it."  My newest adventure will be later today at the Apple Store in San Francisco when I buy my very first smartphone, an iPhone 4S. It takes a year or two to get a landline in Panama, and I want to immediately start using an app that offers speech recognition Spanish, so I can just say a phrase into it and it will come back with the correct Spanish phrase. I can use it to communicate with non-English speakers, and also be learning the language. But once I get down there, I will enroll in a Spanish class at the University of Panama. 
Yes, I'd say I'm optimizing my adventure big time.
Check out my other blog at

Monday, October 8, 2012


This is a question I'm getting almost every day now that I've announced I am packing and leaving the U.S. on February 1st and moving to Panama. I am about to share my list of reasons, but I think my immediate gut response to the question is, "Why not Panama?"  I've lived the past four years in the San Francisco area, ever since paroling from Folsom State Prison. For three of those years, I was restricted to stay within a fifty mile radius. I've always assumed I would spend the next period of my life somewhere else, and was just awaiting such an opportunity to offer itself.  Thanks to my friend, Tony Busse, who has lived in Panama since 2006, though with frequent returns to his native New York, I now have that option.

Tony has been suggesting I visit and then relocate to Panama for the past several years. He is an innovative and clever entrepreneur and wants to work with me in some areas of personal development. A number of people in the U.S. and other countries have praised my work, suggested they wanted to collaborate, or at the very least, support my efforts. But no one in the U.S. has so far come up with an actual plan or strategy for doing so. Tony has, on a number of occasions.  So my number one reason for deciding to move to Panama is:

1. Tony.

The rest of the list is in no particular order of importance, and I suspect after my return from my first exploratory visit to that nation this week, some of these items will be modified or replaced.

2. The Brain Stimulation of Learning a New Language.
     I have long felt like sort of a dunce for only knowing English. Especially with new evidence that learning and speaking a 2nd language is a tremendous boost to brain function.  Though perhaps not absolutely necessary, I do intend to become articulate in the Spanish language.

3. Climate.
    Let's face it, I am a warm weather person. Even Southern California was a bit chilly for me when I arrived directly from ten years in Florida. Northern CA? Forgetaboutit!  In Panama City, the annual average temperature is about 82 degrees. It also is out of the hurricane belt, has no active volcanoes, few earthquakes, and no killer heatwaves.

4. Cost of Living.
    A lot less, sometimes 40% to 50% less. Taxis are $1.50 to anywhere in Panama City, you can have a very lovely dinner for two for less than $20, and a luxury three bedroom apartment in a high rise building with a view of the Panama Canal is $1800 a month. For a lot less, you can find a nice single bedroom place.

5. Lots of Americans.
      There are tens of thousands of English-speaking expats in Panama, and they are quite often among the most colorful and adventurous people one can find, as they took this leap of faith into a whole new life in a whole new place. I also think I have a lot to share with this group, in terms of my stand-up comedy and prosperity concepts.

6. Prosperity Conscious Energy.
     With the long-awaited final passage of the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement last October, a lot of U.S. entrepreneurship has poured into Panama, and there are lots of new opportunities for Panamanians as well as expats. This means there will be a tremendous need for consulting services, motivational and sales seminars, time management information, etc.  I don't know how this may specifically affect me, but I suspect some surprises may be in store--fun and most profitable surprises.

7. Access to Fastest Growing Economies.
    Placed where it is, a stone's throw from Colombia, which is also enjoying a new U.S. trade agreement, and with easy access to the rest of Latin America, including the world's most vibrant economy in Brazil, it feels like a good time and place to bring some of my prosperity teaching to a whole new market. I will be meeting with some people who are interested in doing this, as well as coming out with a Spanish translation of Moneylove.

8. Shiny New Things
    In my talks and writings recently, I have added this as a concept of what we all need and desire in our lives to keep our minds and hearts engaged. For me, a whole new country to live and work and play in is the ultimate shiny new thing.

9. Perfect Timing.
    I don't think it is ever a good idea to make a major shift in one's life, or major decisions when one is immersed in difficulty or emotional turmoil or pain. I am having a delightful time savoring San Francisco and all it offers, and getting a lot of creative efforts going around the world, and so it is, for me, a perfect time to follow through on my longtime intention to leave California.

10. Latina Women.
    Yes, I know about the gorgeous women of Panama, including many Sofia Vergara-like Colombian women who have emigrated to Panama. Tony and others have told me how gorgeous young Latinas love older American men, even if they are of modest means. My first reaction was that I am not really interested in women half my age or even younger. But I realize that is limited poverty thinking, so I am now open to seeing what will actually happen once I'm there. But this really isn't a high priority as I already have a couple of gorgeous women who are looking forward to coming down to visit me once I am settled in my new home.  
So that's it, the reasons that immediately come to mind for moving to Panama. Will I love it and want to stay there forever or a very long time?  I have no idea, but it's about keeping up the momentum, keeping up the life force with new options and adventures.

Check out my prosperity blog at:

Friday, September 28, 2012


I have been thinking about the subject of TIME recently. A lot. For one thing, I am about to interview and discuss this subject with a very interesting former New Yorker who now lives in England, Martin Boroson, author of The One Moment Meditation. He has thought a lot about TIME and our relationship to it, as I have since I recorded a segment of my first Moneylove tape album thirty years ago and called that segment, Take Your Time!  What I meant by that title, which I was also considering using for a book, was that we need to take charge of our time, that we needed to own our time instead of merely managing it.

I just listened to that 21 minute audio segment for the first time in years, and find that Martin Boroson and I agree that we can be much more in charge of this human construct known as TIME. 

And here's where I may offend or upset some of my dog-owning, dog-loving friends. Cats are great role models in the quest to master time. Dogs are time wastrels. I know it is hard for fans of either species to be objective, but consider this:

A cat knows exactly how much time it wants to spend in almost every activity, while a dog doesn't seem to have a clue. Cats choose to eat, sleep, play, sleep some more, eat some more, play some more. When a cat eats or gets some affectionate scratching from its owner (a dubious title to say the least), it has a point where its appetite for either is satisfied and it will walk away and go on to the next activity. A dog will keep eating until it gets sick or until the food runs out. A dog will lie there and let you rub its belly until you rub it raw. The concept of "enough" doesn't exist for dogs, nor does the concept, "It's time for something else." 

A dog is perpetually restless, while a cat is infinitely patient. When you return home to a cat after an absence of several hours, it might come up to give you a look of disdain, as if to say, "You fool, you missed seeing all the interesting and adorable things I was doing while you were gone."  A dog will rush over in frenetic delight, as if to say, "Oh master, I thought you were never coming home, I was bored out of my skull without you. I want you to pet me, I want you to feed me, I want to go out for a walk!" Let's face it, dogs are high maintenance compared to cats. 

Yes dogs can be great companions, and are more loyal than cats, even if their owners ignore or abuse them. Dogs do not have discriminating taste. If a dog loves you, no one is surprised, especially if you feed it. If a cat loves you, it feels like more of an honor, as if you earned something.  Oh, cats can be warm and affectionate--as long as it doesn't take too much time away from more interesting activities. 

Don't forget to check out my other blog, on prosperity.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


It isn't only babies, puppies and kittens who like shiny new things. We all do all our lives. There are often jokes made about men and women and their new toys obtained during a mid-life crisis. Men going out and buying a new sports car, women buying new breasts.

But beyond the humor, there is something serious going on here, and as I look back on those things that keep me going, keep me creatively productive, keep me growing and changing with zest and vitality--and keep friends and strangers amazed at how alive and youthful and adventurous I am in my so-called senior years--I realize that a lot of it has to do with my intention and commitment to keep my life filled with shiny new things.

In 2012, these include my first stand-up comedy performance at San Francisco's famed Purple Onion, after a course at San Francisco Comedy College; and my upcoming visit to Panama next month, which is really an advance scouting expedition preparatory to my relocating to that Central American nation early next year. And my first prosperity workshop in over twenty years later this month at Unity San Francisco, which will serve as a model for a series I will be presenting around the world. 

What keeps my consciousness filled with joy and passion and robust expectations is the fact I keep my mind and my life filled with shiny new things. This is so much easier to do than at any time in human history. We have the Internet now, that provides us with instant access to every new thing happening on the entire planet. 

In fact, if anything, we have to be careful not to become inundated with these shiny new things. Sometimes I find myself beating them off with a stick, metaphorically speaking. Personal editorial discretion is more necessary than ever.  

In the past 48 hours, I have added several of these shiny new things that keep me young and excited about life. In my bi-monthly trip to Trader Joe's amazing technicolor world of foodstuffs largely unobtainable anywhere else, as always, I decided to explore some new items, which I tasted and tested the very day I got them. And now I have two new food addictions, dark-chocolate covered Powerberries and Thai Lime Chili Cashews. I also made the online acquaintance of a fan of my Moneylove book and tapes overseas, and we've had some fun email exchanges in the past few days, which could lead to some collaboration on future projects. 

Here's the point. If we have the intention to keep a steady flow of newness that we embrace flowing into our lives, we maintain a certain level of excitement and anticipation that I believe generates hormonal and neurological regeneration. On the other hand, as pleasant as it may be, if we only stick to paths and experiences already known so as to maintain a high comfort level, we risk the danger of falling by the wayside in terms of youthful aliveness and a productive, creative mind. It is up to you how up you want you to be and feel.

Something shiny and new worth exploring, if you haven't done so yet, is my other blog, focused on prosperity in all its glory.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Okay, I admit it. When it comes to politics, I am somewhat naive. I expect even politicians running for the highest office in the land to stick to facts and the truth, not make it up as they go along. When I was a child, just getting interested in politics, I remember Adlai Stevenson and Dwight D. Eisenhower. They had some very strong opposing views, but both had the respect of Americans as decent, honest men who told the truth--even when it wasn't politically convenient. Sixty years later, what a difference.

It isn't so much that they lied a lot at this week's Republican National Convention, but rather that they did it with big smiles on their faces, and with lies that could easily be discovered. It used to be that lying and other indiscretions--like taking money to do things the person giving you the money wants you to do--were frowned upon in American political life. Now they seem to be celebrated.

When the candidate for the second highest office, Paul Ryan, looks America straight in the eye and tells a huge whopper about President Obama promising a GM plant in Ryan's hometown that it would be around for a hundred years, only to have it close the following year, it sounds like a fair-minded counter-argument to Obama's taking credit for saving the auto industry. But even the most basic fact-checking turns up the information that the plant was closed while George W. Bush was still president, so Obama could never have made such a promise. The decision was made, the workers let go, before he was even sworn in. 

How could Paul Ryan, whose very reputation is built on the idea that he tells the hard truth and is a detail guy, make this mistake? The only conclusion is that it is not a mistake at all, but a deliberate effort to convince the American electorate of something that isn't true. In a deeply condescending way, he has to think most of us are idiots who won't even check out what he is saying in this era of instant fact-checking via Google and such organizations as Politifact and  Or maybe he just thinks we don't care. Some have suggested that conservatives hate Obama so much that they will vote for anyone who opposes him no matter what their qualifications or level of integrity. 

I thought Mitt Romney might elevate his discourse, but then he chose Clint Eastwood to take up a quarter of the prime-time hour he got to introduce himself to the American people. 

However, I remain a cockeyed optimist. I believe we may hear truth told at the Democratic convention in Charlotte. So I may still be naive, though also a realist--so I won't be betting on it.

Check out my  prosperity blog at:

Monday, August 20, 2012


Gone but certainly not forgotten by those of us who remember her raspy guffaw and hilarious one-liners. Phyllis Diller deservedly lived a long life and died at ninety-five. She was the first mainstream female comic to make it big on TV and in movies, often co-starring with Bob Hope, and headlining in nightclubs for decades. A sample of her work from the 1970s:

Phyllis focused a lot of her comedy on her fictional husband, Fang, and so did I when writing gags for her back in the early 1970s. She bought a lot of gags from a lot of writers. She paid $100 for a page of ten gags, whether she used them all or not. I only wrote a few pages for her before moving on to writing books.

I met her again when she was a panelist on a Chuck Barris-produced precursor to The View called, Leave It To The Women, hosted by Stephanie Edwards, and with one of the other panelists being actress Bess Armstrong. I was there to promote my 1981 book, Psychological Immortality, and Phyllis was fascinated by my assertion that our attitude about aging can impact our lifespan. I autographed a copy to her, and would like to think she read it and it contributed to her own long and vital life. I had interviewed my friend and mentor Norman Cousins for that book, and Phyllis told me she was also a friend of Norman's, often meeting him for lunch. She was brilliant and very well-read, and far from a silly woman despite her raucous material.

If you watch Phyllis perform and then watch Joan Rivers, you can see why she was so proud of Joan as "my protégé." 

The only joke I remember writing for Phyllis, and I'm not even sure she ever used it, though she paid me $100 for it and nine others on a single page, was:

"You know old age is creeping up on you when you miss a lunch date because you're 'out to lunch.'"

Alas, I can't recall any of my "Fang" gags. But I remember Phyllis Diller herself very well indeed--smart, sassy, funny, and a genuine class act.


Check out my other blog on prosperity:

Monday, August 6, 2012


I know shouting out our own acknowledgements to ourselves goes against the grain for many people. But it is also true that no one else knows you as well as you know yourself, and therefore no one else can truly assess how great you are. 

In my 12 years in prison, I became more and more self-appreciative. Primarily it was my brain and how it worked, how my creative mind kept me out of the horrible external environment I found myself in, so that I could go inside my own head and do the work I needed and excelled at doing. And please understand this, it wasn't that I thought I was greater or better at this self-awareness than anyone else, in or out of prison. It's simply that I had the time and therefore the focused energy to put my attention into that inner work. More time with a lot less distraction than most other people.

Throughout my life, I have found my subconscious mind is my strongest ally in all things. Admittedly, I forgot this for a few years, which is why I ended up in prison. Fortunately, I came to my senses--mostly my sense of myself as a creative being capable of manifesting my own reality, and thus directly impacting the world and people around me. I talk in Moneylove about one driving force behind much human endeavor is the desire to leave a thumbprint on the world. But before any of us accomplishes this, we must leave a thumbprint on ourselves.

In addition to my own thoughts on success, prosperity, and living life well which provide the bulk of the material on my monthly audios, I have also interviewed some great teachers and mentors on these subjects. Recently, these interviewees have all been women, who are now in the forefront of the worldwide entrepreneurial spirit. When I was in prison, one of the things that kept me motivated and sane was to have imaginary conversations inside my head with successful people. These were dialogues, in which I saw myself as equal to anyone I talked to, no matter how much richer or more famous they were, no matter that I was in prison and they were not. 

These imaginary dialogues allowed me to start out at a higher level of communication when I talk to other prosperity teachers out here in the non-imaginary reality of my world. 


Check out the prosperity truths on my other blog:

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I've been a fan of the writings of Anna Quindlen for a number of years. I felt a sort of connection as we were both born in Philadelphia. I also admire tremendously those rare writers who are brilliant both in fiction and nonfiction. Gore Vidal, whom we just lost, was one of those, as is another of my favorites, Anne Lamott.

I have talked and written about my strong belief that we have much to learn from novelists, as they may be the most keen observers of the human experience. I have known people who never read fiction, but consider themselves well-read. Personally, I think this is impossible and an example of self delusion. 

What brought Anna Quindlen to mind was a quote of hers that writer Barbara Winter used in a blog post. I just interviewed Barbara for one of the prosperity audios I send out to Moneylove Club subscribers each month. She is the author of Making A Living Without a Job, and we think alike in many areas. The Anna Quindlen quote she used was:

All of us want to do well. But if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.
How's that for a mission statement?


Check out my other blog on prosperity:

Saturday, July 21, 2012


This post is certain to piss some people off, but since those who believe in conspiracy theories are usually pissed off anyway, I don't suppose it matters.

It is amazing to me that in this high tech, instant communication world we now inhabit, millions of undereducated, ignorant, and naive individuals believe in far-fetched conspiracy theories and plots. The massacre at the Batman screening in Aurora, Colorado is just the latest to provide fodder for these lizard-brained, monkey mind folks (Am I being offensive enough?).  

What is most shocking is that the lone gunman involved, by all accounts, seemed a rational human being. But just as shocking are the theories being proposed and promoted by seemingly rational bloggers and others. That the U.S. government is behind it all, that the FBI has been enlisted to cause this mass shooting to influence the coming UN debate on small arms control. Or that it is part of the non-American President Obama's plan to take all guns away from private citizens before installing sharia law nationwide. 

One of my comments that really upset the conspiracy aficionados was my suggestion that the paranoia exhibited by the "Washington is going to take away my 2nd Amendment right to bear assault rifles." crowd should disqualify those folks from being able to buy guns just on mental stability grounds.

Here's my difficulty accepting almost all conspiracy theories, as a former journalist and investigative reporter, and especially in today's 24/7 news cycle. It has been my experience that once a secret is shared by more than one person, it is almost impossible for it to remain a secret. JFK was not killed by Lee Harvey Oswald alone? Do you realize how many people would have had to keep that secret now for almost fifty years? To resist selling their story for potentially millions of dollars? Even cults like Scientology don't enjoy that kind of 100% loyalty. It isn't that I don't believe conspiracies are possible, just unsustainable because of human nature. 

Then there's the politics of it all. Do you really believe all FBI agents are Democrats (or Republicans or even Independents)? So if there was a plot carried out by the FBI under orders from the current Administration, surely one Republican agent would leak the true facts. And surely the NRA, with its many millions it uses to wage anti-gun control campaigns, would pay millions to any individual who could provide proof that this was all a government plot aimed at eliminating private gun ownership. 

But the attraction of these harebrained theories will persist, simply because it is hard to convince those holding them of their silliness--even hard facts get lumped in as part of the whole evil plot. I suspect that people who today believe in many of the most delusional conspiracy theories were absolutely convinced monsters lived under their childhood beds.

As to guns, I believe they should all be destroyed and we should return to a more organic, natural way to settle disputes and threats. Bring back clubs and spears and slingshots. If they were good enough for biblical times, they are good enough for me!

Check out my prosperity blog at:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


When I was sitting in my prison cell, I often thought I should come up with a tougher first name than Jerry. But I didn't want a nickname so tough that people would want to take me on, like Fist, or Brute, or Killer. In the end, I kept my own name. I haven't used the first name on my birth certificate, Gerald, in a long, long time. 

My driver's license was always Jerry, as was my passport. But after 9/11, the rules changed, and when I sought a California identity card at the DMV after my parole, they insisted my name match my birth certificate, so it and now my CA driver's license and my new passport all say Gerald. I don't think that would have done quite as well for me at Folsom as Jerry did.

People are more accepting of unusual names now, ethnic names and such, than they were just a few decades ago. Look at the names, for instance, usually provided by agents or the big studios, for some of the most glamorous movie stars. Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe. Now we have Renée Zellwegger and Angelina Jolie. 

In my neighborhood in South Philadelphia, much was made of the match between a Jewish girl and Italian boy who got married and thus gave her the unforgettable name of Yetta Benadetta. And there was Carol Crumb, whom I dated when I worked at a radio station and lived in Dover, Delaware. She was a lovely blonde, smart and sweet, but I have to confess than whenever I introduced her to friends or family, I mumbled her last name out of embarrassment. Ironically, it became famous a few years later when her strange and talented brother, Robert, became the world renown cartoonist, R. Crumb.

As part of the shift toward self-identification, more and more people have decided to change their names since the 1970s. Two former relationship partners I am still close to, Bonnie and Barbara, now are known as Rupa and Maggie.

Old friends like Judy and Rachel and Jane now have daughters named Ashley, Courtney, and Taylor. While I'm pretty sure I'll be sticking with Jerry, there is one thing I hope is true--that people will think my name is the most ordinary thing about me.

A blog by any other name on the subject of prosperity:

Friday, July 6, 2012


A lot of people seem to want to stop the one immutable force of life--change. When I say, "Keep the change...," I mean stop avoiding, denying and trying to do away with change in your life. Often we first hear those horrible words from our parents, "Settle down," which is usually accompanied by, "and grow up," as if adulthood means a time when we settle into our lives, make our final choices, and learn to live with them. Thank you, but I'd rather keep the change, keep it coming, keep having as something to embrace and look forward to. 

Look back on your life, and you might very well find that some of your happiest times were filled with all sorts of changes--new places, new adventures, new people, new opportunities, discovering new skills and talents you possess. Maturing as a human being doesn't mean getting rid of change, but rather of learning how to use it well, how to take advantage of all the changes that keep occurring for all of us, even when we try to eliminate or slow them down.

One big secret of success is learning to maintain a calm sense of stability and strength in the midst of change. In my own life, I am excited about what could be the biggest series of changes in my life. I am starting my new career as a stand-up comedian and I am seriously considering exploring living in another country. I may be able to do both in Panama, and will be visiting there in the Fall to explore these possibilities.  The fact that I have a good friend there who has many contacts and connections, especially with the English-speaking ex-pat community will make it easier. And the Internet helps a lot in terms of me physically leaving without breaking my connections with many of the people I care most about. 

For decades, one of my favorite affirmations has been:


Might I suggest you try this on for size?  I strongly believe that our individual perspective and position on change dictates a lot of what happens to us in life.  And if you do accept and welcome change, keep it only as long as it keeps working for you.

Check out my blog on prosperity.

Friday, June 22, 2012


A funny thing happened to me on the way to creativity. As part of my current process in exploring a possible new direction for myself, by attending classes at the San Francisco Comedy College and performing stand-up at the famed Purple Onion club, I have been watching and listening to a lot of comedy. 

Many comedians think outside the box and have perceptions and perspectives on the world they observe that are different from the conventional view most people have. And this can change the way the rest of us perceive and create. One example of this happened for me over twenty years ago when I saw Robin Williams do a bit in which he made fun of men who said they knew exactly what women went through during pregnancy. He said, "That's just not true unless you are a man who shoved an umbrella up your ass and then opened it."  Funny, yes, but it also gave me a whole new awareness of the level of pain women endure and what seems to be their superior ability to endure it.

We know from the work pioneered by my friend and mentor, the late Norman Cousins, that laughter releases those powerful brain chemicals known as endorphins, and that this can have a powerful effect on our immune system. My friend, author Allen Klein, who calls himself The Jollytologist, has a number of books on the healing power of humor, and how it can reduce stress in life and in the workplace. 

I have dozens of comedy performances lined up in my streaming Netflix queue, so I can tap into a comedy bombardment, or just a short burst anytime I want. This includes about a dozen George Carlin specials, each one containing many of his original thoughts on life and the way things work. He obviously spent a lot of time in deep thought and introspection, and we can benefit from the results.  You can Google Carlin or any other comedian, and not only get videos of their work, but find that when these YouTube videos appear, you usually get a large choice of other comedy performances in the righthand margin. 

And if you want to kickstart your own creative energy, one strategy I suggest is to try to come up with a funny line or gag of your own that addresses the subject. In the beginning comedy classes at SF Comedy College, instructor Kurtis Matthews suggests students start by exploring something that is not working or upsetting them currently. I would suggest the same approach can be useful in exploring a challenge for which you are seeking a solution. Funny thoughts are still thoughts, and sometimes produce the exact mental booster shot we need.

Check out my prosperity blog at:

Thursday, June 7, 2012


The genius is dead, but long live the genius in the impact his imagination had. Two days ago, we lost Ray Bradbury at the age of 91. Yes, I am a bit sad at the passing of my mentor and friend (perhaps it would be more accurate to call him an acquaintance, as we only chatted or visited intermittently over the past thirty years). We first met when I was a student at the famous Santa Barbara Writers Conference. The following year, based on the success of my book, Moneylove, I was invited to join the faculty and teach a class on nonfiction. I also ran the midnight-to-whenever Pirate Workshop. This was a session where writers of all levels of experience and success met to read portions of their works-in-progress and get feedback. Ray was the permanent opening night keynote speaker. As in his books and short stories, his talks were always mind-challenging and totally entertaining.

I interviewed him for my 1981 book, Psychological Immortality, and we began a correspondence. I was fascinated when he told me of his Mr. Electrico experience and he promised to send me a copy so I could refer to it in my writings and seminars. When it didn't arrive right away, I presumed he had forgotten the promise, but never reminded him. So imagine my surprise when it arrived about six months later, with a scribbled note on the  photocopied typed nine page manuscript. His note said, "Dear Jerry, I promised you this many months ago. I hope  you can still use it. Best, Ray."  The somewhat tattered pages have remained one of my most prized possessions for thirty years. In the hours since his death, I've been surprised at the attention this relatively unknown tale has gotten, along with several articles on the apparent mystery of whether there really was a Mr. Electrico. But real or not, it's a great story of the magic of inspiration, which Ray Bradbury provided so many of us.!

I recently did some writing about Albert Einstein, as well as featuring him on my latest audio for the Moneylove Club. I noted that though Einstein was always modest about his intellect, calling his great achievements a result of his patience and persistence in looking for solutions, he really was a genius. Scientists studying his brain years after he died in 1955, discovered it was much larger than usual, and even had some physiological differences from the brains of most of us, allowing him to make some connections more easily than normal human beings. I suspect the same might be true of Ray Bradbury. 

At one point, chatting with him while he was approaching 80, he told me he still wrote one short story a week, and was working on some ideas with the Disney theme park people and on a project with the Jacques Cousteau Society, as well as various movie and TV projects, and his beloved visits to high schools to talk to students. Yes, I'm a bit sad, but also very envious. What a life! What a long and creative career, and he seemed to love every minute of it. One of his quirks was that he never had lunch with anyone, thinking it was usually a waste of precious time. I therefore considered it a unique honor that we once shared some street food while walking around his LA neighborhood. I will continue to honor his memory by striving to imitate his creative energy, and never bemoaning the fact that to do so is probably impossible.

More of what I learned from Ray Bradbury on my other blog:

Monday, May 28, 2012


"I am content in my later years. I have kept my good humor and take neither myself nor the next person seriously."

The above quote is by Albert Einstein, the Nobel Laureate and most famous genius of the 20th Century. One of his most notable charms was never taking himself seriously, and that may be one of the greatest lessons he can teach us.

I recently immersed myself in the life and wisdom of Einstein in preparation for one of my Moneylove Club audios. I used 71 of his hundreds of quotes and commented and added on my own thoughts to many of them--a bit arrogant on my part, but my way of paying homage to the master. I think we have a lot more to gain and absorb and learn from many of the short quotes that most impress us. We can use them as triggers for our own imagination, our own pondering. The quote about not taking things or people too seriously is an important reminder to me and perhaps to you, too. Especially in these times filled with dreary predictions, depressing news, and a decline in general hopefulness. 

Einstein was not perfect, he was sometimes wrong, and he was extremely modest. He downplayed his own genius, saying he was just an ordinary man who had an extra dose of curiosity and patience that allowed him to persist until he found the answer to whatever problem he was confronting. In this assessment, if he ever really believed it, he was dramatically wrong. When a number of scientists examined his brain they found that it was much larger than normal and contained some anomalies in the actual brain structure that probably allowed him to make faster connections than almost everyone else.
The word genius is bandied about a lot and pretty lightly at that, but in Albert Einstein's case, it was provably true. 

Which is why his thoughts and ideas on so many varied subjects are worth examining and exploring even almost sixty years after his death. You've probably seen a few of his most popular quotes on posters or teeshirts, but you most likely have not seen them all. Give yourself a gift and look them up.  I am constantly finding new favorites, and I'll close with one of my newly discovered ones:

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.”


Check out my prosperity blog for information on The Moneylove Club and a free
download of the 39 page Moneylove Manifesto.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


There are many connections between funny and sex. For one thing, it has often been said that laughing is similar to orgasm, and may even lead to release in the brain of the same hormones. And, of course, with all the taboos we have about sex, it is the most popular subject for humor--in stand-up, cartoons, and romantic comedies. 

While most people agree that sex is at times very funny, not everyone feels that the opposite is true--that funny can be sexy. But in countless surveys, women at least declare that a sense of humor is one of their main criteria in being attracted to a man, and someone that can make them laugh is more desirable than a more serious individual.  

In my own experience, sex and humor seem to go together quite well. One of my first girlfriends was much more sexually experienced than I was. This wasn't hard to accomplish as I had hardly any experience at all. But I had hopes and dreams, which is why, at the age of 16, working after school at a local pharmacy, I bought a gross of condoms from the Trojan salesman who restocked our shelves once a month. This made me very popular in high school, as the "go to" guy for rubbers--and fellow students, male and female, partook of my services, which I never charged for. By the time I was in my early twenties, still a late-blooming virgin, I had one of the original 36 boxes left. And made a date with a very sexy co-worker at the radio station. She showed up at the door in a filmy negligee, scaring the hell out of me. I had brought my box with me. 

After some heavy kissing and mild petting, she grabbed my hand to lead me into the bedroom. I tore at the cellophane covering the box, allowing air in for the first time since my original purchase almost eight years earlier. And the condums crumbled into tiny pieces and dust. It could have been a horrible moment, leading to a much longer delay in my sexual awakening. But somehow we both started laughing there on her bed, laughing hysterically for at least a half an hour. Then she sent me to the all-night drugstore a few blocks away, and I wasn't even embarrassed to buy a new box of Trojans from the female pharmacist. 

This led to one of the most erotically satisfying relationships I've ever had, and I give a lot of the credit to it starting off with a severe set of the giggles.

Check out my Prosperity blog at: