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Monday, March 31, 2008

Chase Tatum - Rest in Peace Brother

I'm sad to hear of the unexpected death of Chase Tatum. He was a former professional wrestler who acted in the film I co-produced in South Carolina called " Who's Your Caddy?". I remember him putting me through a workout in the local gym in Aiken. We had a good time together and he was a great guy. We met again at the premiere of the movie in Hollywood and talked on the phone after that. Chase will be missed...
Rest in peace Brother......

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Another Door Opens - County Mayo, ireland

Tomorrow I get on a plane and journey back to my parents past and...... Only Time......

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Erin Go Bragh - We are Family

Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

In a few days we will be on a Aer Lingus jet headed to Ireland for the 1st time in my life. We are going to have a reunion with my mother's family in County Mayo. We are connecting with our family for the first time. It's been years since I've focused my attention on Ireland or even the Irish-American experience in America. Yet about nine months ago I started reading books and watching movies on both. Once my relatives connected with us via the Internet and a reunion was planned I stepped up my immersion in things Irish and Ireland. Some books and DVDs I recommend you check out are:

The Pope's Children
All Souls Day
Easter Rising
Angela's Ashes

Black Irish
In America
The Quiet Man
Angela's Ashes

You can find them and more on my links to the right of this.

Watching Angela's Ashes for the first time I was moved by the incredible poverty and suffering of the Irish people at that time in history and thought about my mother and father making the journey to America at age 18-19 to create a better life for themselves. In many ways it's that Ireland that is still stuck in people's mind so when I started reading The Pope's Children which is the #1 Best seller in Ireland I was blown away by the following facts and realities of the New Ireland.

"Today Ireland is the second richest country in the world". "Ireland is becoming the most middle-class suburban nation in Europe". "The Irish score second in the world as describing themselves as happy and 77% say they are proud of Ireland'. Ireland has been a economic miracle and is a global nation. The story of the new Ireland is worth knowing even if you aren't of Irish descent. I will review the fascinating book 'The Pope's Children" in a future post.

Now back to my experiences as a child of Irish immigrants in the Bronx. I remember as a kid being taken every year to the Saint Patrick's Day parade on New York's 5th Ave. The sound of the bagpipes just touched me all the way down to the bone.
It was a great day especially for my mother who always had a dream of returning home to Ireland. She never made the trip but I'm making it for her. I will post my experiences in Ireland and I will celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Foxford with my family. Truly amazing.........

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Book Review - Making the Impossible Possible

I have read well over 500 books in the last fifteen years in the field of motivation, business and personal development but this is one very special book. The author Bill Strickland is truly a unique and amazing individual with a story you just have to read. This book may change your life if you let it. I'm going to let it change mine.

Bill grew up in a ghetto in Manchester, Pittsburgh and witnessed the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968. I remember the time well. I grew up in a ghetto in the South Bronx of New York and watched the riots envelop my neighborhood as well. Through the intervention of one art teacher Bill Strickland finished high school and found his passion that would propel him forward in life. I didn't find that teacher and I dropped out of school and it would take me a while to find my passions.

Bill Strickland went from the Ghetto to Harvard Business School. He went from a poor student facing failure to become the CEO of Manchester Bidwell, a community art-education and job-training center in Pittsburgh. He never took a business course yet his center employs 150 people and services over 1,200 students a year. 90% of the kids get their high school diploma's and 85% go on to college.and 86% of the adult students find good skilled jobs after graduation. This is the definition of success in anyone's book.

What does pottery, airplanes, architecture, jazz and orchids have to do with success? Everything in the life of Mr Strickland and the programs he created to provide an alternative for residents of the ghetto. Read this book to see the most creative use of all of the above.

Bill Strickland shows us how we can change our part of the world we live it and create a life of significance.
One quote especially stands out for me. When he pitched his big ideas for a center and corporations would would say, 'Isn't that elaborate for a poverty center? and he would reply "It's not a poverty center, It's a center for success." He built one of the most impressive center's for success in the country.

Visit his websites to see the Impossible he created.

This book is the story of one of the most innovative visionaries to come along from of all places the ghetto of Pittsburgh,

This is a book I will read more than once. It's a book that is in my top five favorite books. It's a book I will use to inspire myself even further and I recommend you do the same. Read it.... use it.... Make the Impossible Possible in your life.....

Sunday, March 09, 2008


What have you done to make yourself proud? For someone you love? For a friend? For a stranger? For yourself?
It's never too late.........

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Contribution - Personal Philanthropy - Give Back

There are many ways to make a difference. You don't need to be Chuck Feeney (see review below). Give of your time, your skills, your money. It's never too late or too early to contribute. It's never too much or too little to help. Here are just some groups deserving of your contribution:

Six Degrees - Be a Celebrity for Your Cause

Anthony Robbins Foundation - Empowerment

Modest Needs - Small Change - Instant Difference

Make a Wish - Granting the Wishes of Children

Harlem Children's Fund - Education

John Corcoran Foundation - Literacy

Fisher House - Wounded Soldiers

Ashka - Social Entrepreneurs

One Voice Movement - Conflict Resolution in Middle East

What have you done today to make yourself feel proud ?

Book Review - The Billionaire Who Wasn't by Conor O'Cleary

I just read a fascinating book about Chuck Feeney. I never heard about him before and I'm sure you probably haven't either. I picked up the book because of a quote on the back that talks about his contribution to Ireland. Mr Feeney is an Irish-American born in New Jersey to a working class family during the Great Depression. He made his billions creating the Duty Free Shops you see at airports all over the world.

The story especially resonated with me as I am a first generation Irish-American about to make my first trip to Ireland for a family reunion. His story is one of financial success, great contribution and social significance.

The story of how he made his money makes for a great read. The book tells a great story about how he created tax shelters and protected his identity while becoming the the thirty third richest man in the world.

What he has accomplished in the area of philanthropy is even more interesting. He took to heart the spirit of Andrew Carnegie and has promoted the "Giving while Living" philosophy, He has given away through his Atlantic Foundation over $1 billion dollars and is on track to giving away over $4 billion dollars while he is alive. Mr Feeney not only gave away his money but leveraged it by getting countries to match his contributions. business

If that wasn't enough Mr Feeney got involved behind the scenes in trying to support a end to the violence in Norther Ireland and to create the conditions for peace and reconciliation.

The book is truly inspiring and Chuck Feeney is a role model on many levels.

Some of Chuck Feeney's Contributions:

Education in Ireland: He funded all seven universities in the Republic of Ireland and two in Norther Ireland to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Hotel System in Ireland: He built the first large modern hotel in Ireland since WWII, The The Castletroy Park Hotel

Peace in Northern Ireland: Mr Feeney wanted to assist in taking the guns out of Irish politics. He directed over $30 million through his Atlantic Foundation to worthy projects in Northern Ireland including $2.5 million to help Republican and Loyalist ex-prisoners to move into peaceful politics.

It doesn't stop here he continued to fund education in Eastern Europe to support the move towards freedom there and other social projects in South Africa and Vietnam. His focus on finding worthy projects and worthy people provides a lot to learn from. His uniqueness was doing all this while trying to maintain his anonymity and to give credit to others instead of himself.

Mr Feeney is a truly unique individual and his story is one worth reading.