The country is in a trance. Whatever side you’re on, something’s off. Ken Follet never chose to concoct something this crazy because there was a time when no one would buy the yarn. Suspension of disbelief would be too strained under the implausibility of fiction that is now passing as real life. A man who couldn’t possibly be president, is. Hateful acts and speech are passed off as patriotism. Racism is in vogue. Babies are being snatched at our border and separated from their parents in the name of national defense. Truth and its pursuit have been perverted into fake news. Canada is our enemy. The EU is a foe. And our president praises a ruthless dictator, known to have meddled in our very own democratic process, even above our own allies. What has happened to our great country?
You needn’t look far back into our history to see a pattern that might bring some semblance of hope to the disheartened. America was built on a set of ideals that have been challenged over and over during our 242 year history. The founding fathers built a radically enlightened set of guidelines...more
On September 10th, 2018, my father passed away with grace and dignity. His wife of 35 years, Marijke, and my brother, Chris, were at his side. My eldest brother, Caleb, and I were in the air on our way as my dad slipped from his earthly body of 90 years into eternity at 6:46 pm. He was also attended by his incredible caregiver, Leviah. Leviah is Fijian and well practiced in caring for people as they transition “back home”. As is the Fijian custom, Leviah washed my father and clothed him in the casual attire my father liked to wear in this life. By the time I arrived at 1am, my father’s body was in a bed downstairs. There was a sheet covering him and a candle glowing at the head of his bed. Marijke had retired to bed, but both of my brothers greeted me with long hugs. We were happy to see each other. There are few things more comforting than a hug from a loved one during times of grief and mourning.
I was grateful that I made it back to see my father one last time. His spirit was no longer animating his body, but the expression on his face was one of quiet satisfaction. As...more
In 2009 I had the rare distinction of sitting knee to knee for an interview with the man who is now our president and perhaps one of the most controversial leaders of modern history. Ironically, for a man with such a bellicose presidential demeanor, we talked about the power of positive emotion, heart, the importance of having a big dream, and not letting defeat get you down. I was interviewing, then Mr. Trump, for a personal transformation program I had developed with former world heavy weight champion and beloved grill pitchman, George Foreman. George had been through a personal transformation after his defeat to, Mohammad Ali, that changed him from the menacing man of his youth into one of the kindest, happiest people I had ever known. As a die-hard marketer, I reasoned that if we could figure out how to bottle what George had, we would have a winning personal transformation program.
Mr. Trump agreed. He had known George during his invincible days before his loss to Ali, and witnessed his transformation in the years following. He was providing an endorsement of the...more
I recently had the pleasure of delivering good news. It wont make it on CNN or Fox, and yet it has all the elements of a juicy news story: the military, the flag, loss, suffering, heroism, family. But it will make you feel good to be an American regardless of your stripes and that’s why you wont catch this story of the evening news. I’m the Chief Brand Officer for a company called TrueCar. We launched a program called DrivenToDrive, which is designed to get wounded veterans back behind the wheel. Losing the ability to drive is one of the great handicaps a severely wounded veteran has to grapple with when they get home.
By definition, the military tribe is self-reliant. Being dependent on others for basic things like driving to the store is a loss of independence. Regaining the ability to drive again for a wounded veteran represents so much more than just getting from point A to point B. It represents the freedom they fought so hard to defend. Driving again is a goal in a wounded...more
Might be a tad of an over statement, but if hot-tubbing, hiking, and chatting with someone counts as hanging, then I have hung with the great Sir Richard Branson. And if there is any lingering doubt about his genius, let me put that question to bed once and for all. On our first morning on Neckar Island, a group of us were given a tour by Sir Richard himself. It was not a Four Seasons kind of tour on raked pea gravel paths. It was a cook’s tour of the Island across forbidding jagged rocks and impassable ledges. The man is a true adventurer. At one point he turned to the group with a serious tone and said, “Gents that way. Ladies this way.” He pointed to a more rugged trajectory for the boys. And took the ladies on a slightly more gentle way across the craggy cliffs of his island paradise. After some serious struggle and tide navigation, we men found ourselves a bit lost until we heard the inimitable voice of none other than the man himself calling down to us from a picture perfect perch. “Excuse me. Would one of you lads be kind enough to snap a pic?” There he was, flanked by...more
I have known my wife since 5th grade, where we fell in love in our Hollywood Hills elementary school, Valley View. In college we back-packed through Europe. She was well into her passion for the healing properties of plants at that time and packed baggy after baggy of herbal medicines for our trip. Almost every border crossing was an education for the customs agents. With good reason, they were all very interested in the loose shake of herb that was in those bags. I credit those herbal blends with keeping us healthy while on a diet of brie, baguette, café, and wine.
When I turned 40 my joints and bones began to ache. I chalked it up to years of running without stretching and the general wear and tear that comes from a youth of playing sports. My wife, on the other hand, told me I was too young to feel so old. She promptly put me on a regimen of Simples. Simples are pioneer plant infusions made from the weeds we discard and poison today with Round Up. In the wise woman tradition, these plants are highly revered because they pass on their resilience to whatever creatures are...more
I grew up in a family where story was king. Both of my parents are actors. In the 1960s they were part of the founding company of a radical new reparatory theatre in San Francisco called A.C.T. I literally grew up in the wings, greenrooms, dressing rooms and balconies of the majestic Geary Theatre in the Mission district. The theatre played baby sitter to my two brothers and I as my parents rehearsed and taught and performed. By the time I was 13, I had seen over 100 plays and sat through countless rehearsals. Mostly classics. Shakespeare. Rostand. Chekov. Ibsen. Some were contemporary greats. Albee. Miller. Shepherd. I learned about life through these great works. Environmentalism through Ibsen’s, Enemy of the People. Prejudice from the Merchant of Venice. The beauty of imperfection through Cyrano. I also learned about the power of story.
Sitting through a rehearsal of King Lear at the tender age of 8 seemed like torture to me at the time. Only now do I really appreciate how story was being cobbled into my consciousness by some of the greatest story-tellers that have ever...more
I actually just have a garden. But after this video was produced about my garden, I frequently get asked about my “farm”. It must be the magic of film that created that impression. I don’t think I say “farm” anywhere in the video. But if you’re at all interested in organic gardens or farms, you might enjoy it. Fair warning. I do have a momentary geek-out over my worm bin.more