The Diet to Do is What Works for You

The Diet to Do is What Works for You

There’s an old saying: “You can have such an open mind that your brains fall out.” This is very true when it comes to weight loss. So many strategies, so many theories…The South Beach Diet, The Atkins, Diet, etc. You can go crazy with all the options. Ultimately, you need to choose a strategy and stick with it; so the diet to do is what WORKS for you.

Note that I said “works” for a reason. The Atkins Diet is great, but if you fall off it and put the weight back on, then it doesn’t WORK.

For me, the key is carbohydrate control. A little bit for breakfast and lunch, but not indulgent. Perhaps other people can have more carbs—well…good for them. I can’t do it. I’ve learned that each person has a unique set of circumstances: guidelines that must be learned, respected and—eventually—even enjoyed.

So no pizza for me tonight, thank you. Sorry to say, but that’s just the way it is…

Movie Recommendation: Fantastic Planet (1973)

Movie Recommendation: Fantastic Planet (1973)

What if you were the house pet to a family of aliens?

That’s the premise of Fantastic Planet (1973). It’s an animated French film that—by today’s standards—is lacking in the special effects department. However, it’s the cartoonish quality of the film that contains the appeal; it’s downright creepy. The film is a sci-fi classic.


The plot centers around a human child that’s taken captive by a race of aliens. The child becomes the house pet to a high-ranking alien family. During this time, the child is treated like we often treat our pets—with abusive indifference. In that way, the movie is more effective than PETA; it presents a terrifying reality…the world of an abused and powerless animal.

The movie also touches on the idea of captivity. Do we unconsciously enslave the things we love? Do we respect them, or do they merely serve our personal needs? Like any good movie, the questions arise…

I don’t encourage marijuana. However, if you’re going to smoke, I recommend that you watch Fantastic Planet. It’s like peanut butter and jelly.

Two thumbs up to this movie.

Musicians are not Mentors

Musicians are not Mentors

Growing up, it took me awhile to realize this—I was so enamored of great musicians that I tried to be like them. But I confused a role model for a mentor. A role model gives you an example of how to live; a mentor teaches you what to do.

Musicians are focused on the craft. And a song is driven by melody—not by lyrics. First, the song has to flow. A songwriter is tied to the rules of rhythm; every song has a structure to be obeyed. So when it comes to lyrics, the truth is compromised—there’s no time for extended examples, drawn out conclusions, etc. Great songs don’t add words to convey the truth; they remove words to preserve the melody.

A mentor is what you need, what I need…what everyone needs! Because after the melody fades, you’re left with the questions:

  • What are the fundamental differences between men and women?
  • What are the secrets to a successful marriage?
  • How are friendships built and maintained?
  • How can you achieve financial freedom?

You won’t find these answers by whistling a tune. You’ll find them in the life experiences of those who are older and wiser than you. And when they speak, you won’t like it. You’ll hear about an ugly truth, a bitter reality, a tough decision. But if you want to grow, you need to listen. The old saying from Jamaica is true—good medicine tastes bad.


So behind every great man is a great mentor. Somebody who was taken into the fold and taught the tricks of the trade. To maximize your life, you’ll need to find these people. You’ll need their guidance to succeed.

The mentor is no rock star. But for you, he’s far more important…

What Makes a Country Singer Great?

What Makes a Country Singer Great?

An original voice is the most important element of a country singer. Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson…they all sound like themselves. You can hear their records and identify them immediately.


By contrast, many new country singers have a cliche “nasal twang.” It’s like they fell out of a nasal twang factory, each model identical to the previous. That’s one reason that many people have contempt for country music. They sense the lack of originality, the attempt to copy for commercial purposes.

The voice is the one “instrument” that lends itself to originality. Each person has a unique tone, a singular “thumbprint.” In that way, the voice is more dynamic than the guitar. It’s far more difficult to create an original sound on the guitar, and many players are applauded at simply having a good “tone” (as opposed to a unique one). So when a singer tries to sound like someone else, he (or she) is negating a gift from God.

A singer should try to be himself. His days of childlike imitation are over—he should have battle scars by now. He should have a wealth of knowledge, gained from a thousand fights inside a Coliseum. He should take that wisdom and weave it into his music. That’s the goal.  A simple question: Has he learned anything or not? The answer must be yes, or else he’s not fit to sing into a microphone.

Great men strive for originality; they understand that they have been “called upon” to bring their talents to the earth, and they don’t settle for cheap imitation.


Happiness is Strength

Happiness is Strength

The following excerpt from Nietzsche points out that happiness is a sign of personal strength.

“Maintaining cheerfulness in the midst of a gloomy task, fraught with immeasurable responsibility, is no small feat; and yet what is needed more than cheerfulness? Nothing succeeds if prankishness has no part in it. Excess strength alone is the proof of strength.”

So true. The clown is derided as a dolt. The carefree man is chided for his glee. Is he just a dummy? Is he too stupid to know what’s going on? Far from it! Internally, the happy man is a Hercules. He’s able to slay the demons that lead others to despair. He’s the gladiator of gratitude. He doesn’t drink to forget his problems—he drinks to celebrate life.

They say that he’s ignorant. He doesn’t know about Buchenwald, Teoul Slang, or Rwanda. If he did, then he’d be different. He’d be doing laps in the Lake of Disappointment.

The ugly truth—some men are stronger than others. They have internal wisdom: perspective, hope, faith…the ability to let go of things they can’t change. They might dwell is dark places, but they eventually leave. When they go to Hades, it’s a temporary stay—before you know it, they’re gone.

So which one are you? When you go to Disneyland, do you smile at Mickey Mouse? Or is he just a man, dressed up like a giant rat? If can you suspend your disbelief—even for a minute—then you’ll start enjoying what your life has to offer.

Put Action Before Thought

Put Action Before Thought

There’s a saying in philosophy—thought proceeds action. It’s another way of saying that philosophy underlies everything. That governments, religions, marriages…they’re all supported by a philosophy of some type.

But I’d like to promote a reverse thought—put action before thought. When you wake up tomorrow, do 27 things. Don’t stand on the edge of your bed, contemplating epistemology or the end of the universe. Instead, get moving! Take a shower, send out emails, throw out the garbage. In short, get to work.

The more you ponder what to do, the less inspired you’ll be. It’s called paralysis through analysis. Reflection is for the evening, when you’re wandering the streets of your city. Then you can reminisce on the day. What worked? What didn’t? What do you need to adjust?

At the end of the day, pull put a piece of paper and write. Decide what you’ll improve on for tomorrow. Make a list and be brutally honest—if you lie to yourself, then you can’t expect anyone else to believe you. And when you wake up the next day, get back to work.

Put action before thought.

Was Socrates a Poor and Ugly Loser?

Was Socrates a Poor and Ugly Loser?

Socrates is considered to be the father of Western philosophy. However, according to Nietzsche in Twilight of the Idols, he was a poor and ugly loser.

“By birth, Socrates belonged to the lowest class: Socrates was plebeian.”

A plebian was a commoner, one of the masses. For modern audiences, this is not a crime. However, in previous eras, it denoted a person of inferior worth—the lower class of humanity.

Nietzsche then piles on, stating that Socrates was ugly:

“We are told, and can see in sculptures of him, how ugly he was…Ugliness is often enough the       expression of a development that has been crossed, thwarted in some way. Or it appears as declining development. The anthropological criminologists tell us that the typical criminal is ugly.”

I have never looked at Socrates from that standpoint. But now that Nietzsche brings it up, I guess that Socrates did not look like Adonis; he could have lost a few pounds, for sure.

For Nietzsche however, the proof that Socrates was a loser is this—his obsession with argumentation.

“Before Socrates, argumentative conversation was repudiated in good society: it was considered bad manners, compromising….Honest things, like honest men, do not have to explain themselves so openly.”

One chooses logical argument only when one has no other means…It is a kind of self-defense for those who no longer have other weapons.

In short, Socrates lacked self-esteem due to his poverty and ugliness; his solution was to go around arguing with people so that he could distort this painful reality. His “Socratic questioning” then was not a search for truth; instead, it was just jealousy—envy masking itself as intelligence. It was bitterness against the “cool kids.” In ghetto terminology, Socrates was a player hater.

Now I don’t know if all that’s true, but Nietzsche raises a good question:

Were the great minds of antiquity driven by dubious motives?

We have a tendency to romanticize the great people of the past. What we forget is that many of them were filled by basic human urges: the desire for sex, acceptance, revenge, etc. Humans are all playing on a similar field. Maybe our heroes may not be as noble as we think, and they may require further investigation.

What I like about Nietzsche’s analysis is how simple and logical it was. When I was in college, I struggled to make sense of Nietzsche. His work is now opening up to me, though. I look forward to reading more of him…

The Soft Genocide

The Soft Genocide

The year was 2065. Bob Smith turned 90 years old and he stared out the window of his Manhattan apartment to the streets below. On the desk in front of him was a birthday cake, with a row of candles on it.

He was alone in the world…but still, he had reasons to be thankful. When he was a young man he had great parents, as well as two loving sisters. They all cared deeply for him. And he was blessed with excellent health; he rarely went to the doctor in 90 years. But still, even with all that luck, there was a nagging pain in his heart—something that bothered him.

“If I only had a family,” he whispered under his breath. “That’s my only regret…that I never had a wife and child!”

Bob thought back to his youth…when he was in his 20s and 30s. He was in his prime. It was a time when—like most men—he was trying to start a family. For Bob Smith, those years were between 2000 and 2020. It seemed like another lifetime. What happened? Why did he not start a family? His memories were fading in his old age, and he struggled to remember. But then the images came flooding back, one by one. Little thoughts, like pieces of a puzzle being connected.

He remembered back to when he was 20. He had a girlfriend and she became pregnant. Something inside of him, deep in the pit of his soul, told him to keep the child. But he had just watched a TV show on teenage pregnancy. He learned that pregnant women had a “right to choose” and that he—as the father of the child—had no decision in the matter. So when his girlfriend told him that she was getting an abortion, he just nodded—he believed that it was the right thing to do.

Then, there was that incident when he was 25. He was forced to take a Women’s Studies class at college. There he learned (from an obese teacher named Ms. Manley) that women did not need him. He also learned that men were guilty of countless crimes against women. He noted a rising hostility from the girls in the class, many of whom were now openly calling themselves feminists. He considered asking one of the girls in class out on a date, but he was too intimidated.

He moved to Colorado when he was 28. There was a growing movement to legalize marijuana, and Colorado was being applauded for leading the charge. He began smoking weed, hoping that it would help him with women. Instead, it had the reverse effect. He ended up staying home at night, eating pizza, and playing video games. One day he considered asking the neighbor down the hall, a pretty girl with sausage curls, if she’d like to go to the movies. Instead, he went to his apartment, smoked a joint, and masturbated to online pornography.

When he turned 30, he moved out to Santa Barbara, California. He worked near the campus of UCSB, and there were a lot of pretty girls in the area. He was excited about his prospects! However, shortly after he arrived, he was forced to take a Sexual Harassment class at his job. He learned that California had a new law entitled “No Means No.” Under the law, he could be convicted of rape if he didn’t prove—in writing—that a woman had agreed to have sex with him. Several times after that session, he considered approaching women. However, he was overcome with fear when he contemplated the risk. The idea of going to jail frightened him, so he decided that it was better to avoid women altogether.

By the time Bob Smith was 40, he had given up. There was still part of him that wanted a wife and child, but years of frustration had killed his confidence. He spent the next fifty years “checked out,” just going through the motions of life: driving in traffic to work, putting money in his 401k, watching the Super Bowl every year, and paying his taxes on time.

So now Bob was here, alone on his 90th birthday. A thought came into his mind and he paused.  He wondered what it would be like—sharing this moment with a wife that adored him…with children that idolized him.

“I’d tell them that I love them,” he said, with passion. “I’d give them everything I have!”

He felt a tear welling up in his eye, threatening to cascade itself downward. But the moment was interrupted by the sound of honking horns, and the cars that rushed by on the busy street below.

Bob Smith blew out the candles on his birthday cake. Then he rose from his chair, shuffled to his bed, and—like he done he so many times before—he laid his tired body down.

In Praise of John Ritter

In Praise of John Ritter

Sitcom actors are underrated. In the world of thespians, they are overlooked in favor of Broadway leads and the A-list stars of tinsel town.

Given that fact, it’s little wonder that John Ritter was an overlooked talent. He made his fame on Three’s Company, playing the bumbling Lothario Jack Tripper. But if you were like me, Ritter’s physical comedy was a shining light in your childhood. His antics always brought a smile to my face. Looking back, I realize that he was one of the great physical comedians of the modern era, in the tradition of Charlie Chaplin or Harpo Marx.

Some people have a natural repoire with the camera—Ritter was one of those stars. His bubbling personality came through the television, landing into the living rooms of countless Americans. The world was a better place because of him.