IMPACT ON SALE FOR 99CENTS!!!

Ten year ago I finished work on my first book “LA Player”. A year later, with the help of Chris DeWolfe (Co Founder of Myspace) who did a massive emailing on this ebook’s behalf, “LA Player” went on to be one of the most read ebooks of all time. But after a few years and a false start in the ebook business I took “LA Player” off of the market—for want of updating and hope that ebooks would finally realize their greater potential one day in the future.

This year, ten years after completing “LA Player” I re-released it, updated and with a new title “Impact”. I also added a new ending chapter—Chapter 18. I know for a fact that this book and the ideas that it brought to the world changed a lot of lives, some in the most incredible ways as described in so many emails and phone calls to me over the years. But to this day I have always believed that “IMPACT” the book could do so much more for so many people, so to celebrate the ten year anniversary of this work I’ve lowered its price to .99 cents or as close to FREE as possible because I want everyone to read it!!!

If you’ve gotten everything you’ve ever wanted out of life, you’ll find this book interesting because it will give you an understanding of why things went so well for you. If you haven’t achieved as much as you think you should have to this point in your life—this book is an absolute must read for you. And at close to FREE there’s no excuse not to read “IMPACT” unless you simply do not want to succeed, which is unfortunately far to prevalent in our culture these days. However, I reject this trend, you can succeed beyond your wildest dreams and I not only believe in you, I’m willing to invest in you by offering you “IMPACT” at Internet transaction cost. Or more simply put I’ll share with you the understanding that I have, which has enabled me to achieve in the industry of my choosing time and time again—on me.

To give you a feel for “IMPACT” I’ve included its summary and introduction as part of this blog. Read them and then click the link at the end of the introduction to download the rest of the book—I promise that you will not be disappointed. Read on and enjoy…AND YES, “IMPACT” IS NOW AVAILABLE IN THE IBOOKSTORE FOR YOUR IPAD!!!

“IMPACT”

Summary

Impact, the book, is pure dynamite—a must read for anybody who dreams of doing more with his or her life.

Impact is structured to give the reader the tools to develop an individual philosophy of success. Then, like a knockout punch, it delivers the practical applications. Impact combines the author’s insight into the historical and Biblical origins of materialism and numerous personal stories to achieve these goals.

This is not a biography or just a motivational book. It is truly a textbook written by a master player. It is a no holds barred discussion that ranges from how to navigate involvement in charities to your benefit to how to sleep your way to the top.

Many players have written books about their deals—but few have ever truly written about how they make their deals. Impact shines a light on the secret formulas behind success. These are the formulas usually guarded by members of a very small club. Impact makes membership to this club wide open. The club is about to change forever.

INTRODUCTION

Getting To The Next Level

Recently, a not too well known public company asked me to critique an investors’ relations meeting (a meeting designed to get stock brokers to push the stock of a public company) to be held at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. I agreed to do so for the price of a Diet Coke (no joke).

“Mike, I have to preface this meeting by saying I have a lot of respect for you and Glen (his right hand man). So don’t take what I say personally,” I offered.

“I’m a big boy, Stan. I don’t need you to preface what you say. Just say it.”

***NOTE*** Always preface what you say; there is no such thing as a big boy.

Then, I continued, “I thought your meeting sucked to the point of embarrassment. It was probably counter productive to boosting the price of your stock.”

Mike nodded his head. He appeared to be slightly stunned by the news. “Just give me the specifics.”

I obliged. “The person at your registration desk reminded me of a used car salesman. He grilled me. Then, he asked me to sign in on a yellow legal pad with a cheap plastic pen.”

“He wasn’t our guy. He works for the P.R. firm that invited the brokers.”

“Mike, the guy should be working at Kmart. It doesn’t matter whom he works for, just make sure he’s not at your registration table. The two most important impressions are the first and the last. My first impression was bad. The guy at the desk with a notepad instead of a registration book screamed out to me that your company has no class. Having no class is bad. But having no class at The Peninsula is really bad.” Continue reading

GRAND AGAIN

Foreword by Stan Lerner: it’s that season again, when we should all take a little time and travel around the country. One of my greatest adventures (August 2008) took me to the state of Michigan where I explored Greenfield Village and then headed for Mackinac Island–what an incredible place! There I sat and wrote the only poem I’ve ever published…And now I offer it to you again, this time as and excerpt from my book “NINETY NINE POSTS”…Give it a read, I think you’ll like it.

I entered Greenfield Village, it would I expect still make Henry Ford proud. I smiled as real Model T’s drove people around and kids played baseball with the staff by 1869 rules. I stood in the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop, then I ate lunch in a carriage house, the menu of which hadn’t changed since 1857—I drank a mint julep and ate onion pie with some trout. I walked to the great American poet Robert Frost’s house…and stood and listened to a recording, an old recording, of him reading “The Road Less Traveled”. What a voice.

I will go to the Grand Hotel, sit on the porch, and write a poem, I thought to myself as I listened…

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other as just as fair

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear

Though as for that, the passing there

Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet, knowing how way leads onto way

I doubted if I should ever come back

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence

Two roads diverged in a wood

And I took the one less traveled by

And that has made all the difference

GRAND AGAIN

A Poem By Stan Lerner

On the porch of the Grand I sat and rocked.

And to myself I talked.

I talked to myself about the air, not on the island but out there.

Too often polluted by despair.

On the porch of the Grand I sat and rocked.

And to myself I talked.

I talked to myself about the Rouge Plant asleep, a betrayed soul which was all of ours to keep.

Once a symbol of might, now a symbol of darkness like the night.

On the porch of the Grand I sat and rocked.

And to myself I talked.

I talked to myself about hearing the old tired voice of Robert Frost speak of the road less traveled—an endeavor in which I have also dabbled.

There was indeed a fork in the road, a part of life which we have all been told.

On the porch of the Grand I sat and rocked.

And to myself I talked.

I talked to myself about click, click, klop, click, klop, a horse passed by.

A sound from another time.

On the porch of the Grand I sat and rocked.

And to myself I talked.

I asked myself, “Better off now or better off then? Will civilization need to begin again?”

I talked to myself about this a lot, click, klop, click, klop…

On the porch of the Grand I sat and rocked.

And to myself I talked.

I talked to myself about dress too casual, the few with vision, the abundance without, the profanity spoken by teenagers, how base we’ve become, and the beauty of an island surrounded by blue water that tolerates it all.

The Grand does make one feel small.

On the porch of the Grand I sat and rocked.

And to myself I talked.

I talked to myself about what might become of the rest of my years.

A bird flew near, then off toward a lighthouse no longer in use.

On the porch of the Grand I sat and rocked.

And to myself I talked.

I talked to myself about what might become of the rest of my years.

All of the hopes and a few of the fears.

On the porch of the Grand I sat and rocked.

And to myself I talked.

I talked to myself about taking time to love and time to think—a slight breeze blew from a direction I did not expect.

I watched as the flags moved by the wind and hoped we could all be Grand again.

NINETY- NINE POSTS

To sample or purchase “Ninety-Nine Posts” please visit:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/9380

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stan Lerner is an award winning-author whose diverse credits include the novels “Stan Lerner’s Criminal”, “Blast”, “In Development,” and the children’s book “Stanley The Elephant.” Stan Lerner is also the creator of the Las Vegas music spectacle “Night Tribe” and the writer, director, producer of the hit motion picture “Meet The Family.” Mr. Lerner was born in Montebello CA and has lived in downtown Los Angeles for the last fifteen years.

For more information about Stan Lerner please visit his author profile at: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/stan

SHELTER EPISODES 1-5

Foreword by Stan Lerner: “Shelter “combines comedy and drama in an effort to bring us all a little closer to understanding and bringing to an end the tragedy of homelessness in America.

SHELTER EPISODE 1

The Malibu mansion, poised atop a cliff’s edge, with a one hundred and eighty degree view of the vast Pacific Ocean, truly had no equal. Inside, this particular evening, yet another lavish fund-raiser was in progress. The usual high pomp and circumstance flowed from magnificent room to still more magnificent room, all crowded with the crème of Los Angeles society—mega-players all.

JB Boldwell a handsome, distinguished gentleman of seventy, stood alone on the terrace looking through the impressive window, smoking a cigar and observing the goings on. So many people, so engaged, in he did not even remember what purpose—he felt nothing, but sadness, a sense of being lost and empty.

“Why aren’t you inside, Grandpa? It’s your party,” asked Felicity, JB’s adorable eight-year-old granddaughter, who unbeknownst to JB had been standing behind him.

JB smiled. “They don’t care if I’m in there, sweetheart. They just want a party.”

Felicity furrowed her brow. “Why don’t they want you?”

JB cleared his throat; yet spoke in a subdued tone. “I don’t think they like me very much.”

“Well, maybe you should try and be a nicer person,” suggested Felicity, truly wanting to help her grandfather.

JB did his best to conceal that the words of an eight-year-old had just cut into him like a knife. “What do you mean?”

“I just think you’d really like it if you could go to your own party,” answered Felicity.

These words exploded in JB’s head, causing a type of shock, the likes of which he had never known. “Maybe,” he muttered staring in at the people. And then looking down at Felicity, through a fog that seemed to role in faster than was possible, he spoke words that he could not hear. “Better go inside dear—it’s too cold for you out here.”

JB stared for several more minutes at the people who seemed to move further and further off into the distance—although neither he nor they had moved at all. And then they were gone because he was walking out of the gates that secluded his life from the outside world—boulevards, stoplights, cars, people, sights, sounds, and smells, all of which, he had not experienced in almost half a century, because he had been rich for a very long time.

The black and white police cruiser slowed down and the officer who was driving nodded toward the tuxedo clad, older gentleman walking down the street toward Skid Row. “What do you make of this guy?” he asked his somewhat bemused partner.

“Dressed like that, down here… Probably trying to score drugs,” answered the cynical partner.

The officer behind the wheel shook his head. “What a shame. We better intervene.”

The car came to a stop and the officers exited, but the older gentleman in the tuxedo seemed to be oblivious to their presence.

“Hey there, big guy, don’t you think you’re a little overdressed for Skid Row?” asked the cynical officer. But the man just kept walking.

“Buddy. We’re talking to you,” shouted the officer who had been driving.

“If I felt like talking gentleman, I’d still be conversing with the three hundred guests at my thirty million dollar mansion in Malibu,” offered the man they suspected of being in some kind of drug stupor.

The officers exchanged a glance of mutual agreement and then the cop that had been driving walked onto the sidewalk cutting off any possibility of forward progress. “Thirty million dollars…Right. Sir we’re going to have to ask you to come with us.”

The central station downtown could not under any circumstance be called a cheery place, but the graveyard shift presented a particularly melancholy environment—as it became a place of last chances gone by. And it was in this gloomy place that the man in the expensive tuxedo found himself sitting on a bench amidst the dregs of society.

The desk sergeant, who had seen everything, did after a busy hour or so take an interest in the strange sight of the man who seemed completely unresponsive to the hectic activity all around.

A plainclothes detective wandered up to the man and snapped his fingers in front of his face, to no avail. He turned to the desk sergeant. “What’s up with him?”

“Couple Unis picked him up earlier, think he’s some kinda catatonic big shot. Mental Health’s on their way down to check him out,” answered the desk sergeant.

The detective grinned and snapped his fingers in the man’s face again. “Probably drugs. No ID on him?”

“None, nada, zilch,” answered the sergeant.

“You know…he kinda looks like that billionaire real estate guy, JB something or other. Owns the basketball team.”

“The Rippers? Yeah, right,” said the sergeant. But before he could comment further a commotion from the street outside came through the front doors.

“I demand my rights!!!” shouted Steve Mahoney, an unkempt, overweight, fantastic disaster of a human being in his forties—as he was pushed through the doors in handcuffs. Steve, while obviously bright and well educated, had been a longtime fixture of the homeless community as he also suffered from profound delusions of grandeur.

So while it did not strike the desk sergeant as strange to have an irate Steve Mahoney brought through the doors—the two sheriff’s deputies that followed him, also in handcuffs and escorted by two LAPD officers—certainly did, very strange indeed.

“You guys are making a big mistake,” said the first sheriff deputy to come through the doors to the two LAPD officers.

“You have no idea, sunshine,” chimed in Steve. “I know the mayor, we do pilates together. This time tomorrow all four of you will be giving out parking tickets in South Central.”

The desk sergeant rolled his eyes as he turned his attention towards the detective. “Better tell Mental Health to step on it, it looks like it’s going to be one of those nights.” And then the sergeant turned to face the whole bunch as they approached making a considerable racket. “Alright, quiet down. Whatta we got?”

The LAPD officer who stood at the front of the pack pointed at the two sheriffs. “We caught these guys trying to dump their little vagrant problem onto our jurisdiction.”

“I resent the term ‘vagrant,’” interjected Steve. “In the contemporary vernacular it’s come to carry deeply derogatory connotations. I prefer ‘Itinerant-American.’”

“Whatever,” responded the cop, clearly fed up.

The detective didn’t want to get involved, but realized that he had no choice. “Thought you could just dump him off on Skid Row and be done with it?” he asked the sheriffs.

“He told us he lived there,” protested the sheriff’s deputy, who thus far hadn’t uttered a word.

Steve forced a loud laugh from his throat. “An outright fabrication! I said no such thing.” Continue reading

IN DEVELOPMENT THE BOOK

Foreword by Stan Lerner: “In Development” is a hilarious account of a day in the life of Stan Peters—Hollywood’s most powerful and scummiest producer. AND YES, “IN DEVELOPMENT” THE BOOK IS NOW AVAILABLE IN THE IBOOKSTORE FOR YOUR IPAD!!!

PROLOGUE

Breakfast at the Peninsula

The Peninsula Hotel ranked among Beverly Hills’ finest establishments. A modest four stories, its cream-colored exterior walls exuded European elegance. The motor court was paved with Tuscan cobblestone and it curved in a half circle around a spectacular yet understated fountain. Stan Peters arrived for breakfast like clockwork Monday thru Friday at 8:00 in either his black Rolls Royce Phantom or his diamond silver Mercedes Benz SL 500.

This particular morning, he was looking more impeccable than usual. The Ermenegildo Zegna boutique on Rodeo Drive had just taken delivery of its handmade suit collection for the fall season the day before. As always, Stan, the store’s best customer and Hollywood’s most powerful movie producer, had been there to pick up each of his 31 new suits. He would repeat this routine at several of the city’s high-end boutiques; rarely did Stan need or bother to wear the same custom-made suit twice.

The hotel’s bell captain, Rick Johnson, was a handsome young man of twenty-five—an aspiring actor. As always, he stepped forward to open Stan’s car door himself, rather than delegate such an important task to a valet. Opening the great producer’s door was not as optimal as being in one of his movies but it was a step in the right direction. Hollywood’s most powerful producer had come to know him by his first name.

The door of the Mercedes opened, as it always did, not requiring any of Stan’s own personal exertion. He never took this for granted. He appreciated not being bothered with such trivialities. It was certainly worth a twenty-dollar tip to not have to think about opening and closing the door of his automobile.

The air was just right. Not too warm, not too cold. Not too humid, nor too dry. Just right. Stan had no control over the weather of course, but he had chosen to remain in Los Angeles for exactly this reason—perfect year-round weather.

He stretched his six-foot-one frame as he rose from the 65-way adjustable, heated, and programmable leather car seat. The sound of the fountain filled his ears. Stan smiled the bright white smile of a man whose company was about to go public. A smile that said he was a man on top of the world. That he was talented. That he cared and wanted to encourage others to aspire to his greatness. Yet, he was confident that no man could really be his equal.

“Good morning, Mr. Peters,” said Rick amiably.

“Good morning, Rick. It looks like we’re in for some nice weather today. You have to love living in California!” Stan responded, already thinking about the healthy, delectable food he would soon be putting into his perfectly muscled body. A body that at forty was in even better shape than it had been in high school.

“It certainly looks like it’s going to be a great day, Mr. Peters. Enjoy your breakfast…Oh, would you like me to have the car washed while you’re eating this morning?”

Stan looked at the fine German automobile for a moment. It had just been detailed the day before but he thought it could certainly have gathered some dust not visible to the naked eye but was there nonetheless. “Yeah, better give it a rinse.” And with that he turned and walked toward the large double door entrance to the five star hotel.

To sample or purchase “In Development” the book please visit:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/7633

Again with no effort of his own, the door opened. “Good morning, Mr. Peters.”

“Good morning,” Stan replied. Other than Rick, he did not know the names of the ten or twenty people that managed his morning breakfast routine. If need be, he could always read their nametags.

“Good morning, Mr. Peters,” said the gentleman next to the doorman.

“Good morning, good morning.” And with just a few silent steps, he was at the entry to the Belvedere Room.

“Good morning, Mr. Peters,” said the lovely hostess. “That suit is beautiful.” Her dark hair was pulled back and her young eyes shone brilliantly with a nebula of possibilities. “It fits you perfectly. You always look so handsome, but that suit is even more perfect than usual.”

“Well thank you…Mary,” he said, quickly glancing at her nametag. “The Fall season just came in yesterday. I still have a lot of things to pick up.”

“Well, I’ll be looking forward to seeing all of it. The usual table or would you like to try the patio today?”

“The usual table would be superlative.”

“Good morning, Mr. Peters,” said Janet, the hostess’ supervisor. “It’s so nice to see you. I just noticed that the trades are not at your table. I’ll bring them right over.”

“Thank you, Janet,” Stan said, taking the final steps to his table.

He sat down on the soft green cushion and slid over just slightly. The silver was all set correctly and the white tablecloth was blinding, which was what he expected. The hotel knew that he expected this, so only new tablecloths were used at his table. Stan’s demeanor was always pleasant but there was no doubt that he would ask for his table to be redressed and set again if he detected even the slightest flaw in its appearance.

The room, which had the feel of a fine garden, blossomed with both Hollywood and business elite. Stan caught many of their gazes as he walked into the room and still more as he sat. When unavoidable, he would flash back a warm smile and give just the slightest nod of his head. He peered for a moment out the glass wall to the patio thinking that the star of his last movie was there having breakfast with her new husband. He had slept with her a few times and was strangely satisfied to see that she was now married.

“Your skinny latte Mr. Peters,” said the middle-aged-Pilipino server as he set the large white cup and saucer on the tablecloth directly in front of Stan. Then, with a great deal of concern and concentration, the Pilipino latte server moved the silver sweetener container just to the upper right of Stan’s cup and saucer so that he would not have to reach for it at the end of the table.

“And the trades,” said Janet, handing Stan both the Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

“Thank you, Janet.” Stan ripped the small yellow package of sweetener, which he preferred to the blue or the pink packages of sweeteners, and mixed it into his latte and raised the cup for his first caffeinated drink of the day.

“Good morning, Mr. Peters. Will you be having the usual today?” asked the intelligent looking waiter in his late twenties, an aspiring writer of some type.

He had mentioned something about writing one day while in the course of telling Stan that he was a great fan of his. Stan recalled his own empty offer to read some of the young man’s work. An empty offer not because Stan was being disingenuous but empty because Stan had observed that most people with aspirations were afraid to succeed. Meaning, no one really wanted their work to be judged by someone who could do something for them.

“Omelet, jack and cheddar…”

“Avocado, fire roasted salsa, Tabasco, and fruit on the side,” the waiter said, finishing Stan’s sentence. He pushed his round wire-rim glasses a little further up on his nose and smiled.

“No potatoes or bread,” Stan added, although he didn’t have to because everybody knew that he liked potatoes and bread but didn’t eat them to keep his simple carbohydrate intake to a minimum.

All this ass kissing is really something. They do it because you’re a powerful man in Hollywood. If they only knew what a lying, thieving, scumbag you really are. Maybe they do know and they don’t care. Could that be?

He took a sip of his latte. It tasted better than most because it was made from a coffee bean that was eaten by a small rodent, which then excreted it out in its feces.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. To be a successful motion picture producer you have to have talent. And you put in years of hard work developing that talent. Not that it mattered to anyone—fuckers. Be honest with yourself. You got to where you are because you have the most important ingredient—an inexplicable character flaw. Not the, I’m gay and my family won’t accept me or I’ll show everyone who should have been voted most likely to succeed. No, it’s way beyond that.

An old timer with an attractive young companion waved to him from across the room. Stan smiled and gave a nod.

To really be fucked up enough to succeed at this level you had to have been born a nice guy with a good heart. Twenty years of being screwed over, lied to, used, and unappreciated. And one day you were lucky enough to wake up and be you. It didn’t happen gradually. It just happened.

Janet returned with an apologetic look. Stan knew without her saying a word what the cause of her guilt happened to be. He handed her the green cloth napkin that had been stretched across his lap and then watched, quite pleased, as she laid the new black napkin in its place. “I’m so sorry about that,” she said, the corners of her mouth turned just slightly downwards.

“Not a problem. Thank you, Janet.” Stan watched her walk away. The well-fitted navy blue suit she was wearing left no doubt that her body, in spite of her being well into her thirties, was still in excellent shape. She had certainly been a dancer of some type in her youth, Stan imagined.

Sounds like a terrible existence the way you describe it. It’s not. Your life is a dream life and you wouldn’t have it any other way. I wish someone could just love me for me. Too late. You got the fancy cars, great food, the world-class pussy, the incredible houses in ten different countries, an amount of money in the bank that even you can’t spend. So many women, so little time…Wall Street loves you.

“Your omelet, sir.”

“Thank you. It looks wonderful.”

“Can I bring you anything else?”

Stan looked lustfully across the room at the attractive blonde with the old goat who had been pleasant enough to wave. “No, this will be fine for now.”

“Well then, enjoy your breakfast, sir.”

Stan’s fork cut through the well-whipped, triple grade A, cage free, grain fed, organic, brown egg with ease. The egg, cheese, avocado, fire roasted salsa, and Tabasco delighted his taste buds. And just as he swallowed it happened—a sickening moment of self-doubt.

The only thing that can fuck up the Peters Entertainment IPO is a bad project. In highly advanced industry terminology, ‘A piece of shit movie’. Not to be confused with a shitty movie the manipulative scumbags in marketing can save with some kind of bullshit MacDonald’s cross promotion. No—the kind of movie that gets fucked up by some tight ass, wanna-be- cool, college graduate, studio executive, a producer’s worst nightmare, maybe even a career killer. What a terrible thought. It’ll never happen to you. You’re Stan Peters for fuck sake. You don’t make piece of shit movies.

Stan decided it was a waste of time to let his mind continue to ponder the meaning of life. He reached for the Hollywood Reporter and began to read the horrifying news on the front page. Continue reading

CROOKED COPS EPISODE 11

A new blog series, from the Abby Normal Mind of Stan Lerner!

The middle-aged, Maytag repairman stood behind Mona and watched intently as she tried to coax Pester the cat out of the washing machine awaiting his repair expertise.

“Pester you come out of there right now,” demanded Mona, reaching in to try and get a grip on his collar only to be greeted by a swipe of Pester’s claw and a loud hiss. “Oh, that cat when he gets into a bad mood he’s just a terror,” Mona pronounced, with a sense of futility as she withdrew her imperiled hand from harm’s way.

“Ring! Ring!” sounded the phone, which caused Mona to yield her position in front of the washing machine to the repairman.

“I’ll try to get him out,” he offered, obviously unaware of all that could go wrong in the Skinner household.

“Hi Chenoa!” said Mona, cheerfully into the phone—thoughts of trouble with Pester and the washing machine already vacated from her mind.

Richard pulled the squad car to the front of his well manicured, but simply landscaped home. He couldn’t help but to give the Maytag repair van in the driveway a curious look as Larry and he exited their official police vehicle for a not so official on-duty beer at the house. “Mona keeps talking about the washing machine,” he muttered aloud.

“I thought Maytag’s never break down,” Larry questioned, causing Richard and he to share a suspicious glance at each other.

The partners entered the Skinner family home quietly and made their way toward the kitchen, where from which they heard voices, one familiar, one not.

“Oh that’s great!” They heard Mona exclaim.

In the kitchen, Mona now stood in back of the repairman. “Oh my God!” she shouted with genuine excitement.

In the hallway Richard’s face was tense and red as he gave the quiet sign to Larry, so they could continue their assessment of the developing situation.

“Fantastic! Oh that’s fantastic!” They heard Mona shout with glee.

Simultaneously they pulled out their batons and tapped them anxiously against their palms.

“I can’t get enough!” shouted Mona. Continue reading

THE MUSLIM AND THE JEW

In a time, seemingly long ago, a time before the fax machine, cell phone, and Internet there was a great metropolis called Los Angeles. And this metropolis, because of its year-round pleasant weather and friendly inhabitants attracted people from all over the world who wanted to visit and in many cases move to such a wonderful and welcoming place. This is a tale of two people of this time and place, one a native, strong and sure, the other, a well-mannered visitor from half a world away, both young men the details of which concerning them, once told, will forever change the world—the year was 1982…

Sam sat with two of his new fraternity brothers at their favorite falafel place in the heart of Westwood Village, laughing and eating an amount of food one might expect to be ordered by a much larger party. Sam, although a freshman at the great institution of higher learning known as UCLA, had already established a reputation for having an enormous appetite—not just for food, but for all things. In most students, a prodigious appetite for all things worldly would give others pause, however Sam was without having to say so, different. He came to the University with credentials, which established him as not only possessing the greatest of athletic prowess, but an academic record and intellect unequalled in all of the land. Yet, he thought little of these matters. And on the rare occasion on which he spoke of his gifted state of being he would only say, “Someone cannot take credit for that, which they haven’t earned. God did not make all men with equal abilities, but God did make all men and therefore we are all equal, in that, all is owing to God.” And then he usually continued, “Anyone up for some pizza and a movie?”

“So are you going to the game this weekend?” asked Val, a tall, thin, young adult of Romanian descent.

Sam nodded, still chewing on a bite of falafel. “I have a ton of homework I haven’t started on, but that’s never stopped me.”

Steve, a premed student with grades and a physique second only to Sam’s shook his head. “I don’t know how you do it? You’ve been out every night since orientation. And you drink cocktails during your lectures…”

Sam chuckled. “Oh c’mon, I did that once or twice. I don’t condone drinking,” he poured some Jack Daniels from a small bottle into his Diet Coke and continued, “in lectures. And on a serious note: it’s more important to feel information than to know it. Anyone can memorize names and dates, Steve—the what’s of the world. But the why’s of the world, that’s where true wisdom is found. By the way is this baba ghanoush great or what?”

And as naturally as the conversation had been flowing between the three fraternity brothers it stopped, as all three sets of highly intelligent eyes came to rest on the not so large figure, which stood before them—something like none had seen before, a slight of build Arab boy with a large suitcase in each hand.

“Excuse me,” he said in perfect English, with a tone more polite than the fraternity brothers had ever heard. “I’ve lost all of my money and I’m very hungry and you seem to have a large amount of food, can I trouble you for a small portion, just a little bit?” And before they could answer he continued, “I come from a very wealthy family—I’ll be able to pay you back for whatever you give me,” he concluded with a confident smile and twinkling bright eyes.

Sam looked the stranger, whom he guessed to be their same age, up and down, but Val spoke first. “You’re definitely not from here, are you?”

The young man laughed. “No, I’m not from here, I just arrived this morning from Saudi Arabia. I’ve come to America to further my education and learn your customs. But the place I was supposed to stay at was very bad, they rented my room out to another student and they said that they couldn’t give back the money my father sent them in advance, for thirty days. So I have no money, no food and no place to stay.”

Sam moved a falafel to the empty place at the table and pointed to the vacant stool next to him. “Well my little Saudi Arabian friend, you better eat something…”

“Thank you so much, you’ll see, you won’t be sorry.” He extended his hand. “My name is Mohamed.” Continue reading

DOUBLE THE MONEY ON THE MONEY—AGAIN

“I’m having a midlife crisis, do you want to go see Eddie Money at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez?” read the email from my childhood friend Lisa.

“I have an important meeting from 1:30 to 2:30 this afternoon, but if a car just happened to be driving by and I somehow fell into the front seat…” I wrote back.

So by 3:00 that Thursday afternoon, I was sitting shotgun with my buddy Lisa doing the speed limit up the 10 freeway, which for those who understand Los Angeles traffic, a very good omen this was.

When dealing with a midlife crisis, in the great state of California, it’s very important to immediately drive up Pacific Coast Highway—the moment one’s car emerges from the tunnel, which transitions traffic from the 10, the symptoms begin to fade.

If I may wax clinical for a moment, there are two types of midlife crisis that are most prevalent. The first: a fairly minor case that comes and goes usually triggered by one particular aspect of a person’s life. “The I hate my job!” kind of thing. The second: a major systemic failure of a life—the kind of midlife crisis that I can personally speak to in great detail. Now the great thing about suffering from the latter is, that it is fairly simple to cheer up those that suffer from the former. And I personally find some satisfaction in the circumstance of being the guy people want to hang with when they think, they’ve got problems…

After driving a few miles up the coast the thought, “What the f*** I’m I stressing about dancing in your head,” it’s time to stop at The Fish Grill, in Malibu, and get some fish tacos, which Lisa and I certainly did. Continue reading