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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Personal Ramblings - Film "Blood and Bone" Picked up by Sony

Good news for a film I co-produced / line produced last year. Congratulations to everyone involved......

*The underground fighting drama "Blood and Bone," toplined by actor Michael Jai White, was picked up by Sony Picutres Worldwide Acquisitions Group on the eve of the Sundance Film Festival, reports Variety.

White plays an ex-con who takes the underground fighting world by storm in his quest to fulfill a promise to a dead friend.

Eamonn Walker, Julian Sands, Nona Gaye and Kimbo Slice round out the cast. Ben Ramsey directed the picture penned by screenwriter Michael Andrews.

Saturday's Motivational Videos - Cynthia Kersey

Friday, February 27, 2009

Book Review - "Next Stop - Growing Up Wild-Style in the Bronx"

Another post about my roots in the Bronx. "NEXT STOP" is a fascinating book that takes me back to my days in the same neighborhood of the Bronx that the author lived in. It's a penetrating look at life in the 80's and 90's in the Kingsbridge Road area of the Northwest Bronx. Ivan Sanchez takes the reader into his world of poverty, crime, drugs, despair and death. It's a brutal and sad story yet unfortunately very true. Ivan who was born in the Bronx in 1972 and was able to escape in 1993 and recreate himself and create a new life for himself and his family in Virginia.

Ivan is a couple of generation younger than me and his world of the Bronx was a darker, more violent and destructive one than my experiences in the Bronx. I also grew up with the poverty, drugs, arson and crime in the South Bronx. The two different factors in my days were guns weren't as widespread and while heroin use was epidemic it didn't compare to the destructive nature of the crack epidemic. I also took a different path than Ivan when I was a teen. I took a path that would take me down a different road.

I moved to the Kinsgsbridge Area of the Bronx in the early 70's from the South Bronx where I was born and lived all my life. I moved there to organize for a radical/revolutionary anti drug organization that was associated with the Puerto Rican Young Lords Party. I spent four years in that neighborhood organizing.

I moved back to Ivan's neighborhood in the 80's from Chicago. I worked for a period of time with a local community organization the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition. I returned to the Bronx to start over and try to find myself and create a new life for myself. I left the Bronx in 1991 after attending the funerals of ex-girlfriend of mine who died of AIDS. I left for California to start over again and recreate myself. It was the best decision I ever made. I've been back to the Bronx many times since then to connect up with old friends. I also wonder how I survived it and how I created the life I have now and I am both amazed and grateful. I will be writing more about my life growing up in the Bronx

I came across the book "Next Stop" while browsing in Barnes and Nobles. The book may be about a world that you are unfamiliar with but it is a universal experience and ultimately a hopeful story that is worth the read. Ivan Sanchez shares the stories of his life and the lessons he learned the hard way. Check it out.....

Thought for the Day - "You Gotta Work"

"Some people dream of success... while others wake up and work hard at it." ~
Author Unknown

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Personal Ramblings - Oprah's Show Today with Wounded Warriors at Walter Reed Hospital

The Oprah Winfrey show today will interview wounded warriors at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Oprah's film crew visited with the wounded warriors and family members in the Military Advanced Training Center which is a rehabilitation facility supporting amputees and others at Walter Reed.

Several Soldiers will be featured. It was filmed before a live audience and looks like a very moving show. Check it out.....

Support the Wounded Warriors Project:
and other programs that aided wounded soldiers.

Thought for the Day - "Just Do It"

"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we
must do."

~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

My daughter when she was little would answer me back when I told her I would think about it by saying, " Don't Think about it Daddy, Just Do it". Yes indeed, Just Do It....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Personal Ramblings - Letter to a Young Percussionist

My best friend from the Bronx published this on his blog. It's a good read and some good advice for anyone mastering a craft....

Message to a young percussionist.......
I'm not going to preach to anyone. It never did me much good. Rare is the individual wise enough to learn from observing and listening to others talk about their mistakes and not make the same ones. The human ego is such that we believe that we are immune and therefore must go through it ourselves to learn some of life's valuable lessons. No I will not preach, but rapidly coming up on 60 years of age, 37 years of which was spent playing my drums professionally, I can share some of my experiences which some of you may take to heart.
On the subject of talent let me say this. Our talent should be a source of humility. Some of us are born with more or less talent and Ive seen many with lots of natural talent never get where they wanted to go because of how they carried the gift around......

Read more :

Thanks to Willie Everich

Thought for the Day - "Little Engine that Could"

Are you the Little Engine that Could or Eeyore?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Personal Ramblings - Books, Books and more Books

As usual I'm on a reading blast. Here are the books on my table to read in the next month or two.....

Next Stop - Growing Up Wild Style in the Bronx - Ivan Sanchez
The Power Of Story - Change Your Story, Change Your Destiny in Business and Life - Jim Loeher
A Whole New mind - Why Right Brainers Will Rule the World - Daniel H. Pink
Are You Somebody - The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman - Nuala O'Faolain
All Souls - A Family Story From Southie (second time I'm reading) - Michael Patrick McDonald

Of course I'm still reading my usual monthly magazines:

Fast Company
Movie Maker

And my list of must read books keeps growing by leaps and bounds. Now if I could only turn my reading into a income stream... Hmmmm.....

Thought for the Day - "What are you paying attention to?"

" A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest"
Paul Simon
What are you listen to and paying attention to and what are you disregarding that maybe you shouldn't.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Thought for the Day - "Healthy Skepticism"

"I don't necessarily agree with everything I say"
Marshall Mcluhan

This is a lesson I've learned a few times in my life. There were periods in my life that I believed that all my ideas were truth and I was clearly right and others wrong. I've later came to appreciate that all my dogmas were based on a lack of experience, knowledge and wisdom. I have come to develop a healthy skepticism and a openness to changing and revising my ideas. McLuhan captures it well.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Personal Ramblings - "The Wrestler" & Mickey Rourke

I recently saw the "The Wrestler". Worth seeing and Mickey Rourke deserved the Academy Award for his acting as Randy "The Ram" Robinson. I didn't watch the Oscars, too boring for me but Mickey Rourke was robbed in my opinion. The choice was clearly political. I think Mickey had a great line in an interview with Barbara Walter's before the Oscar's where he said "he would be honored to win the Oscar but ...... it wouldn't get him in to heaven".

Years ago during Mickey's worst period he was hired to work in a movie I was line producing and it didn't work out well and he was let go on his first day after much conflict with the producer. It was rather tragic but Mickey has made a great return and i wish him the best.

The movie "The Wrestler" is a film imitating life. It is the the exact opposite of the "Rocky" story. It's a hard to watch movie but worth the time spent going through the pain of the character Randy "The Ram's" life.

Go see it, it's a must see and I hope this role is a new beginning for Mickey......

Sunday's Eclectic Music Videos 2009 # 2 - Dead and Gone

Sunday's Eclectic Music Videos 2009 # 1 -My Next Thirty Years

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Personal Ramblings - Life of Purpose

Friday morning I went to Santa Monica Pier to offer support to the Soldier's Ride of the Wounded Warriors Project. The ride is a bike ride by wounded soldiers and their supporters. I had a chance to talk to a couple of participants and was impressed by the spirit, motivation and sense of purpose of these wounded soldiers many who have lost limbs and suffered other serious injuries. I always find that whenever I volunteer I end up getting back more than i give. I came away with a renewed sense of perspective and motivation for my life. If you get a chance to support Wounded Warriors or similar projects I recommend you make the time to do it.

Saturday's Motivational Videos - Patrick Dixon

Friday, February 20, 2009

Personal Ramblings - Cha...Cha...Changes....

Life has a way sometimes of making sure you are aware of the lessons you need to learn or reminding you of the lessons you have learned already. Today was one of those times. I went to the gym for a much needed workout after fighting a flu for too many weeks. After my workout I'm standing in the locker room and there is a guy wearing a t-shirt with a communist hammer and sickle on it and I'm standing there wearing a t-shirt with a US Marine Corp emblem on it. What a contrast. Twenty five years ago our positions would have been reversed. Cha....Cha... Changes. I've lived a very interesting life and I was just reminded of one part of it.

Thought for the Day - "Fully Engage"

"If you must, then multi-task when it doesn't matter. Fully engage when it does."
Jim Loehr

Jim Loeher's book the "Power of Story" talks about the importance of going from absenteeism to presenteeism to full engagement.
Have you ever been fully engaged in any activity and think about the difference it how you felt and performed versus just being present.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thought for the Day - "Shoot for the Moon"

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."

--Les Brown

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Thought for the Day - Philosophy of Life

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
Learn as if you were to live forever."
— Mahatma Gandhi:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Thought for the Day - "Thank God, the Horsie didn't Poop"

"Thank God, the Horsie didn't Poop"
A cousin's daughter

I heard this story from my cousin who told me her twelve year old daughter was thrown violently from a horse she was riding and landed on her face. She had a mouth full of dirt when she was picked up. She was hurting but luckily not too bad. Her younger five year old sister put her hands on her hips and said, "Thank God, the Horsie didn't Poop". It brought a smile to my cousin.

I thought about it and it seemed like a great metaphor for life. When you land flat on your face in life it could always be worse.
Out of the mouths of babes..... "Thank God, the Horsie didn't Poop" So dust your self off, put it in perspective and maybe even chuckle at it as your think about it..... "Thank God, the Horsie didn't Poop"

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thought for the Day - We See Things as We Are

"We don't see things as they are; we see things as we are."
Anais Nin

Think about this one. We all like to believe that what ever we think or believe are true but I would challenge you to question what assumptions and filters you have created to view the world with.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Thought for the Day - Mysteries of Life

"At times we shall simply have to admit that, one way or
another, what we can neither explain nor understand
certainly doesn't cease to exist because we cannot
see how it does or why it should."
— Dr. Mark Hyman:

I've had or observed a few of these "miracles" recently in my life and yes I have to agree.....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thought For the Day - Hold On To Your Dreams

"Hold Fast To Dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. "

--Langston Hughes

Monday, February 09, 2009

Thought For the Day - Maybe Yes, Maybe No

"Maybe Yes, Maybe No"
John Duffy

Over time I have developed a philosophy or attitude of "Maybe Yes, Maybe No". I wasn't even consciously aware of how often I would say it until a director I was working with on a movie in South Carolina "Who's Your Caddy?" put a sign with that quote on my office wall. He brought it to my attention and he thought it was funny. The context of it was the director would always ask me what I thought about some problem that arose and he would ask me if it was bad and I would answer maybe yes, maybe no. At one point the lead of our movie dropped out a couple of weeks before shooting and he said "this is really bad" and of course I said maybe yes, maybe no. It turned out to be a good thing as we replaced him with a better lead and the original lead got arrested a couple of weeks later.

Maybe Yes, Maybe No is my version of the Easter philosophy of Good News, Bad News.? Most of the time you don't really know the answer to that in the moment but only later. What seems good can turn into it's opposite or vice versa.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Thought For the Day - How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything

"How You Do Anything is How You Do Everything"

Think about this one. It's pretty deep. How you play a game is how you play life. What are the patterns you run? Do they serve you or hold you back?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Thought for the Day - Power of One

“When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world.

As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it, too, seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now as I lie on my deathbed, I realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example, I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.”

–From the tomb of an Anglican Bishop in the Crypts of Westminster Abbey

Thanks to Tom Hill

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Thought for the Day - Decide and Become

"Your life becomes the thing you have decided it shall be."
– Raymond Charles Barker

Monday, February 02, 2009

Thought for the Day - The Blind Man

The Blind Man and the Elephant

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant~(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation~Might satisfy his mind.
The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side, ~ At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant ~ Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, "Ho! what have we here?
So very round and smooth and sharp? ~ To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant ~ Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands, ~ Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant ~ Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like ~ Is mighty plain," quoth her;
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant ~ Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most; ~ Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant ~ Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail ~ That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant ~ Is very like a rope!

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion ~ Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right ~ And all were in the wrong!


So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

-John Godfrey Saxe

Does this remind you of anyone? Maybe someone real close? It couldn't be you? Of course not. If you could see me you would notice I'm moving my head up and down. Well I know it has been me at many times in my life. We all need the recognize the limit of our vision and be open to understand beyond our pre-conceived beliefs.....

John Duffy