Ron Irwin Travel & Entertainment

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Confirmed!  American Medical Care is a Disaster

 

 Even as a young boy and then again later in life I had plenty of reasons to doubt the efficacy of American medical care.  When I was but 8 years old I was told that I needed to have my tonsils removed.  Why?  Because the “doctor” said so.  So off I went and out came my tonsils resulting in some of the worst pain I have ever experienced and as it turned out for no good reason.  Not too long after I was told I needed surgery to repair my hernia.  I had no symptoms, no pain, no discomfort yet again the “doctor” said so and off I went once again.  And again I was treated to intense pain.  A few years later I was serving in the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam when I got bit by an enemy mosquito resulting in me getting both dengue fever and malaria.  After nine miserable days in a field hospital I was told I was good to go but I would first have to visit the psychiatrist because they believed that just maybe I had become a little depressed.  So I went and saw the shrink and after maybe 20 minutes of chit chat he wrote me a prescription for a very powerful anti-depressant drug.  Only he accidentally wrote the prescription at four times the normal dosage.  Consequently, I was utterly stoned, so much so that one day when some one accidental tripped off a 20 millimeter canon on one of our jets everyone instantly hit the ground. Everyone that is except me.  I just spun around and said “wee!”  That cost me ten more months in hell.  You see I was due to go to Japan with that squadron.  But when the Commanding Officer observed my behavior, he decided I was too crazy to go with his squadron  to Japan so he reassigned me to the Group thereby keeping me in Vietnam for ten more months  Thanks doc.  But these are just some of my personal experiences; let’s look at the bigger picture. 

 

According to the World Health Organization the United States of America ranks a miserable 37th in terms of quality of health care systems.  That is behind Malta, Iceland, Columbia and even Chile.  But lousy health care isn’t cheap.  On average the typical American spends about DOUBLE what people in other nations pay for health care.  Specific details can be found in a report from Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker:

 

Comparing health spending in the U.S. to other countries is complicated, as each country has unique political, economic, and social attributes that contribute to its spending. Because health spending is closely associated with a country’s wealth, the remaining charts compare the U.S. to similar OECD countries – those that have above median national incomes (as measured by GDP) and also have above median income per person. The average amount spent on health per person in comparable countries ($5,280) is roughly half that of the U.S. ($10,224).

 

Interestingly France ranks number one in the world for health care but the French pay less than half of what American’s pay for our much inferior health care. 

 

A recent Johns Hopkins study claims more than 250,000 people in the U.S. die every year from medical errors. Other reports claim the numbers to be as high as 440,000. Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. If you live in America you are nine times more likely to get killed by your physician than by a gun shot.  Yet almost daily the media is screaming about the need for more gun control yet rarely if ever is there any mention of the miserable state of American medical care. 

 

Fixing this problem is vital but extremely complex.  I will share my thoughts in greater detail in future articles but for now I offer these two observations.  Let’s stop the profound deification of our “doctors.”  “Doctor” is an academic title and not a professional title.  I am a “doctor” but a Doctor of Jurisprudence not medicine.  Believe me when I say you do not want me coming after you with a sharp knife.  My professional title is lawyer or Attorney at Law.  Those who have earned Doctor of Medicine degrees become professionally known as Physicians and Surgeons.  So drop the “doctor” and start using physician and/or surgeon and the deification factor falls to a more rational level where you can and must start asking more questions. 

 

Then there is the matter of the Hippocratic Oath.  The Hippocratic Oath was first written about 275 AD and is said to be an oath taken by all physicians worldwide.  But the often quoted first command, “First do no harm” was not added until the 17th century.  The full importance of that command needs to be more fully integrated into the daily practice of all physicians .  Is that surgical procedure truly needed for my patient’s health?  Are those prescriptions I am about to write really in my patient’s best interest?  And perhaps what is the real message here is that perhaps all physicians need to become more focused on promoting good health rather than simply treating disease,  Need proof of just how far off the mark modern medicine truly has fallen?  For many years I was clearly extremely obese and obesity is a serious and potentially deadly human condition.  Yet over a period of about 20 years and with several visits to my physician not once was I told that I needed to lose weight.  Yet in 2012 when I weighed 315 pounds and was struck with Congestive Heart Failure and diabetes I was given a lot of prescribed medications which I rapidly stopped taking as soon as I had lost 140 pounds and regained health rather than treat disease. 

 

More to come on this topic but for now please take away the reality that gaining and maintaining good health should be your goal number one and when you do visit your physician that goal should always be a part of the conversation.

 


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Bercy Village, Paris, France.

Planning a trip to Paris, France anytime in the next yuear or three? Allow me to suggest that you strongly consider the relatively unknown but utterly delightful Bercy Village as your temporary Parisian home. There is excellent train service from Bercy Village to all major Parisian sites. For example from Bercy Village to the Eiffel Tower it takes about 21 minutes to travel the 13 kilometers or 8.1 miles. From Bercy Village to the Arc de Triomphe is also about 20 minutes away even though the distance is somewhat greater at about 18.2 kilometers or 11.3 miles. so you will have no problem seeing all that Paris has to offer but you will be able to secure very pleasant hotel accommodations at rates far below those for hotels in central Paris,

During my recent stay I took refuge at the Kyriad Hotel, 17 Rue Baron le Roy, Bercy Village, Paris, France. The rooms were clean and comfortable and their breakfast buffet was abundant and delicious all for far less then the city center hotels offer. One attraction I very much enjoyed was that the Kyriad is also very close to Franprix at 5-7 Rue Baron le Roy, Bercy Village, Paris, France. It is a general merchandise establishment with a good selection of many food products and, of course, plenty of fine wine. It was an absolute blast to shop “in the hood” as some would say and it was a great way to save even more money without compromising in quality.

But the heart of Bercy Village is its paved courtyard lined with stone storehouses, more than 40 of them on the Cour Saint-Emillion. Retail shops abound in a wide variety from fine clothing, to kitchen ware, foods and condiments as well art dealers with an amazing variety of beautiful art in oil and other mediums. There are also many shops offering food and beverage including, of course, fine wines. At one end of this approximately five block long slice of urban paradise is a multiplex cinema where you can even enjoy a movie albiet most likely in French. That said I found language no problem. The predominantly French merchants conversed easily in English and I could hear also in Italian, German and Spanish and I am sure s few other languages I didn’t immediately recognize. This adds yet another measure of joy to the experience of Bercy Village because while immersed in great diversity there is no difficulty communicating.

All of the shops in Bercy Village are open from 10 a.m to 8 p.m. except for the restaurants which remain open until 2 am. They even put on concerts every Thursday during the summer. Other events including photography exhibits can be found at Bercy Village during the summer months. Great food, great wine, a spectacular array of awesome merchandise including fine art and even musical concerts so what is there not to lobe about Bercy Village, Paris, France? About the only thing I can think of is that it is way too far from my humble home in Burbank, California but then in all truth we have a few great things around here too.


The very best of Southern California.  The sea, the mountains and the desert all captured on this beautiful 23 minute breathe taking video.

Just click the pic and ENJOY!


Check in the Mail!?! GREAT NEWS or RED LIGHT? 

Just the other day I received a Priority Mail envelope, you know one of those large cardboard envelopes that I almost never receive so I was instantly curious.  I looked at the senders name and it wasn’t anyone I knew.  Hmmmm……………  Then I opened the envelope and found two pieces of paper.  One was a document with a large corporate logo printed at an angle across the smaller print.  The other piece of paper really got my full attention.  It was a check, a CASHIER’S CHECK it said for the amount of $1,995.00 payable to ME!  Wow!  A gift from heaven.  I instantly thought:  “Wow, I am going to call Carnival Cruise lines and take the whole family on a short but fun cruise..”  But wait a second, let’s read the other piece of paper. 

Essentially what I found was that I had been selected to be a “secret shopper.”  I was to deposit the check and as soon as funds were available I was to withdraw it all and use $1665.00 to purchase two Walmart Money Cards, one in the amount of $850.00 and the other in the amount of $815.00.  When I had done this I was to notify the Executive Co-Ordinator by text message.  By now I was seeing many red flags that caused me to dig a little deeper.

One of the very first things I saw that set off cautionary fireworks was the mere fact that someone had sent me this job offer or business opportunity or whatever it was without any preliminary communication of any kind.  Maybe I did want to be a secret shopper or maybe not but wouldn’t any normal, which means legitimate, company want to first talk with me to determine whether or not I was right for the job before just sending me a check?  And was the check indeed real?  It seemed real.  I checked the bank and it did exist and the routing number was correct.  But there oddities on the face of the check well. 

For one thing the address given for the bank was a P.O.. box.  That is, of course, possible but not likely especially for a Cashier’s check.  You would think there would be an actual physical address and there was not.  There was however, a notice in very small print that said in essence that should the check be lost or stolen the purchaser would need to buy an indemnity bond to receive a replacement check.  I don’t recall ever seeing that message on a check before but still not a complete deal breaker. 

So I took it all over to my local bank branch and met with a banker I have known for years.  He looked at the check and the letter and offered his opinion that he was one million percent certain it was a scam.  Yes, he said if I wanted to deposit it the bank would accept it and they would even allow me to withdraw the money.  But, when the check was returned as invalid or otherwise fake they would, of course, debit my account accordingly.  By the time that would happen I would have already spent $1665.00 for cash cards I would have sent to the so called secret shopper company.  They would have the cards and I would have a great big hole in my bank account. 

By this time I was about 99.999% certain that it’s a pure scam but I went back to the letter and the envelope and found even more red flags.  The company name they were using clearly had a misspelling in one of the two names that should have been identical.  Seriously real companies take great pains to assure that their name is correct on all communications.  It is their brand and it must always be accurate, so you would for instance never expect to see an email from say Amazon and in the body of the text see it spelled AMOZIN.  But that is essentially what I found in the letter I received from the so called secret shopper company. 

Also I then noticed that on the Priority Mail envelope the name of the sender was vastly different from the name on the letter I received.  One more red flag.

Finally I googled is [insert name of company] a scam?  The very first thing to pop up was a message from Emma Fletcher of the Federal Trade Commission that was headlined:  “A scam story: Secret shopping and fake checks.”  It went on to describe in every detail precisely what I had received in the mail. I was left with zero doubt as to the indisputable reality that I had been targeted with scam.  Lucky for me I pursued my doubts early and uncovered the scam before it could hurt me. Not everyone is as lucky and one more thing in that message from Emma Fletcher of the Federal Trade Commission that everyone needs to understand is this”

Scammers need a good story to get to your wallet.  Once they find one that works they use it again and again.  One of their favorites brings together fake checks and secret shopping and we’ve been hearing a lot about it lately. 

The sad truth is that our world has always had and will always have people who thoroughly enjoy stealing from other people.  Sure sooner or later they do get caught and are sent to prison but your hard earned money remains gone forever,  So if in reading this little story you are put on alert and reject a similar scam effort focused upon you than I have done a good job.  Please help spread the word. 
 


Payback and beyond.  Meet Kirk Taylor

To fully understand my extraordinary interest in the opportunity recently given to me to interview an actor by the name of Kirk Taylor I must begin with a little snippet about my personal background.  I served in the United States Marine Corps in Chu Lai, Vietnam from mid 1966 to mid 1987, a period of 13 months.  I am also a fan of one of the highest ranked movies ever made, “Full Metal Jacket” released in 1987 and ranked in the top 100 of all movies ever made according to IMDb.  It was and remains an extremely powerful movie that to an extent far greater than most accurately depicts much of the essence of the Marine Corps and its role in the Vietnam war.  So when I was given the opportunity to interview on my radio show, “The Dr Ron Show” Kirk Taylor who played “Payback” in “Full Metal Jacket” I leaped at it faster than a lizard’s kiss. 

 

December 19th 2018 Kirk Taylor arrived about 10:30 a.m. at the studios of the Universal Broadcasting Network at the Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood.  He immediately struck me as sincere, friendly and very real.  No phoniness from this actor, he is a man’s man and very real and sincere, in other words someone I instantly liked.  But I also just had to play to the moment because you see Kirk Taylor acted as a Marine in “Full Metal Jacket” and I was in fact a Marine in Vietnam during a period just a few months before the time period depicted in the movie.  In other words he pretended and I did it but as it turned out he knew the distinction very well.  That is way he described everything he had done to prepare for that role including long walks alone into the woods to feel the sense of vulnerability and potential danger.  He is a man clearly committed to his craft and it becomes evident when watching the film. 

 

Before going on air with Kirk I also expressed the two and the only two significant disagreements I have with “Full Metal Jacket.”  Lee Ermey’s portrayal of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman was in most respects ever so true perhaps in part because Lee Ermey had in fact been a Marine Drill Instructor.  But no Marine Drill Instructor would ever permit let alone demand that the recruits call him “sir.”  Call any Marine NCO “sir” and the offending Marine will be told firmly “Do not call me “sir” I am a Marine NCO I work for a leaving.”  Think about it, 

 

The other major error in my opinion was that any recruit could at any time and in any way manage to get two live rounds of 7.62 millimeter bullets into a recruit barracks is utterly and totally impossible.  Ah but sometimes you have to break the reality to achieve the art.  I get it but I still needed to mention it.  Then it was show time.  And by the way should want listen to this fascinating interview you may do so by simply clicking here:  https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/ubn-radio/the-dr-ron-show/e/57813529. 

During the next 50 minutes I learned that Kirk Taylor has indeed achieved a long and distinguished acting career.  In 1985 he appeared in three films, “The Last Dragon”, “Streetwalkin’” and “Death Wish 3” before landing his role in “Full Metals Jacket” in 1987.  In the 1990’s he had several television appearances on such well known shows as “Chicago Hope” and “Law and Order.”  In the new 21st century he has appeared in various episodes of “All My Children”and “NCIS: Los Angeles.” Recently he just wrapped his latest film project “Revival” where he plays Cephas. 

 

But if you think that is impressive – well it is - but so is the fact that Kirk Taylor has also been involved in numerous productions on Broadway where he has acted, sung and composed music.  Moving forward Kirk Taylor is now developing his own production company so this man is unstoppable and absolutely represents the heart of the human soul.  So I had to ask what he would advise all of those many aspiring actors that populate what we call “Hollywood” and his answer was as solid as it was to some extent predicable.  “You must fully and passionately commit yourself to your craft and never ever quit.”  Yep that is the New York attitude and spirit and that is how the real winners happen. 


The Ten Resolutions

From high atop my very comfy swivel chair I sayeth unto thee follow these TEN RESOLUTIONS for the New Year, this and every year.

1:  Learn and regularly employ the Serenity prayer.  God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change Courage to change the things I can and Wisdom to know the difference.  

COMMENTARY:  Anyone who has ever had any relationship with a 12 step program has heard the Serenity Prayer but its power and value extends way beyond a 12 step program.  In all things every single person on earth needs to understand that we must accept the things we simply cannot change while at the same time finding the courage to change those things that we must and we can and most of all the wisdom to know the difference.  Sometimes that can be a very difficult task but then no one ever said life was going to be easy.  By learning and regularly repeating the Serenity Prayer we do significantly improve our odds of getting it right more often than not,  Repeat this prayer at least once every day and watch as you begin making ever better life decisions and with that comes a better, happier and even longer life. 

2:  Always, every day without exception strive, to achieve and maintain good health. 

COMMENTARY:  Life in ill health can quickly turn into pure hell and inevitable death.  But getting and then staying healthy does require significant effort.  The two major components are diet and exercise.  And both can be challenging.  Since you were a kid you love to start each day with two golden waffles dripping with melted butter and covered with thick maple syrup, gobs of yummy sugar and fat two of the three things you should work very hard to eliminate or at least dramatically reduce from your food intake but dang it just tastes so good.  Oh and that substantial belly overlap, well heck sometimes we just put on a little extra weight.  The sad fact is about 60% of our world is clinically obese meaning 20 or more pounds above ideal weight.  With obesity very often comes diabetes a disease that can over time kill you.  But before death diabetes can also force you into a situation where an arm or leg will need to be amputated.  Diabetes and obesity go hand in hand and neither are good.  Diet is critical, not “A” diet but rather a comprehensive evaluation of everything you eat in terms of content and amount.  Focus on reducing as near as possible the intake of sugar, salt and fat and you will be heading in the right direction.  Think green is good and red is a severe warning.  Tomatoes – OK, beef not so much. 

Then there is the exercise component.  Every gym in the world loves January because their membership spikes as millions of people join in pursuit of this common resolution to lose weight and get healthier in the New Year.  Then by the end of the month of January they have become exhausted and stop going to the gym and the process goes on and on.  Primarily this is because we tend to go from STOP to a full on RUN and that never works.  You need to build into a healthy exercise routine so if you have become mainly sedentary make your resolution to walk one mile a day every day.  Once that becomes incidental and ordinary for you bump it up to two miles a day and then repeat until you reach a peak level for you.  Also, along the way slowly add other exercises.  Create your own list that may include push-ups, sit ups, toe touches, weight lifting, anything and everything as you gradually build your own personal routine.  Take your time but make it a steady daily activity.  By gradually building your routine you dramatically reduce the risk of burn out and what you do accomplish is a greatly improved life style of regular exercise.  A good diet along with good exercise on a regular basis yields much better health and longer happier life so go for it. 

3:  Live, love and expunge hate

COMMENTARY:  Commit yourself to living your life to the fullest.  Purge all fear for fear has no benefit and not to be confused with concern.  Proper concern will guide you through or around those things and circumstances that may well cause you harm but fear only freezes you and strips you of all hope of experiencing full joy.  Give and receive love always, totally and boldly.  Open up and allow love to flow freely but do not confuse love with lust.  And why hate, what does it accomplish for you?  In the extreme there may well be good cause to hate. For example someone kills a loved one and the natural response is to hate the murderer.  But you must strive to let go of the hate for hate always does far more harm to the one hating than it will do to the one being hated.  So why would you want to give such power to the object of your hate? 

4:  Never stop seeking knowledge in all things

COMMENTARY:  Even if you earned at BA, BS, MBA, JD, MD and PhD you would still be a long way from knowing everything.  So as we go through life we must always strive to keep our curiosity strong and our knowledge ever expanding.  Doing so adds vibrancy and gives us ever increasing strength. 

5:  Be generous but remain parsimonious

COMMENTARTY:  Money and material things are absolutely important but they should never be allowed to rule you, rather it is everyone’s job to manage our material world wisely, Billionaires have gone bankrupt while it is possible to exist with a degree of comfort on a minimum wage.  The key to it is to at every level maintain diligent management over your resources always. 

6:  Eat clean

COMMENTARTY:  It is so simple that it is typically mostly ignored but the fundamental truth is that we indeed are what we eat.  When we eat poorly such as foods that have been heavily processed or which contain excessive amounts of sugar or fat or salt our bodies will ultimately fail.  Poor eating habits are at the core of the massive amount of obesity in our world and it is critical that we understand that obesity is far more than a fashion statement, it is a truly potentially deadly disease and very often brings about diabetes and diabetes can lead to amputations and even early death.  Think green lean red dead.  That is by no means totally accurate or a complete picture but it is a good start and helps get us thinking in the right direction.  And YES I know this is strikingly similar to Resolution Number 2 but it is THAT IMPORTANT. 

7:  Always treat our world with kindness and consideration

COMMENTARY:  If we allow the continuing desecration of our planet there shall come a time when we will no longer be able to live on our planet.  The sea levels will keep rising eventually destroying not only our immediate coast lines but even penetrating ever deeper into the interior of our nations killing everything in its path.  Continuously polluting our air with carbon and other deadly emissions will steadily weaken humanity and increase the spread of life ending disease.  It is undeniable that if we do not take good care of our planet earth then planet earth will eventually become unable to take good care of us. 

8:  Never ever assume anything. 

COMMENTARY:  The very simple truth of the matter is that when you “assume” you make an ass out of u and me.  Sure, you truly believe that something is a certain way or will in fact happen and perhaps did indeed happen but do you actually KNOW any of this?  If not and you assume you run a very real risk of getting what should have been a simple matter utterly convoluted with potentially disastrous results.  Just one very simple example of how this can play out is should you be walking and approaching an intersection when you see a car heading towards that intersection but you see that he has a stop sign so you understandably but foolishly think that he is going to stop, well you assume he will stop anyhow.  Actually you make several assumptions; you assume the driver will see the stop sign, you further assume that he will in fact stop and you most likely also assume that he has at least some concern for your well-being.  So you step off the curb and get fatally slammed by the car because the driver was texting and never saw you or the stop sign.  All of your assumptions proved to be incorrect and you paid a heavy price.  There are limitless other ways in which assuming can be highly destructive and even fatal so whenever the temptation to assume arises it is critical that you squash that temptation before an assumption squashes you.  Whenever confronted with an uncertainty it is perfectly okay to accept that often you simply don’t know rather than assume a particular action or outcome. 

9:  Reduce debt

COMMENTARY:  Debt is to some extent unavoidable.  Most people will never be able to purchase a home without a mortgage and while it is possible to purchase an automobile without a loan it is difficult and so that too gives rise to further debt.  But allowing that ultra-high interest credit card debt to just keep on growing is a very bad idea.  If you only make minimum payments on your credit card debt it can take several years to payoff that debt.  That said using a credit card can have several advantages including the ability to avoid most if not all loss through theft and or fraud.  But another option with those same benefits is a charge card rather than a credit card?  A charge card allows you to make purchases using the card but requires payment in full each month and therefore no chance of ever escalating debt.  Debt can be a very heavy burden and that burden gets in the way of full joy and happiness in your life so focus on eliminating as much debt as you can as fast as you can. 

 

10:  Know when to quit

COMMENTARY, It happens to everyone at least once in a while.  You are in a casino in Las Vegas playing the slot machines and you are winning.  Those coins just keep piling up and you are thrilled.  So you keep putting them back in and then you look down and the tray is empty.  Oops!  We call this human nature also known as greed and it can affect everyone in a wide range of ways.  Even in food it can happen.  Yes indeed that pizza tastes awesome so you just keep on eating and then you get sick from the over indulgence.  Then all of the pizza leaves you and you are no longer happy.  The lesson to be learned is to know when to quit and that requires understanding the need to maintain balance in all things. 

 


Meet the Anti-Hollywood Hollywood Guy

Some many years ago now a young man began his working life as a writer but not merely as a hopeful writer but a writer for such well known top echelon magazines as Time, Life, Fortune and People.  But Patrick Kilpatrick was and remains a driven man so soon he expanded his work to include writing a play and the next thing you know he began assistant directing plays on Broadway and directing plays off Broadway.  Then as often happens his thoughts shifted westward and he came to Hollywood. 

While in Hollywood where he still lives today Patrick Kilpatrick soon found himself working on camera with people such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise, Jean-Claude Van Damme and other A list stars.  So far he has accumulated 151 acting credits along with several credits as Producer, Director and Writer and then he formed his own production company and wrote his first book “Dying For Living” in which he reveals the true inside story about Hollywood which Patrick Kilpatrick describes as a culture of theft.

During a recent radio interview Patrick Kilpatrick related a story of how one time he was cast in a starring role and as he began going over the script he came to realize that it was script he had written nine years earlier but for which he had never been paid.  Yet there he was about to star in a movie he had created but for which he had not received one penny.  The good news is that he got “off book” meaning he knew his lines very very quickly.  The bad news, the very bad news is that his creative work had been stolen be it deliberately or inadvertently, either way something that was very much the property of Patrick Kilpatrick had been taken from him without his knowledge or consent or simply put, stolen. 

From his book “Dying For Living” Patrick Kilpatrick speaks to his motivation for moving to Hollywood as follows:  “Where else would an energetic sex addict psychopath slither?  It’s Hollywood or Washington – TINSEL TOWN chicks superficial and less brainy, the weather finer, less humid – and gluttonous swag won’t send you to Federal prison.” 

Every man and women is a product of their youth and so it is with Patrick Kilpatrick who has included a great deal about his youth including this:

“My boyhood was as rarified as it was eruptive … a turbo literate, well-fed war zone replete with paradoxical violence and recurring nightmares … Arcadian  landscapes, whippings with Hoover vacuum cleaner chords … mop handle beatings with skull stitches. 

A few years ago, after starring in the film PARASOMINA as an eloquent serial killing mesmerist, I shaved my head and the shaped scars remained a half century later.” 

Patrick Kilpatrick has made numerous appearances on camera as an action film villain.  Over the years he has fought with or against such stellar actor as Yu-Fat Chow, Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Caan, Bruce Willis, Steven Segal, Sean Connery, Mark Harmon and Tom Selleck to name but a few.  There are several references and details throughout his book which is spellbinding in many ways. 

Of Patrick Kilpatrick James Woods has said: “One of only two people from whom I learned something about acting.  We are all lucky Patrick Kilpatrick has chosen the share,  Ron Perlman commented:  One of the greatest actors of any generation.”  And long-time star of the hit TV show “Criminal Minds” and more importantly proprietor of the fabulous restaurant Taste Chicago, Joe Mantegna said of Kilpatrick’s book “You may love it, you may hate it, but you will never forget it.” 

I was extremely blessed to have shared some time with Patrick Kilpatrick on my weekly radio show, The Dr. Ron Show on Universal Broadcasting Network.  I discovered a very rare man in the world many call Hollywood.  He may play many characters, but Patrick Kilpatrick is a very real, sincere, fascinating and credible human being.  I whole heartedly recommend his book “Dying For Living” and please also note that Patrick Kilpatrick had pledged a portion of each book sale to aid wounded American military men and women who need help.  So in the end you get an excellent read and you also do a very good deed.  It just doesn’t get any better than that.  

 


How a Wee Bit of Texas History Could Make You Rich

 

Back in 1996 Autry Stephens decided that he wanted to claim his share of oil riches so he struck out on his own and soon named his one rig oil company the “Big Dog Drilling Company.”  Over the next twenty years Autry Stephens continued to build his company until he eventually ended up with the largest closely held oil producer in Texas based on production volume.  He also changed the name to Endeavor Energy Resources L.P. based in Midland, Texas.  Once only named Big Dog today the truly big dogs including Exxon/Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp are trying to buy out Autry’ business making offers bids right around $15 billion dollars. 

As Autry was growing his company another company recognized a need for reliable wireless broadband services out in the remote oil patch of the Great State of Texas and beyond.  That company is ERF Wireless and has grown to become one of the largest wireless internet services providers in America.  Through a strategic combination of acquisitions, partnerships and new network development and construction ERF Wireless continues to grow and unlike Autry Stephens ERF Wireless is now a publicly traded company traded over the counter with the symbol ERFB.  At the time this article was written the share price of ERFB was a stunningly modest $.004 per share. But I suspect that is a about to change in a monstrously dramatic way. 

Various people associated with ERF Wireless began to develop an interest in doing some of what Autry Stephens had been doing extremely well for decades. So they too began acquiring mineral rich properties in the Permian Basin in fact right next to the Autry Stephens holdings.  As of now they control 230,000 acres of oil and gas rich properties with a value well into the billions of dollars.  As this growth took place the company began the process of a name change to give it a name more aligned with their new direction.  That process is nearly complete but as of now they oddly remain virtually unknown with a share price that seems to me to be ridiculously low.  Just how low? Well as of today a mere one thousand dollars could get you a quarter of a million shares.  So what if the stock went to say just two dollars?  Ponder that a minute or two. 

So as I consider all of this information the thought has occurred to me that you and I will never have an opportunity to share in Autry Stephens amazing wealth.  It is his and his alone, he built it, he took the risks and soon he shall reap the rewards so I salute you Mr. Stephens.  But there does a exist a very real opportunity for you and I to take a very similar ride ERF Wireless by simply buying in with some absurdly undervalued stock.  A few hundred dollars invested can yield literally thousands of shares at today’s price.  If ERFB performs even close to what Autry Stephens has done your modest investment could absolutely yield magnificent returns.  But as with all things in life there are risks and losses can also happen.  Just do yourself a big favor and at least take a serious look at this very rare opportunity. 
Great books available for Christmas or just because they are fun to read,  Here:  http://www.ronirwin.net/BooksbyRon.html. 


Follow Your Dreams – Part Two

 

As I finished the final touches to my “Follow Your Dream” article it struck me how utterly compelling that approach to life influenced and still influences my life.  I’d like to share some of that now because I sincerely believe it can be deeply inspirational. 

The first thing that needs to happen is for a dream be born within you. For me that took a rather long and troubled path.  When I was ten after ten hellish years mom and dad divorced.  One year later I divorced them and left home.  I lived with a variety of strangers and my only dream was survival.  Then one day the seed of a dream creeped into my troubled brain. 

Typical of most boys at age 13 I had close to zero interest in or appreciation of western poetry.  But one day I visited a book store and saw a thin little book with an unusual design and a name I didn’t understand.  I picked it up and began reading.  Instantly I was enraptured and couldn’t put it down.  I read the whole book and then I bought it and two others just like it.  I had been captured by Japanese Haiku, an ancient poetry form from Japan.  Seed planted.

About four years later I happened to be walking around in Waukegan, Illinois one very cold day contemplating my future.  High school would soon end and with my depressing grade point average of 1.7 my best hope was maybe getting hired as an assistant part time gas station attendant.  Then I saw a sign that read:  “Join the Marines.”  I knew from some old movies that Marines were military guys and they served in Asia during World War Two and the Korean conflict so I thought that maybe they still served in Asia and since my introduction to Asia via Haiku I had the beginnings of a dream, so in I went.  Sure enough there were still Marines in Asia and upon the promise that I would indeed be sent to Asia as a United States Marine I joined. 

After boot camp and advanced infantry training I headed back to Chicago before continuing on to Camp Pendleton in Southern, California.  There was, however, an unanticipated delay.  I had caught pneumonia and ended up in the Bethesda Naval Hospital for a few weeks and then I got the shock of my life.  After being basically cured I was given a pass to go out and enjoy nearby Washington, DC.   Enroute to DC the van stopped at some military place and a guard came out shouting “President Kennedy has been shot!”  We all figured that shot doesn’t mean dead and the President would be fine.  We were all wrong .  By the time we arrived in DC the truth slammed us.  There I was a very young brand new United States Marine in our nation’s capital in my uniform on the day our president had been assassinated.  Dream shattered.  Around midnight I wandered over to the White House and watched as Jackie Kennedy arrived still wearing her blood soaked coat.  Somethings you simply never forget. 

But life goes on and a couple of weeks later I finally boarded a ship heading for Japan.  I will never forget the moments leading up to our arrival in Yokohama.  As the ship drew closer every Marine became tense and silent.  We were entering a foreign land where the people looked and spoke different from us.  Everyone was tense, except for me.  I felt a strong inner glow as if I was arriving home after a long and troubled journey.  First Haiku and now this, my dream was beginning to take shape. 

My first year in Asia was nothing short of spectacular.  I visited Japan, Okinawa, the Philippines, Taiwan and the Gulf of Tonkin.  I was in Tokyo for the 1964 Olympic games.   I partied with then super star William Holden in Hong Kong and I was still a teenager.  Damn!  So when I was ordered back to America I quickly began seeking a way to return.  I found a group of Marines forming what we called a rag squadron that would go to Asia so I volunteered to join them and it happened.  But this time was far different than my first experience.  This time I arrived in Da Nang, Vietnam and was given grenades and bullets and put on another airplane heading to Chu Lai.  Dream gone, replaced with pure hell. 

A little over a year later I returned home and was quickly discharged from the United States Marine Corps.  While I was in Vietnam my mother introduced me to a woman named Janet who began writing to me.  She seemed interesting and she was pretty, but when I arrived back home I was in no condition for any kind of a “relationship.”  So when I asked dear old mom to please pick me up at the airport I also asked her to PLEASE don’t bring anyone else, I am just not ready yet.  So, of course, mom showed up with Janet.  Worse, later that night mom basically shoved Janet and I into a bedroom.  Now after 13 months in Vietnam what do you think might happen? 

The problem here, and it was a big one, is that I had been given zero time to regain some sense of humanity.  So yes Janet and I had lots of sex, she eventually became pregnant and we got married.  But from day one it was a marriage from hell.  Too many years later it ended brutally.  In the interim I had managed to become a lawyer but I no longer cared and so after finalizing the divorce I quickly packed up and moved to Southern, California and that is when my true dreams began to slowly reemerge.

It didn’t take long before I found myself doing two things I enjoy, public relations and talk radio.  As that was coming together I began once again seeking female companionship but this time drawing upon my previous experiences in Asia I looked to Asia for a companion.  Many letters were exchanged and over time I became increasingly drawn to one young lady from the Philippines.  Her name was Nenita and she became very alluring to me.  So in pursuit of my dream I bought a ticket for Hong Kong where she was working at the time. 

The following morning after my arrival I was sitting in the lobby of the Park Hotel in Kowloon, Hong Kong when in walked a stunningly beautiful young woman. She had shiny long black hair.  She was wearing a double breasted black and white checked top and box pleated black and white checked skirt and her deep brown eyes were riveting. 

We spent a week together and I was totally convinced that at least one element of my dream would soon be fulfilled.  But on my flight home I had to spend overnight in Japan.  I had no doubt about Nenita but I did worry a little about me.  So I deliberately took myself to a Japanese girlie bar and was soon joined by a lovely young lady who expressed amorous intentions.  She was very pretty but I looked at her and saw Nenita so I said good night and left.  Getting closer to that dream. 

Our next stop was Honolulu.  There I stopped in a shop and bought a postcard.  I addressed it to Nenita and wrote: “Would you marry me?,  Love Ron.”

By October of 1984 I had returned to Hong Kong and on the 30th day we were wed.  A big part of my dream was now fulfilled.  It took a couple of months for the paperwork to get done but soon Nenita joined me in Burbank, California where we have lived ever since.  Now it was time to expand upon my greater dream and that meant travel. 

Since we have been married we have visited Hawaii, San Francisco, Chicago, the Philippines, New York, Miami, London, Morocco, Peru, Canada, Singapore, Mexico and more.  Recently Nenita and our two daughters Kimberly and Kari and out granddaughter Somaya took a two week trip through London, Brussels, Koln, Paris and Reims.  It was glorious and my larger dream has been fulfilled. 

Now as I approach the inevitable I do so with a sense of true deep fulfillment.  Our oldest daughter is still facing some struggles but now she is facing them and I am confident she will emerge ultimately happy with her life.  Our youngest daughter is days away from receiving her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Southern California and because she is of our blood she is already planning on exploring much more of the world. 

So yes it has been a long and often difficult journey but once I discovered my dreams and committed to realizing them it happened.  Life has become totally meaningful and filled mostly with great joy and so I say again by all means follow your dreams, even when, no especially when life seems harsh or negative for when you follow your dreams you conquer life rather allowing the dark side to conquer you.  Or perhaps as they say at USC, “Fight On!”


Never Ever Quit

We know plenty of people who have set out on a particular path only to quit when they are faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles.  This is true in virtually all if not all human endeavors.  Perhaps it is in pursuit of higher education.  Sure, you got admitted to the college you wanted to attend.  Then you began your studies and along the way began to feel insecure.  Would you pass all of your courses?  What would happen to your scholarship money if you failed a course?  How the hell are you going to pay next semesters tuition?  Ah geez you got sick and missed two weeks of classes.  And the challenges just keep right on building until one day you decide that maybe this dream just wasn’t right for you.  You were seeking success, real success and you thought you had it in hand and then along came trials, tribulations and ever escalating doubt until you finally just pulled the plug and walked away. 

Or perhaps it is the matter of employment.  Everyone is telling you that this is the best the job market has been in years and yet after twelve job interviews you still haven’t received one offer.  Then finally you do get a job but shortly after starting to work it just doesn’t feel right.  It is an experience well below your expectations and with each passing day just getting up and going to work gets harder and harder and harder until finally you simply quit.  Now what? 

And this list of challenges is infinite and unending and every single human on earth has his or her own experiences.  But it is not so much a question of how to avoid getting into such tough situations but rather how do you handle them?  I firmly believe that the great Sir Winston Churchill had the right answer when he said: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

So you say what the heck is Churchill saying, that we should all go from failure to failure with joy and enthusiasm?  Not exactly.  The simple truth is that we all face challenges on a regular basis.  Sometimes they prevent us from achieving a particular goal or series of goals.  It happens to everyone on earth including the most successful people but those who ultimately win are those who simply refuse to quit.  Consider this:

Steven Spielberg was rejected three times by the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television.  Stephen King’s first novel “Carrie” was rejected 30 times before it was published.  Once published it quickly became a reader’s favorite and spawned four movies and a Broadway musical.  The Beatles were rejected by Decca Records executive Dick Rowe because he said “They had no future in the business.”  Wonder how Dick Rowe’s career developed?  Steve Jobs was fired by Apple Computer the company he launched.  Fortunately for Apple he was invited back and helped Apple achieve massive success.  After only one performance Elvis Presley was fired by Jimmy Denny, manager of the “Grand Ole Opry.”  Denny reportedly told Presley: “You ain’t going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck.”  J. K. Rowling was rejected by a dozen publishers before the highly successful launch of her Harry Potter series.  Everyone of these people could easily have simply said “F it” and walked away.  But knowingly or not they all subscribed to the wisdom of Churchill and went from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm and thus obviously became highly successful each in their own way. 

So perhaps now armed with this insight when you are next confronted with seemingly insurmountable challenges along your personal path to success and happiness you will have the courage to simply never, ever quit and in so doing you will greatly elevate your opportunity for achieving great success.  It may be a cliché’ but it is also absolutely true.  Winners never quit and quitters never win. 


‘Mother F**ker With the Hat’  a review

Let’s just begin with the title to this show.  It is perhaps one of the weirdest and possibly most provocative I have ever seen.  Yet as the story unfolds it makes sense and it was after all written by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis.  It is also directed by multiple award winning Gloria Gifford and staged at her new Gloria Gifford Conservatory in Hollywood.  Oh and what a tale is told.  Though billed as a dark comedy I saw much more.

It begins with Jackie, recently released from prison after serving time for dealing drugs and his smoking hot but sadly addicted girlfriend Veronica.  Later we meet Ralph, Jackie’s sponsor in a 12 step program.  As their relationship is revealed it become clear that Ralph may very well not be the best possible sponsor for Jackie or for anyone else for that matter.  Two other characters come into play, Victoria, Ralph’s wife and Cousin Julio, Jackie’s cousin.

Central to the theme is a hat Jackie finds in Veronica’s apartment.  It is a man’s hat and not belonging to Ralph.  This sparks a jealous rage in Jackie and eventually causes him to shoot the hat in the apartment of the man he believes owns the hat and who he assumes was also playing around with his girlfriend.  Jackie eventually learns that the man he assaulted did not own the hat but someone else close to him did own it.  That revelation comes only after Jackie learns that he will soon be returning to prison for a parole violation.

If all of this seems a bit confusing it can be at times.  And yes there is indeed plenty of dark humor but there is also a real look at issues of addiction, the veracity of 12 step programs and the many struggles pretty much everyone faces at some level during their lives, because dark as it may be “Mother F**ker With the Hat” does present some very powerful real life emotions and conflicts that can arise in a variety of relationships. As the show draws to its conclusion I also got a sense that in its very own unique way it also presented one very powerful if indeed troubled but passionate and undying love.

This show is not for everyone.  Certainly no children and anyone sensitive to an abundance of profanity should stay away.  However I am willing to bet that pretty much everyone over the age of 30 can relate to at least of most of the components of this story.  You may have never used drugs and most people have never sold drugs but pretty everyone at the very least knows someone who is a drug user and/or alcoholic which is just another form of drug.  We have known of at least one family member, co-worker or friend who has had difficulties related to drug or alcohol abuse.  And as for the language, well I submit that pretty much everyone in our world has used or at the very least heard most if not all of the curse words used in this show.  So again I say that “Mother F**ker With the Hat” is heavily rooted in reality and its presentation is indeed humorous and intriguing and fun to watch being played out.

“Mother F**ker With the Hat” Is playing now through August 26th  2018 at the Gloria Gifford Conservatory, 6502 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, California 90038.  With performances Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 7:30 p.m. reservations may be made by calling 310-366-5505 and tickets may be purchased online at:  www.tix.com.  The show is triple cast but the team I saw on opening night were absolutely superb and having seen several Gloria Gifford productions I am confident that the other two casts are equally impressive. Kudos to Gloria and her highly talented team. 

 


‘On Your Feet’ wins the world – a review

 

From Broadway, all across America and heading for London’s West End the smash hit musical “On Your Feet” has arrived at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood and what a magnificent show it is.   Opening with a spectacular light show and soul grabbing music the audience enjoys meeting the young Cuban immigrant Gloria Fajardo Garcia with amazing song writing and vocal skills.  Then she meets a very handsome somewhat older man with a band.  The man is Emilio Estefan and his band is called the Miami Latin Boys.  There is an instant attraction and Emilio invites Gloria to visit his band during an upcoming rehearsal.  There is instant magic and it doesn’t take long before that the Miami Latin Boys name just won’t cut it anymore and soon the Miami Sound Machine is born.

As this is all played out the audience is treated to nonstop great Estefan music.  Anything for You, Coming Out of the Dark, Con los Anos Que Me Quedan, and one super hit you simply cannot sit still for, Conga.  Oh yes and there is more, much more.

It is the story of the love and life of Gloria and Emilio Estefan and each and every glorious moment is beautifully presented in a way that is unforgettable. Of course there are disappointments because it is life, real life with the added element of an immigrant perspective making it all that more compelling amidst the current events in our nation.  There is one scene that totally rocked the audience.  Gloria and Emilio go to New York City to meet with the manager of their record label.  Their goal is to expand beyond the Spanish language market to the broader English language market.  They have the songs and the talent but the manager refuses to accept their proposal because they are, after all, not exactly “American.”  A very outraged Emilio gets right up into the managers face and says:  “…this is my home and you should look very closely at my face because whether you know it or not this is what an American looks like.”  The audience exploded in applause and cheers.

Throughout the show we see the incredible positive energy of Gloria and Emilio Estefan and a never wavering abundance of love.  While a lot of people may well have simply accepted the record labels rejection and crawled away, not the Estefans.  They got down in the trenches and built the Miami Sound Machine into a multi Grammy award winning mega success blessing the world with a massive list of unforgettable music.

But yes, of course, it is also an exposition of how immigrants remain often the focus of hostility in America with comments like “go home” and other insults still far too common.  When you think about it such an attitude is truly bizarre because every single American alive today came from immigrant roots.  Yet there is no denying that there indeed does remain some extra challenges to contemporary immigrants in America.

What makes this show so compelling beyond the steady flow of heart grabbing music is the pure positive energy and nonstop commitment to success and love shown by Gloria and Emilio Estefan meeting and conquering every set back and challenge.  Before your eyes and ears is a message of passion, commitment and love all too rare in our world.  Delivering this story requires extraordinary talent and that is provided superbly by Mauricio Martinez as Emilio and Christie Prades as Gloria and every other cast member under the direction of Jerry Mitchell and choreography of Sergio Trujillo.  But I did have one thought about what it must have been like for Mauricio Martinez and Christie Prades to do their job while seeing Gloria Estefan and Emilio Estafan sitting right there watching it all unfold,  Unnerving?  Could be, but it is a true masterpiece of entertainment so my super kudos to all.

There is not one moment that is anything short of totally entertaining.  On a very personal note very early in the show there is scene where Gloria’s dad is in the American Military serving in Vietnam.  There year was 1966 and I remember it well because I too was in the Marine Corps in Vietnam in 1966 so in some strange esoteric way I had an immediate connection I was not expecting.  What you can expect however is about two hours or so of great entertainment that will stay with you forever.

The show runs now through July 29th at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, so do no miss out on this exceptional and beautiful show.  Just click here https://www.hollywoodpantages.com/ for show dates and times and purchase tickets.  Then prepare yourself for some of the very best entertainment in the world today.


America – A Nation in Distress

When I was a young boy I remember with glee the pure joy of every 4th of July.  There was always a parade and every kid in town decorated his or her bicycle and many attached playing cards with clothes pins so that as the wheel turned the spokes would hit the cards making the bicycle sound somewhat like a motorcycle.  There would be bands playing music and military and former military men and women marching.  It was a beautiful day capped off with a dazzling night of fireworks and everyone was proud to be an American.  We had just ended World War Two in victory and the nation rejoiced. 

Then came the Korean War, called the Korean conflict by the politicians who knew we as a country didn’t want any more war.  Not very long after that debacle which resolved absolutely nothing and which never actually formally ended things began to heat up in Vietnam.  As that war progressed from bad to very bad resulting in a never ending stream of sometimes violent protests across our land and ultimately the death of more than 58,000 Americans and more than 3 million Vietnamese and a victory for our enemy North Vietnam a major shift in America had taken place. 

Personally I actually volunteered to be a United States Marine and eventually I even volunteered to serve in Vietnam.  I shall be forever proud of my service as a Marine, but much of what I witnessed in Vietnam deeply disgusted me.  That said I still maintained great pride in my nation, but now that feeling has been deeply challenged. 

Just the other night I heard a story on television news that made me instantly thoroughly enraged so much so that I began thinking of just where else other than America I might want to move to.  The TV news report stated that about 1500 children have recently been separated from their parents by ICE agents.  The parents of these children were allegedly illegal immigrants and had to be deported, but the children, having been born in America were American citizens and therefore would remain here but not with their parents but rather in some lifeless refugee camp run by the Department of Human Services.

So utterly disturbing was this tid bit of news that I began looking a little deeper and was horrified to learn that this practice has been going on for several years resulting in more than 71000 deportations of parents separated from their children.  This is a pure disgrace and shall forever tarnish what was once a truly great nation.  Every Congress person who does not immediately seek to end this horror deserves to be voted out of office regardless of party affiliation.  Oh but what are they to do you ask, we cannot just let everyone come into our country.  I mean if you really want to know how bad an open door policy can be, just ask any of the 562 Indian Nations, Tribes and Pueblos how well it has worked for them.  That said there really is a rational solution.

Any man or woman who seeks to live in America may apply for a residency permit which will be granted when the applicant can prove that he or she has gainful employment and no criminal history.  The process should be made fast and simple so there would be no valid reason for avoiding the process.  Once residency has been granted, and application for citizenship should be made available ten years after lawful entry upon demonstration that the applicant remains gainfully employed and free of any criminal actions.  Done.  And what of all who are already here illegally?

Simple.  Once apprehended they would be sat down and walked through the lawful residency request process and their applications would be given top priority and they would be allowed to remain in our country with their children until their application was processed.  Yes, they would need to have a periodic check in process which they would be required to maintain but which would not be unnecessarily onerous.  I can’t with absolute certainty claim that everyone who goes through this process would be accepted because some do indeed take up criminal activity such as the notorious MS-13 gangsters, but I can say that a whole lot of otherwise very decent people would be welcomed and their children would not have to face the horror that so many now face. 

Just pause for a moment and think what it would have been like if you had been forcibly taken from your parents when you were but five years old and placed in a government detention center.  How long would your tears have shed, how crushed would your heart be?  Hey, President Trump, want to make America great again?  Good than put an end to this atrocity. 

 


One Man’s Story

Finding an actor in my hometown of Burbank, California is about as rare as finding trees in the forest.  I have over many years observed that if you were to drop dead while walking down a street in Burbank you would hit three actors before landing on the ground.   But meeting an actor who possess everything one needs to become a truly successful actor, now that is extremely rare and yet only recently it happened to me. 

One afternoon I was walking my dog, Princess Patsy, her Royal Muttness when I met my friend and neighbor Rick.  We began chatting and soon there appeared another man who could not be ignored.  He was at least 6 feet 7 inches tall and topped off with an impressive bundle of hair that took him to at least seven feet.  He joined in our conversation and spoke nothing about anything vaguely related to Hollywood; just basic guy stuff and I learned that this very tall man’s name was Victor Onuigbo and that he began his life in Nigeria.  Actually I think he is just covering up that he in fact began his life in Wakanda but what do I know. 

But as our conversation progressed Victor’s demeanor was constantly friendly and bright and the nature of our discussion revealed that he was also extremely witty and intelligent.  So here was a man whose vision could simply not be ignored with a very happy and pleasant attitude, a pleasing voice and clearly a sharp wit.  Clearly this guy was not yet another actor. So I asked him “Victor, what kind of work do you do?” to which he cheerfully replied “I am an actor.”  But that was it, there was no bragging about TV shows or movies just a simple modest statement that he was an actor.  Then I knew I had met a man who was on his way to a night in the Spring of some year not too far off walking on a red carpet in front of the Dolby Theatre. 

But later I did look him up on IMDb, a data base of absolutely anyone who has ever done anything even remotely connected to film or television and sure enough he had some very impressive credential’s; not yet “star” level but clearly headed in that direction. 

Later in other conversations I learned that Victor Onuigbo had been born in Nigeria to a very strong family with a father who was a very well-known and greatly respected physician.  But not too long after his birth the government in Nigeria began showing signs of great difficulty and their future looked grim so dad left for America to begin building a new life. 

That task was extremely difficult because for his father to resume practicing medicine he had to once again go through internship and residency and then take and pass medical board examinations.  While doing this money became very tight and the family was under stress but they pulled together and dad was successful.  It was that level of drive that inspired Victor to achieve his own level of success his own way.  Victor did recall that at around age 3 or 4 he and his family lived in Houston, Texas but didn’t particularly care for their life there so they moved up to a better life in Baltimore, Maryland where Victor lived until about age 14 and then it was on to Eau Claire, Wisconsin and the beginnings of a real commitment to his future in Science and Engineering Management.  He narrowed down his choices for college to the Wharton School and Stanford University and eventually chose Stanford which he loved.  He graduated ahead of scheduled and took a job with Caesars Gaming Industries in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The pay was excellent but he didn’t much care for Las Vegas or the job so he came a little bit further west and began to shift his focus to acting.  It didn’t take long for him to land a recurring role on the hit TV series “Shameless.” 

After a great deal of internal exploring of his heart, mind and soul Victor Onuigbo is now totally committed to fully developing his acting career.  He is not at all interested in being a “star” or parading around on a red carpet; rather he treats his new focus with the same commitment to detail as he employed when working in the field of Science and Engineering Management and that is one of the many persuasive reasons why I see Victor Onuigbo as a very real star in the making because he fully understands that “show business” is made up of two words and that the second word – business – has twice the letters and ten times the importance of the first word.  Watch out Hollywood, Victor Onuigbo has arrived and he is ready to rock. 

 


A very special treat for all true theatre buffs.  Just click on the cover to your left, order and ENJOY!  


Benazir!

In the afternoon of December 27th 2007 former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto gave a speech at a Pakistan Peoples Party rally held in Rawalpindi’s Liaquat National Bagh.  After delivering her speech she, Benazir, entered a bullet proof car and departed the area.  Along her route there was a man on a mission.  As the car with Benazir approached the location of that man Benazir opened the top hatch of the vehicle so she could stand up and wave to the assembled crowd.  It was then that the man on the mission fired three shots at Benazir and then detonated a suicide vest filled with explosives and ball bearings.  He was no more than nine feet away from Benazir and so it is unclear whether it was the bullets or the shrapnel that killed her but what was instantly undeniable that Benazir Bhutto twice Prime Minister of Pakistan was dead, slain by an assassin

For those who knew her well her assassination was deeply tragic but not totally unexpected.  Benazir Bhutto came from a politically prominent family, was well educated having studied at both Harvard and the University of Oxford.  She was a passionate woman driven by a deep love of her people and she was the first woman ever elected to high political office in the predominantly Muslim nation of Pakistan which meant she also had plenty of powerful enemies. 

Benazir’s spiritual sister hails from neighboring India and her name is Aasha Gowda.  They both came from politically and socially prominent families and they both share a passion for fairness and equality for women regardless of their religious persuasion.  But unlike Benazir, Aasha immigrated to America in 1999 to pursue a career in computer coding.  That brought here to Hollywood and Disney Studios where she entered and won an in house competition for the final episode of “Lost” the TV series.  But she was denied the prize because at the time Aasha was a consultant to Disney and not an employee.  What she did gain from the experience was an open door to pitch show and movie ideas to Disney executives.  Then she became totally enraptured by the life of her spiritual twin Benazir and Aasha began working on a film script for a movie she has entitled “Benazir.”  

To add reality and powerful insight to her project she recently paid a visit to former Vermont Senator and American Diplomat Peter Galbraith.  Over the years Galbraith had befriended Benazir and has a significant amount of knowledge on a vast variety of elements that impacted both Benazir Bhutto and the country of Pakistan including some rare insights on Benazir’s assignation.    All of the details Galbraith shared with Aasha shall forever remain secret but I was told by Aasha that what she learned will add even more punch to her screen play and book.

As this is being written final script details are being worked out as are details for her book about Benazir.  While there are still many details to worked out, given the abundance and importance of the details she now possesses Aasha Gowda is extremely confident of a successful movie and book.  I also had the opportunity to speak at length with her producer Paul Gant and his enthusiasm was inspiring and much of the necessary funding, I was told,  is already in place. 

So when you put it all together, the first woman in history to achieve top political office in a Muslim nation, deeply loved by her people, murdered by a suicide bomber and her story soon to be told by her spiritual sister Aasha Gowda with the extraordinarily powerful insights of former American Senator and Diplomat Peter Galbraith this is one project deserving of full attention.  I know I will be in constant contact with Aasha, her Producer Paul Gant and all others that come on board and I will be reporting to you.  This really is something very very big. 

 

 

Benazir Bhutto

Aasha Gowda


The Lady in Motion

I recently heard of a woman in the greater Los Angeles area who had earned a remarkable reputation as one of the most effective and compelling instructors in the art of greater health, better movement and far less pain through her own style and application of yoga. joga, kinesiology and exercise physiology.  She is the founder and owner of both Champion Pilates and Body by Jessica and her client list is filled with some of the biggest names in Hollywood.  I very much wanted to meet this lady Jessica Schatz and learn more of her professional life as a preeminent health and fitness coach, a subject long dear to me. 

We decided to meet at the Chado Tea Room, the perfect place located right next to the main door to the Dolby Theatre where once every year the Hollywood elite show up to participate in the great celebration of Oscar.  Chado Tea Room is also a perfect spot for anyone who enjoys great tea and well prepared and mostly very healthy food. 

I arrived early as is my habit but not long after so did the very lovely Jessica Schatz, the Core Expert and personal trainer to A list movie stars and NBA players.  We ordered some hibiscus tea and began our chat.

From a very young age Jessica Schatz had been fascinated with movement.  She began to dance and soon became professionally engaged on stage in various productions in San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Today she is far too busy to resume theatre work but she does train one of the cast members of Hamilton currently at the Pantages Theatre.  Her philosophy is founded on her belief that everyone has the opportunity to live a better life.  Her goal is to give each client the power to shape their lives from the inside out starting with the core and then connecting mind, body and spirit. 

But beyond the obvious connection with movie stars and professional athletes Jessica Schatz reaches out to many people including one elderly gentleman she holds very dear to her heart.  This particular gentleman suffers from Parkinson’s disease, a horrible disease for which there is no known cure and which gets progressively worse over time.  So Jessica makes no claim of curing the man, but it makes her extremely happy to see him in much less pain than when she first started working with him.  Sadly yes the Parkinson’s remains but today with less pain and far better movement a very powerful benefit for a now much happier man. 

As Jessica continued to tell me about her work and philosophy I thoroughly enjoyed her soothing voice that delivered her very important message.  I also enjoyed with great humor the actions of s small group of tourists that had entered the tea room.  When they saw Jessica they became very excited and started talking gleefully amongst themselves and then they started taking a few photographs of Jessica.  She didn’t notice any of it I am certain, but it brought amusement to me so in the end it was a perfect moment.  A brilliant and beautiful lady, excellent tea and superb light snack, a focus on great health and wellbeing sprinkled with a fun dose of humor all taking place at a world renowned location.   

To learn more about this amazing lady you may visit her website: jessicaschatz.com -OR- just click on the photo above.  



Miramar Airshow – a Salute to Vietnam Veterans

The annual air show is under way right now at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, California and it is spectacular.  The gates open at 8:00 a.m. By 9:00 a.m. renowned stunt pilot Sean D. Tucker takes to the air in his Oracle Challenger II airplane.  Then is off to the air power and Marine Corps races with a never ending stream eye popping demonstrations involving several different aircraft including the amazing AV-8B Harrier with its vertical takeoff and landing capabilities.  The U. S. Army’s Golden Knights parachute team is true sky poetry in motion and they are followed by equally as impressive U. S. Navy’s Leap Frogs Parachute team. 

The United States Marine Corps, Third Marine Aircraft Wing marching band entertains with their precision and dazzling execution including, of course, the United States Marine Corps hymn.  But it is in the afternoon when the skies just explode with utterly amazing flight demonstrations from The Patriots Jet Team followed by the never to be missed true aviation super stars, the Blue Angeles.  For 71 years the Blues have entertained, dazzled and deeply impressed millions of people all over the globe. 

Beyond the flight line there many aircraft and other military vehicles on static display.  I even saw two aircraft I had personally seen well over 50 years ago.  One was a A6A Intruder from VMA(AW) 242 when I severed in that, the first ever Marine Corps A6A squadron at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina.  The other was an A4 Skyhawk which was in Chu Lai, Vietnam when I was in Chu Lai, Vietnam.  But even if that little slice of personal nostalgia doesn’t move you  there is so much to see and enjoy including a row of booths representing most if not all of the units currently operating out of MCAS Miramar.

On Friday, I along with about 200 other Vietnam Veterans were acknowledged and “Pinned” in honor of our service in Vietnam.  This modest but very moving ceremony took place directly in front of a scaled down version of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall that bears the names of more than 58,000 American men and women who died while in service of their country in the Republic of Vietnam. 

MCAS Miramar is located in north eastern San Diego between the 805 and 15 freeways.  Parking is free as is general admission.  However there are also various other seating and chalet options available.  For further information you may call:  http://www.miramarairshow.com/.  And by all means even if you cannot make the show this year do put in your to do list for next September.