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.


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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. 


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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?


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