Friday, February 24, 2012


As Republican candidates focus a lot their attention on such longtime highly resolved issues (at least for a majority of Americans) as contraception and gay marriage, I almost expect their next subject used to avoid coming up with any real solutions for the economy will be a heated discussion of whether the Earth is flat rather than round. After all, this "roundness theory" can be coming from the same pseudo-scientists who claim global warming and evolution really exist.

As far as I am concerned, here in California, Mitt Romney shouldn't even be eligible as a candidate, thanks to his church's major financial support of the bigoted Prop. 8, just overturned by a federal court in this state. A lot of thinking Mormons reject this official church position on gay marriage, but Mitt not only supports it, but is a leader in the church itself. And just as I would question the ability to truly separate church and state of a Catholic priest, Jewish rabbi, Muslim Imam, I don't think the highest secular office in the land belongs in the hands of a Mormon bishop, even someone no longer holding that title. The main problem the Mormons seem to have with gay marriage is that it impinges on their fairy tale scenario about a man and women being united for all eternity in "celestial marriage" on their own planet.

My own concerns about gay marriage revolved around the Taoist concept of Yin-Yang, the way in which male and female energies interact, which are important underpinnings in the Eastern view of medicine and sexuality. I wondered if gay couples were sacrificing the benefits of harmony and health provided by balancing the yin and the yang. However, on further study, I realized this was an oversimplified Western view of yin yang, that it wasn't necessarily about actual men and women coming together, but about the polar opposite energies, which are often just as much a part of gay relationships as heterosexual ones.
In regard to this, I like what poet/philosopher Alan Watts had to say about the yin-yang ideogram we are all so familiar with:
They indicate the sunny and shady sides of a hill, and they are associated with the masculine and the feminine, the firm and the yielding, the strong and the weak, the light and the dark, the rising and the falling, heaven and earth... (Alan Watts, Tao: The Watercourse Way, Pantheon Books, 1975, p. 21).

So it is more about being opposite but complementary than it is about gender, and just as many man-woman relationships have unbalanced yin yang, gay relationships can have balanced ones. ("Whew, now I can relax," he said ironically when he discovered all this).

More irony ensues when the same political types who rail against government having too much of a say in our lives, insist on having too much of a say in our relationships and bedroom behavior.

Thank goodness (or God, if you prefer) we still have men and women of good will and good sense. Otherwise we might see Jews and Muslims mount a campaign against the Jack in the Box commercial showing a young man marrying bacon. Though I do wonder how they got away with the closing line of the wedding ceremony in that ad, "You may now eat the bride."

Another one of my multiple personalities writes a completely different blog on prosperity.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


In a post on my other blog, I just created a new election campaign game to have some fun and profit with the overwhelming political information bombardment we will be receiving over the next months.

Now, to celebrate Valentine's Day, I want to offer a variation I call the Romantic Election Game. This version involves watching or listening to or reading about political goings on with a loved one. Since it will be hard to completely avoid all the political rhetoric, attack ads, and over-opinionated partisan punditry, we may as well make the most of it.

The rules are simple, and feel free to make up your own rewards and modify my suggestions to your liking.

1, Every time a candidate is critical of another candidate, the first one to notice it claims and collects one kiss and one hug from the other.

2. Every time a candidate exaggerates something or tells an outright lie, the first to notice it collects an intimate caress from the other.

3. Every time a candidate says something really stupid or crazy and irrational, the one to notice it first gets 15 minutes of total loving pleasure at the hands of the other.

And one extra step in this version:

4. Every time a candidate says something optimistic, hopeful, uplifting, or inspiring, both of you grab each other and create an romantic alternative to politics, with a 24 hour moratorium on reading, watching, or listening to anything about Campaign 2012.

You'll know if you're doing it right if you have a strong urge in coming months to shout out, "Thank you Barack, Mitt, Rick, Ron, Newt!"

Friday, February 10, 2012


Let me start out by saying that I am not suggesting that the Amazon Kindle is the only or even the best choice out there--but it does happen to be the one I bought since I already was buying most of my books from Amazon, and the new basic unit at $79 with free shipping was pretty irresistable. It is also, so far as I know, the lightest model at just 6 ounces.

I have resisted getting an e-reader as I am a longtime lover of books, paperback and hardcover books, books you can hold and look at gathered on your shelves. I derive a tremendous sense of comfort being surrounded by books--and so far, nothing like that happens with my Kindle. I suspect, however, because of advantages both forms and formats have, that hard copy books and electronic reading devices will co-exist for many years to come.

As I have chosen to focus on writing and producing my future books and blogs and Moneylove Club audio series rather than on marketing and making money, I have been on a limited budget since my release from 12 years of incarceration in 2008. Despite this, my book budget was averaging about $50 a month. In the ninety days since I bought my Kindle, I have spent exactly $1. for an e-book, as that was one out of a selection of 100 which new Kindle owners were allowed to choose from Amazon. Ironically, it is the only book I have not finished on Kindle, as it just wasn't very well written.

Not only are most books in the public domain, like those by Jane Austin, Charles Dickens, and Arthur Conan Doyle, available free, but Amazon also has at least 100 mysteries that are free to download immediately to the Kindle. I now have 180 books stored, nowhere near the 1400 book capacity of my model.

I am a mystery novel buff. In prison, I read almost exactly 1000 books in my 12 years. Now, with all that I do on my computer, I mostly read mysteries for recreation while riding the BART train back and forth between my home in San Bruno and San Francisco. Many of the mysteries Amazon features free are the first in multiple book series. The company obviously figures that once hooked on an author, customers will then be willing to buy future volumes at up to $9.99, but with so many books to choose from and now only reading about one mystery per week, I am not tempted to play their game.

In addition, you can borrow e-books from your local library. I do this with my library cards from both San Bruno and San Francisco. The county library lets you keep the book for two weeks, when it magically disappears--while San Francisco has a three week limit.
With so many choices, I don't know how some new restrictions may apply, but if you are considering an e-reader, you should probably be aware that Penguin and other major publishers are starting to cut back on their sales of e-books to libraries, fearing this eats into their retail sales (in my case, they are right).

On several occasions in my life, I have had the emotionally jarring experience of losing a large collection of books. Most recently, this was several thousand volumes when I went to prison--including at least 100 books signed by the authors, many of these quoting me or endorsing Moneylove. Thanks to the Internet, many of these are replaceable, but there is an added measure of security knowing that I can put a large portion of my personal library in my pocket now. I don't have to worry about packing up many cartons when I move. In a device smaller than a paperback book, that easily fits in my pants or jacket pocket, I can travel with hundreds of books, all right at my fingertips.

With the new electronic ink technology, the Kindle reading experience almost exactly duplicates the paper version. In prison, books are at a premium. Sadistic guards often confiscate them, and each inmate is only allowed ten at a time (a rule I consistently broke). What a difference a Kindle would have made, though I'm sure it won't be allowed for the foreseeable future, as video games and computers are also banned.

The main reason I bought my Kindle is that I'm exploring publishing several of my early books in this format, including Moneylove. I plan to have the prison memoir I am now writing come out as a actual book, though probably with a Kindle edition available. I expected to have a better sense of what this new phenomenon was all about as an owner. I did not know I would fall in love with my Kindle, and all the freedom it offers. And as long as it is viewed as a bonus rather than a threat, I can't imagine any true book lover not forming a similar attachment.

Check out my prosperity blog at

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


When you have billionaires like Donald Trump, the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson and almost billionaires like Mitt Romney complaining about Barack Obama's "class warfare" approach to politics, it is indicative of a new cultural and sociological transformation in American society. Though there has always been conflict and confrontation between the very wealthy and the very poor, for the first time we are seeing the ignoble image of the nobility whining: "Poor me, they want to take a small part of my self-made or inherited fortune and redistribute it to people who don't deserve it."

Some extremely wealthy Americans, a small proportion of the total we can hope, are obviously feeling threatened by the increasing public awareness that the government and business establishment is stacked against the average human being pursuing the American Dream. Sheldon Adelson, for all I know, is an honorable and decent hard-working entrepreneur who loves his family and is generous to his employees. But there is something discomforting and, dare I say it, UnAmerican, about one rich man being in a position to possibly buy the presidency by being the sole funder of Newt Gingrich's campaign Super Pac--the man who had more than Newt to do with his big South Carolina victory.

Even Republicans are decrying the Citizens United decision that allowed for the Super Pacs of today, perhaps the ultimate bombardment in whatever class warfare is happening. Not only are billionaires under fire, but the growing wealth disparity in the U.S. has led to their having a much larger and visible say in our affairs. Even the normally unassuming Warren Buffet is now the main poster boy for a fairer tax policy--at least the Democratic version. Did we really need to wait for Buffet to point out to us how unfair the system is?

There is nothing more essential to the American spirit than its entrepreneurial "can do" nature. The main theme of my Moneylove philosophy over the past thirty years has been that every one of us can be a lot richer than we think, that this is a land of unlimited possibility and unfettered human endeavor. But limits and fetters have increased. The definition of "fetter" is a chain or shackle for the feet, and our economy is sort of stumbling along as if its feet were chained and cuffed. Some politicians and business leaders claim we are being fettered by oppressive regulations, like the ones designed to protect the environment. "Let us loose of these chains," they proclaim, "and we will create more jobs and be more responsible citizens without government intervention for the first time in our long history." The problem is, most of us don't trust them to keep their word, as we likewise don't trust government.

Mitt Romney, who could become the next president, though I'd be willing to bet against him, says it's all about envy. The Americans audacious enough to want to tax the rich at a slightly higher rate, still way below the level under Ronald Reagan, begrudge Romney his 250 million dollars, multiple mansions, private jets, and opulent lifestyle, according to his view of things. I don't believe that's true. I think most of us still admire innovators and dreamers who become very rich as aspirational role models. This is certainly true of the late Steve Jobs. But the difference between Jobs and Romney is that Jobs was driven by his passion to change the world by giving us devices that would change our lives. The money was really insignificant for him, and so it came as a surprise to most of us that he was indeed a billionaire. For Romney, however, that's his whole point, his business and financial success. He moved lots of money around at Bain and made many pretty rich people very much richer, including himself. We would be hard-pressed to name one thing he did to improve the human experience, except perhaps Romneycare in Massachusetts, which is he hiding from.

You're probably familiar with the term "empty suit" to describe someone inflated with self importance but who really hasn't had much impact on the world or affected other people in any vital or profound way. This describes most of the very rich who are shouting "Class Warfare!" They are very expensive empty suits. Romney is trying to become an occupied suit by winning the highest office in the world. And he somehow thinks his path will be made easier by accusing everyone else of envying him his wealth. I actually think he is a more worthwhile human being than his campaign slogans and appearances and debates would have us believe--but we also have to judge people by what they tell us is most important to them.

I pick on Romney because he is as good a representative as any of what is wrong with our capitalistic society in this still new 21st Century. The Robber Barons are back, but this time they are not even creating the steel mills and railroads and telegraph systems and ships and automobiles that made America stronger and better for everyone. The legacy of too many of today's billionaires will be failed political candidacies they supported, rather than the lasting impact of those who really made a difference in the past, who left noble thumbprints on the world. Andrew Carnegie with his gifts of hundreds of libraries that changed millions of lives, John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford, who despite some despicable early behavior, redeemed themselves with their foundations, and have a lasting impact. The hit TV show, 30 Rock, wouldn't be possible without the iconic 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Rockefeller Center, home of NBC. I worked there for a year and remember how nice it felt to be going to work every day at NBC Radio in the imposing 1930s Art Deco building.

When teachers pay a higher tax rate than billionaires, something is wrong. When the voices of the lower economic classes are being heard, something is right. I don't envy Donald Trump, Sheldon Adelson, and Mitt Romney their almost unlimited millions. There is nothing I want to model from their roles in society, there is nothing positive I have gotten from any of them, and there is nothing I think will change for the better in voting for them or the candidates they endorse. Now, if Steve Jobs were alive and running.....


I also have another blog, focused on prosperity consciousness, but certainly not only about the money. Check it out at:, and also check out the information about The Moneylove Club by clicking on the link at the top of that home page.