Always soaring to great heights...



Note: The editor of Open Minds Quarterly recently sent notice that another one of my essays, "Dare To Be Vulnerable" will be published and available in print in the Winter of 2015 edition.





September 2, 2016
Contact: Cedric Jones
Company Phone:
Cedric Jones is a triple threat, and he is not afraid to show you just what he's made of…
The mayor of Macon, Georgia recently spoke to Cedric Jones about giving him the key to the city. This is well deserved because this young, rising star continues to push himself and the boundaries as a fierce triple threat: actor, athlete, and motivational speaker.
MAGNIFICENT 7, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, and Chris Pratt is Cedric Jones' latest project. He’s in a supporting role. You'll have a chance to check out his sharp acting chops once this movie is released in October. Cedric has also appeared in commercials; one for McDonalds titled “The Good Fight” where he is seen training his 7 year old daughter, and another one for the Olympics. No stranger to the Olympics, he has maintained a boxing career that took him to the 2004 Olympics trials, and at one point, was ranked as number 2 in all of Southern California.
Cedric is part founder and owner of Beastie 24/7, a boxing gym in the affluent and beautiful coastal community of Manhattan Beach, California. He is a top fitness trainer to Hollywood celebrities, including Usher Raymond, 50 cent, Anderson Silva, Antoine Fuqua, and Chris Pratt. In fact, you may have seen him in the highly acclaimed movie SOUTH PAW, starring Jake Gyllenhaal who portrays an undefeated boxer who faces tremendous adversity after his wife dies and his daughter is taken away from him by state authorities.
With so much on his plate as an actor and business owner, Cedric still finds the time to help elevate the spirits of the downtrodden and disadvantaged with his motivational speaking engagements. He has helped start up a nonprofit organization this year called B Moved Foundation, which is aimed at helping young men learn to build the self-esteem and confidence that they need to chase their dreams.
This southern California resident from Macon, Georgia is surely making his mark on the world. I have a real feeling that we will be hearing and seeing a lot more of Cedric Jones. He is a man of compassion, action, and high energy.









As I stand here before you today, I search my mind far and wide in order to answer the question Who Was Lallubhai P. Patel?  

Well, that's a hard question to answer because he was so many things.  He was a business man, Samaj Leader, served on the SLPS Bhajan Mandal for over a decade, served on the SLPS  Executive Committee,  was one of the organization's founding members, and eventually became the President of SLPS.

Yes, he was all those things.  But the thing that endeared him to us all was the fact that he was a gentle and calm man, a loving husband to his wife -- a family man who loved the company of people.   He was an inspiration to us all.

Lallubhai P. Patel was a great leader and man of faith who embodied many of the same characteristics of Mahatma Gandhi.  

I bet many of you remember those times seeing him play Tabla.  Aren't those feel-good memories? That smile and heart of his could be seen and felt in everything he did.  I recall those times seeing him smile and laugh as he helped lead the band and help out with all the religious programs.  

One of the things that warms my own heart and makes me smile from the inside out was those times  we would talk after service and he would tell me how he looked forward to driving the long distance from San Bernardino  to serve our Samaj.  

And he did this all with a smile on his face and pure joy in his heart.  I loved Lllubhai P. Patel for his giving spirit.  We all loved him.  Yes, he has transitioned to a new place, but his spirit continues to live within each and every one of us.

So, while we may MOURN his life today.  We also CELEBRATE his life today.  When we think of Lllubhai P. Patel, I hope we will all be inspired, uplifed, and continue his legacy by being compassionate and loving to every person, every living soul who we come in contact with.





December 17, 2013


Mike Dantac

Dantac Inc

20 High Meadow Pl.

Toronto, ON M9L 2Z5


Dear Mr. Dantac:


My name is Vee Hill, and I was recently installed as PW Eagle's new Assistant Vice President of Electrical Sales.  In an effort to keep you updated on the status of things, I wanted to take this time to inform you that I will be replacing Tim Petty and taking over your account.  Mr. Petty’s concentration and responsibility will now be devoted to the Solvent Weld division.


With several years dedicated to the success of this company and its clients, you can rest assured that your account will be in good hands with me.  I have very clear goals in mind for 2014.  I will work more closely with our customers and build stronger relationships with them to determine their needs and how we can best meet them.  In addition to this, I will find out how we can work together to help grow your business and ours.


It really is a true joy and honor to get to know my customers.  Meeting face to face with them allows me to do just this.  Therefore, I would like for us to sit down, shake hands, and get to the business of discussing your most important needs and concerns.

We could also then briefly review PW Eagle's offering of products.


I will call you by the end of this week.  Let’s make a strong effort to meet at your offices in the early part of January.  As your new Assistant Vice President of Electrical Sales, my paramount concern is Dantac Inc., and how I can better serve your company.


I look forward to meeting with you soon.





Vee Hill

Assistant Vice President, Electrical Sales






Dental Specialty Services, Inc. is a full service company that refers endodontists out to general dentists’ offices for root canal and other special procedures for patient care.  Our focus is on customer service and the patient inside the office.  Things are made easier for the patient because there is no extra travel involved.  The person does not have to be referred out to an endodontist miles away.  All necessary procedures are done right there in the general dentist’s office.


Unlike staffing agencies, we do not collect fees from companies to send our specialists out.  Therefore, there is no monetary incentive gained from our dealings with the dentists.  It truly is all about making the patient’s wellbeing the center of our attention, and this is where we focus our energy, time and resources.


It is a win-win-win.  This means the dentists wins, the endodontist wins, and most importantly, the patient wins.  The dentists gets to keep business in his office, the endodontist makes money off of the procedure(s), and the patient gets to stay in the office for all necessary teeth and root work.


A further benefit to an arrangement like this is the freedom for the dentist.  He or she does not have to attempt to perform these procedures themselves (for which many are not trained to do) and risk injuring the patient or doing an inadequate job or attempt to find an appropriate endodontist to refer the patient out to.  The dentist gets to concentrate on the work at hand like maintaining the business flow of the office, tend to fillings and crowns and such, and leave the root canal and other work up to the specialist.


Dental Specialty Services, Inc. ultimately makes everything affordable for the patient by negotiation with the endondontists.  There are several other benefits to working with us and you may view them by clicking on the BENEFIT tab.  In us you will find a team of passionate people who strive to make things better for everyone involved.





Dear Northwood Homeowner,


Please allow me to take this time to introduce myself.  My name is Affie Satoodeh, and I am a realtor with Century 21 Award.  It has been 30 years  to date and Century 21 Award has been serving Irvine and surrounding areas faithfully.  My particular area of specialty is the Northwood community.


Because I myself am a resident and home owner of the Northwood community, I have an intimate understanding and thorough knowledge of the neighborhood and what it has to offer (schools, businesses, etc.).  My experience selling homes in this particular community spans 10 years; since 2003.  I am very proud to have been able to help so many homeowners sell their homes in Northwood, Irvine.    


In my next mailing, you’ll be informed about general real estate marketing trends, Northwood market updates, newsletters, and more. Included in this same mailing will be my personal brochure that you can read and hopefully attain more of an accurate picture of my business perspective.  Also, if you have any other real estate needs such as a 1031 exchange, selling or leasing your investment property, or simply purchasing another property, I am here to be a facilitator and just generally make life easier for you.


If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call, email, or  just stop by my office.  I am here to work hard for you.  It is about all of us making the Northwood neighborhood an enjoyable experience for everyone.



I thank for your time and consideration, and I hope to work with you very soon.






Affie Satoodeh  


PUBLISHED ARTICLES - "Rolling Out" Magazine

Blair Underwood, Lisa Vidal Chat About the Obamas, and ‘The Event’

Wednesday, May 4, 2011 admin


Blair Underwood and Lisa Vidal star as the president and the first lady in "The Event"

It’s no surpise that the handsome Blair Underwood and the beautiful Lisa Vidal, both talented veteran actors, would be chosen to play the character roles of the president of the United States of America (Elias Martinez) and the first lady (Christina Martinez).

Smart, funny, and humble, the two actors sat down with rolling out on the Sunset-Gower studio lot in sunny Los Angeles to discuss their new television series and the real president and first lady, Barack and Michelle Obama. Underwood and Vidal took a break from shooting the all-important season finale.

The new show, “The Event,” premiered on NBC on Sept. 10, 2010. The weekly plot revolves around a group of extraterrestrials, some of whom have been detained by the government for the 66 years since their ship crashed in Alaska. Others have secretly assimilated among the general populace.

Because of their current roles, many may wonder if Underwood and Vidal have any connection with the real-life president and first lady. Underwood said he actually met Obama 20 years ago when Obama was a student at Harvard and saw him again just before his presidential campaign.

“What I felt, from college to the beginning of the campaign and seeing him through the context of the White House, was an incredible sense of weight on his shoulders, just being attacked from all corners,” he said.

Vidal said she has not met Michelle Obama, but did sit right across from her while dining at one of her favorite L.A. restaurants.

“I got to watch her with her daughters and some friends, and she was graceful, beautiful and bright,” shared Vidal, who says she feels fortunate to be a part of  “The Event.” She said jokingly, “At least I haven’t played a maid in a long time.” –michael marks contributed reporting to this story

Be sure to check out the season finale of The Event on NBC  Monday, May 23, 2011


 PUBLISHED ARTICLES - "Rolling Out" Magazine


Playboy Jazz Festival 2011 Pleases Music Lovers in Beverly Hills

Thursday, May 26, 2011 admin


At first, things seemed just like another day in upscale Beverly Hills until the sound waves were filled with the pleasant tunes of Tamir Hendelman Trio and Justo Almario and his Afro-Cuban group.  It was all live jazz at Beverly Hills Civic Center!

The day was sunny and hot, but Hendelman seemed as cool as ever as he sat behind his piano, his bassist and drummer at his side, and opened with the number “Wrapping Your Troubles In Dreams.” Slow and ballad-like, the music seemed to produce a calming effect on the crowd.  All the walking and talking slowly came to a stop as all eyes began to focus in on Hendelman.

Hendleman played a few other slow-tempo tunes after his opener.  The audience seemed genuinely delighted.  After ending each set, he would explain the origins and inspiration of each piece.  Some listeners may have felt a little closer to the music since he personalized things by sharing in such a manner.

The next and last act was Justo Almario, who was supported by his Afro-Cuban ensemble.  He opened with “La Piragua.”  These two gentlemen’s styles could not be more different.  Almario and his group were very rhythmic and filled the air with hard-hitting drum beats.

Crowd reaction was very different, too.  There were people singing, standing, clapping, stomping, jumping and moving around and about.  At one point, Almario’s band came off the stage and marched around the chairs, all while keeping the jam session going.

A large crowd danced and followed right behind the band members of this thumping Afro-Cuban music.  A cop was even spotted clapping his hands and moving his head to the beat as he looked down on the action from a balcony.

This day had, in fact, been a very good day for many.  People were treated to a free event, the weather was sunny and near-perfect, and everyone experiences outstanding music by two highly skilled performers.

michael marks




Michael Marks                                         August 28, 2009


How has your life been impacted since you have been matched with your Little Brother?

 My life has been impacted in a number of ways since I first became a Big Brother.  I would even venture to say that most of these very positive things cannot be measured.  Some of the things I have learned from being involved with my Little are leadership, effective communication, love for humanity, and how to be a good father.


There are many more things I can put on this list, but the aforementioned are the first ones to come to mind.  Leadership and guidance are probably two of the main things a child looks for in an adult.  I saw first-hand how Robert’s (my mentee) somewhat feisty and belligerent attitude subsided.  He became more outgoing and kind as he got older.  I felt it to be my duty to constantly talk to Robert about the importance of kindness and be a constant example for him in this regard.  I learned that leadership and guidance must be clear and definite.


It doesn’t take a psychologist for one to understand that people simply do not always say what is on their minds.  In addition to this, relationships can be assailed with so many problems simply because of ineffective communication.  Robert has helped me in so many ways with my communication skills.  He has to be one of the most inquisitive kids I’ve ever met and this constantly keeps me on top of my game.  If I haven’t done the best job explaining something, he’ll either let me know or ask a follow-up question.


I must say that I have acquired a love for the human condition over the years that I once did not have.  I found out very soon that there is a world made up of people with problems and circumstances that are a lot bigger than my own.  Being involved with a kid from a single-parent household shed a whole new light on the challenges of our youth.  A kid in this situation could be dealing with a number of things like financial challenges the mother faces up to the absence of the father that may ultimately lead to his transgressions and poor marks in school.  This very thing compelled me to want to be involved with an adult literacy program.  I am always looking to improve other people’s lives around me.  When we help improve the human condition we help to make this world a better place for us all.


Finally, being a Big Brother has helped me become the father that I am today.  I get so many compliments from so many people on how great a father I am.  This really feels good, and I am humbled by the kind words of praise.  I have two beautiful children, a two year old boy and a ten month old girl.  When raising kids love, patience, discipline, mutual respect, listening, and guidance are just a few of the long list of things that are needed for them to develop well.  I can thank my Little for giving me a big head start on these things and many other things as well.  He has definitely had an enormous impact on my life.




He’s bustin’ out the “GATES” with something real tasty “COOKING UP” this holiday season



Contact: Anthony Clary

Telephone: (850) 384-3936



Lifers Entertainment is extremely pleased to announce the 2009 release of rap phenomenon Gates and his new CD, “D.O.E” with extended play (EP).  This CD will actually be available via ITUNES very soon.


You will certainly get more bang for your buck here!  There are 5 tracks of fresh, rhythmic beats laced with superb lyrical flow.  This CD will get your head bobbing and your feet moving.  “Teen Spirit, and “What U Lookin At” (also on another EP release being simultaneously released on the same day entitled “The Black Card) are 2 intoxicating songs that help put Gates in a class of his own.


After hearing his music, you’ll know that he is the truth!  He has an authentic sound that reflects the harsh realities of his early life on the streets of Virginia’s Young’s Parks Projects.




Written about in publications such as and,  Gates has performed throughout the Virginia and Washington DC areas.  You’ll also want to check out Gates’ “Cookup Season Mixtape Hosted By DJ Smoke”  You can find out more about his by visiting these two links: or on


Make this new CD a part of your music collection today.  You’ll feel like you are a part of something very special.  It’s raw, and it’s truly the real deal…


*Please note: A portion of the proceeds from CD sales will be used to help the Fight Of Our Lives Foundation, an organization that promotes awareness of teenage pregnancy, violence, and education.  To find out how you can also be of help, please visit the website below:


1. He Special
2. Motivate ME
3. Teen Spirit
4. What U Lookin At
5. Who Is He?


For information about Gates, visit the websites provided below.  If you are interested in scheduling an interview, performance session, or any other engagement, refer to the contact information above.







 "WHY MEN CRY IN THE DARK", PUBLISHED, Fall 2013 issue of Open Minds Quarterly Magazine.

It is also noteworthy to mention that my essay was the cover story and was selected to be placed on the front cover of the magazine.



++++++++++++++++  THIS IS A SAMPLE +++++++++++++  


“Why Men Cry In The Dark”


Michael Pierre Marks

It had been the culmination of many things that led to this day when I found myself sitting on a toilet in my apartment on a dark night in a dark room -- crying. A many a night I have cried in the dark. But perhaps the most poignant and indelible memory of one such incident was precipitated by something my 3 year old girl and 4 year old boy said to me: "Daddy, are we going to go get some ice cream now?" Speechless and consumed with shame, I quietly stepped past my two little ones and into the bathroom, closed the door, cut off the lights and began sobbing. I was crying in the dark...





“Get Busy Living Or Get Busy Dying”


Michael Pierre Marks

2013 COPYRIGHT – The Marks Media Brand


On this day a long, sharp butcher’s knife pierced through my flesh like a hot knife cuts through butter.  Hit in the back, the knife’s tip was even able to peek out and view daylight from my stomach.  It was this very day that this sharp instrument severed a major internal artery, and so, on the cold, unforgiving floor I laid, where life whispered to me very faintly that she was leaving me.  This was pain that I had never felt before.  I mean, it was very primal; just raw unadulterated fear, agony, shock and supreme disillusionment.  This was the perfect concoction, the smorgasbord of emotion that overtook me on this day.


Now, this was not what literally happened to me. But I would imagine that my emotional trauma was no less painful than having a butcher’s knife plunged inside my back on the day that I opened the door with divorce papers staring right at me from the outstretched arm of a process server.  And there was the mother of my 2 children (a 2 year old girl and a 3 year old boy) standing right next to the server.


My entire world had changed in an instant.  I vividly remember it.  That day had been so uneventful, mundane, probably even considered boring by many, perhaps.  It was just another typical day.  Well, when 8pm rolled around on that Thursday night, I opened the door and soon felt the crushing weight of all the infinity of darkness that I glared out at.  The longer I stood there, the more compressed and claustrophobic my surroundings became.


Do you know that time can stand still?  Yes. It can.  For just a brief moment in my life, for the very first time, everything froze.  My blood froze too because a swelteringly hot night though it might have been, I felt like a naked man standing in the middle of the Artic.




Do you want to know what is so remarkable about this experience?  All I could think about were my 2 precious children. MORGAN!  MIYOSHI!  My screams as powerful and loud as the decibels from a lion’s roar deep in the

African jungle, though they might be, were as futile as attempting to grasp

thin air.  It was like the process server and my wife were not even standing there.  As my mind started to settle and old man mute slowly gave way to

audible sound, I heard these words enter my ears: “Mr. Marks please sign the form.”  I looked at the mother, my wife – where I could actually see the images of my kids’ faces imprinted in her face.  For just a blip in time there, I felt slight inspiration before reality quickly set right back in.  Where are my kids??!!  My yelling, pointless.  I soon found out that they were in an undisclosed location.  You see, up to that point, my marriage had been crumbling over the course of several months, so my concerns were not with or about the mother.  However, my relationship with my children had not missed a beat.  As the one out of work, I would be the primary caregiver.  Although I was still seeking out employment, I was essentially a stay-at-home father.  With this being said, it should come as no surprise to you then that my kids had forged a closer bond with me than with the mother.  My kids were the only things that kept me sane in an extremely toxic marriage.


The exit from the marriage by my wife I could handle, but the exit of my kids from my existence was something I didn’t even have the capacity to imagine.  My love for my children is only second to my love for Almighty God.  Now in this context you might be able to appreciate just how delicate and devastatingly desperate this situation was for me.  I was dying, you know?  You mean you didn’t know?  Yes, people do suffer physical deaths, but I am here to tell you today that you can also die in the emotional realm.  I know this because I did…


After this eerie Thursday night, I would not see my kids until almost a month later.  You might say that one month is not very long, but you could not have convinced me of this at that time.  One month was like one year in solitary confinement in the “hole” at Shawshank Correctional Facility.  I am speaking of one of my most favorite movies of all times, the Oscar winning



film, “The Shawshank Redemption.”  Never had I felt so hopeless, so vulnerable, and so weak in all my four decades that I’ve lived on this planet.

Sadness and emotional breakdowns consumed me.  I was on the brink of despondency.


Fast Forward in time and I see my kids for the first time.  It was the result

of a mediation agreement which stipulated visitation from Fridays through Sundays each weekend for me.  My life is now beginning to come back from a blurry opaqueness into a crystal clear focus.  My purpose even seems more defined now.


I’m a lot better now, but there were times that were very rough for me.  These were specifically the times during the exchanges of the kids when they had to go back to the mother on Sundays.  The cries of my little girl looking at me with heavy, tear filled eyes and saying “I want my daddy” made a constant echo inside me.  My insides were the hollow cave in the deepest bowels of the desert, my girl’s words the rock thrown inside it that bounces off of other rocks that produced the sound – that horrible echo.  “Daddy are you coming with us?” My little boy would say this to me after placing him in the mother’s car seat.  This would produce yet another grating echo inside of me.  My throat would get so dry that I would feel like I was choking – almost asphyxiating.  I learned very fast that the words of very small children can make a full, grown man cry.  My kids would say these words every Sunday on the exchanges back to the mother and each Sunday I’d cry, almost uncontrollably at times.  What could I do?  I was absolutely helpless, and I know this is why it hurt so bad.  A father is supposed to help his children feel safe and secure.  I suppose all of our tears flowed from different streams but came back together in a common river of love.  Yes, I suppose we were bound by our tears.  I am so much of a family man, so the hurt and pain I felt can’t possibly be accurately described with words.  But in this forum, I have pledged to do my best in the attempt...


Slowly, I started to pick myself up and put myself back together again.  I knew the importance of being a strong and stable force for my children.  My


kids are well adjusted now and my resilience and faith in God, a solid


nuclear family, and awesome friends have always helped me overcome the insurmountable.  I’ve had too many challenges and setbacks to enumerate

here.   A few people have even told me that my plight would destroy the average mortal, but somehow, someway I’ve been able to overcome and keep moving; keep one foot in front of the other.


“Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying” were the words of Andy Dufresne (played by Tim Robbins in “The Shawshank Redemption”) which were directed at Red (played by Morgan Freeman).  Andy refused to accept Red’s point of getting used to a life in prison.  Both were sentenced to life in prison, but Andy had imagined a life to be lived out in Zihuatanejo, Mexico and asked if Red wanted to join.  If you saw the movie, you know that Red ultimately joined his good friend Andy in that beautiful locale of Mexico.


Like the character Andy Dufresne, I’ve decided to Get Busy Living.  I can’t Get Busy Dying.  I have 2 perfect children who depend on me for financial and emotional support.  Beaten down by the setbacks that pursuing a career in movie directing, producing, and screenwriting can cause, I refuse to be defeated.  I am determined to live the life that I have imagined in every way.  I’m ready to take the cinematic world by storm.


Whether the inspirational words come through the radio waves from Steve Harvey’s 12 minute motivational and spiritual monologue at 6 am on 102.3fm or from Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, or TD Jakes on the television, I know that I must keep pressing on in every area of my life.  The measure of a man is not how he operates in good times, but how he operates in bad times.  I’m paraphrasing this from the wise words of world class actor, Sidney Poitier’s book, “The Measure of a Man”. 


The fact that I’ve weathered a tumultuous tempest and come out vibrant and even stronger speaks to the spirit of my fortitude.  I understand now that I am not ordinary.  I am extraordinary.  I’ve got a field of dreams to fulfill and realize.  Get Busy Dying?  No.  I’m going to Get Busy Living.  Now the question remains.  What are you going to do?




Cinematic Arts Personal Statement

It was a recent epiphany.  I was sitting in my dark room, and it was as if the roof of my home opened up and the light entered – and lifted me up out of it.  It was truly an out-of-body experience.  This was what I felt after starting to feel the love and passion that was beginning to escape me after leaving the movie/entertainment world behind and venturing out.  On this very night I made a decision that I would be willing to die in the sincere attempt to fulfill the dreams and passion God has placed in my heart.  This is rare in most people in any discipline, but it is the main thing that makes me the individual that I am.

I am not that 23 year old, who 15 years ago,  graduated from college with an average GPA.  I have grown into a very professional, passionate and driven individual who has made excellence his standard.  I have not only accumulated years of corporate work experience under my belt, but I have logged many hours on studio movie sets and even directed, produced, and written a few stories of my own.  I have so much to offer, but as a humble person,  I also understand that I still have so much to learn.

One of the things that has shaped who I am and my unique vision and voice is the fact that I have ventured into other disciplines out of the frustration of a stalled, snail-like pace of a career in the movie industry. Although, I never really thought about completely giving up on movie production, I had convinced myself that I could get a “real job” and just continue to make films on the side.  I discovered that my personality is too bold for that, and it can’t be contained inside the tiny four corners of an office or a cubicle.  Probably more importantly, I truly realized that I love the art form of storytelling and that I truly wanted to engage the world by exercising a supreme command of the written word and allowing the powerful, infectious images flowing through the camera and then onto the silver screen  to positively influence the lives around me.

My case for wanting to live my dreams became even clearer as I thought of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “If you haven’t found something worth dying for, then you aren’t fit to be living”.   I then heard Martha Stewart say in a television interview that most people live life without ever fulfilling themselves.  Lastly, just days before the writing of this personal statement, Joyce Meyer commented that so many people live in fear and are so unhappy because they are not living a life of purpose. They are not doing the things that truly make them happy, she proclaimed.  I refuse to be one of these people.

My aim is to tell great stories that my children and their children will continue to talk about and pass forward to posterity.  If I am to do this, then I understood right then and there that my thought life would have to take a drastic turn.  Directing, producing, and writing would have to be at the foreground of my existence and not the background.  It all started in my dark room that night.  This was followed up by writing out a long list of dreams, goals, and desires I have



Page 2

for a career in the movie business.  And those aforementioned things led me to my interest in the USC Cinema Arts MFA program.  So, here I am. 

With that all being said, these distinctive experiences, characteristics, my background, and views have certainly shaped me into a person who aims to be original in every sense of the word.  The most important thing I wish to infuse into my stories are the ones in which ordinary individuals are made extraordinary through the obstacles that they have had to surmount.  These are the stories that are dear to my heart, and because I’ve had so many challenges of my own (marriage separation, unemployment, legal battles in court, and other things, etc.), I strongly relate to this theme.  Although I do want to venture into comedy, science fiction, and other things -- compelling dramas are my main stories of choice.

When I had that epiphany in my dark room on that dark night I was watching the movie “Black Swan”, starring Natalie Portman.  This movie awakened something, so dormant, so primal inside of me that I felt red tears falling from my heart to the pit of my stomach.  It was an absolute masterpiece, and it made me feel alive like great stories do for me. 

The last scene left an indelible mark on me as she gave her final dance performance before a large, rousing audience.  Natalie Portman’s character fell from the stage onto a long pole to her death (or at least it seems it might be her death).  Her last words were something in the vein of “I wanted to see how it felt”.  Her character was striving to perfect the dance sequences of the black swan and white swan, and she had achieved the perfect performance only by giving all of herself and being willing to die to achieve the desired result. 

What makes me the individual that I am is that I have learned that my gifts and talents must be expressed so that the world may benefit from them.  I am ready to give all of myself, every single morsel of my existence, and even my life for this beautiful art form of movie production.  This makes me the individual that I am.  Although I am not a dancer, like Portman’s character, I had, for just a moment in my imagination, written, produced, and directed the perfect movie. I would be immortalized through the telling of a great story.  USC would be where it all started.







Somebody’s Watching Your Every Move Online.

... And It Could Be Your Next Boss…


How many of us get on Facebook and Twitter and post and write and do all kinds of things without giving it a second thought?  Come on now, raise your hands.  I’ve got my hand up.  Guilty as charged.  You are so completely in a zone that you probably don’t even realize that potential employers are watching you online.  Did you know that they are ultimately basing your online activity on whether they will hire you or not?


Human Resources personnel use social networking websites to research applicants and more companies plan on using this strategy soon.  Many people spend an inordinate amount of time in cyberspace.  Most of us may think that posting ads, photos, and tweeting are for personal purposes –  but it is business for many companies.


You might not even realize that voting for president Barack Obama was the thing that caused you not to be considered for that job.  It might not be fair, but it happens.  Some employers can and do hold things like this against potential employees. Conventional wisdom says that an informal social network for friends and a place where employers go to seek out job candidates should not be mixed.  But this is not how the game is played these days.


Now that you’ve had a fair warning, take special notice of all those photos where you and your friends are sloppy drunk or just generally living it up.  Your future boss could be standing in the shadows, stalking your every move.  This big tidal wave of the social networking movement is here.  Embrace it, but be careful how use it.



Food Fight No Other In The World


Bunol, Spain is serving up something quite special this year.  Although, whatever is being served is likely to be thrown before it is eaten.  This is the place for the world’s biggest food fight, La Tomatina 2013.  This festival event takes place on the last Wednesday of August of each year.  Once people get a mouthful of all this fun, they tend to want to come back for seconds the next year.


Each and every year thousands of individuals descend on Bunol to be a part of all this tasty food fight.  The participants get the fortunate pleasure of being bathed in about 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes being tossed at them.  It all looks like a “Nightmare on Elm Street” movie scene on crack – like Freddie really went crazy.  People are walking and running around with smothered in blood-red coloring from the tomatoes.


Like the build to a crescendo in a good classical musical piece, La Tomatina has its own build up.  In other words, there are other events that take place before the big day of the tomato toss.  At this week-long festival, the participant will also enjoy lots of music, parades, fireworks, and dancing, and even cooking competitions.  With all of this as part of the festival line-up, it makes for a more rich and fun-filled experience before the much awaited food fight event.


Make sure you bring as much extra money as possible because prices of everything tend to go up considerably.  The local merchants see how people come and take real pleasure in spending big, especially after throwing back a few cold ones or sipping on a cocktail, so they can raise the prices with no problem.   And with a population of just under 9,000 people, this small town reaches far beyond its capacity when La Tomatina starts.  It is estimated that 40 to 50,000 people enter Bunol to enjoy themselves during this time.  



In an effort to save you time and money, consider staying at cities close to Bunol because hotels are very limited there.  I suggest doing a Google search to find out the best city or location for you.



2013 Las Fallas Day of Festivities

A Climax To An Amazing Display


Valencia is home to Las Fallas 2013.  Anticipation is growing and people are super excited. A 4 day event that features an array of everything from fireworks to toy-like models to other giant sized figures, La Fallas always proves to be worth every minute.  The festival attracts people from the four corners of the world to the city every year.  And planning and putting this impressive festival together is no small feat. 


It can take an entire year to design and create and do all the other particulars. One is blown away by the sheer size and color of things around him.  You’ll see Fallas that resemble cartoon characters and fairytales.


Fireworks Are The Main Features


If you want to hear snap, crackle and pop (and I’m not talking about Rice Crispies cereal), you won’t be disappointed.  You can see the mighty fireworks of the Las Fallas each day – in fact, up to 3 or more times a day.  Almost from the very start of the day you’ll get the pleasure of seeing the sky light up in a scheme of colors from the fireworks.


The Last Day


This day is the most special.  See the created models all set ablaze in the final event called la crema. One is immediately taken with all the heat and light and just the sheer passion in which all involved seem to approach the work at hand.  It is an awesome display that is unlike no other event .


Plan In Advance


Because the festival attracts so many people, this means that there will be a lot of nearby hotels booked.  You’ll want to plan in advance, think ahead.  Make sure you give yourself several days or weeks to book your room.  Rooms won’t be available for long for the Las Fallas festival.

Getting Around


Having a car of any kind won’t do you much good at the Las Fallas festival.  This is because many traffic routes and streets will be closed.  Public transportation is the way to go.  You’ll be in better hands with the bus and train systems.








          There are many reasons why I am interested in pursuing the Master of Public Administration degree.  One reason would be my passion and affinity for public service.   A second reason would be the outstanding faculty and staff members who assisted me with my on-campus visit there at the Sol Price School of Public Policy.  Probably the most important reason I seek to enter the MPA program at USC is that I have this real and raw hunger to learn; and attain the acquisition of knowledge outside of my current efforts.  It is to better myself and broaden my horizons and place myself around people with brilliant and agile minds who will ultimately help me challenge myself in the highest order and aspire to great things.  All the aforementioned things will be used as tools to serve humanity.

            For my entire adult life I have been involved in public service in some form or fashion.  A significant amount of my years in public service has come in the way of volunteer work for non profit organizations.  My involvement in the Big Brothers program has seared indelible and enriching memories in my mind.  I was a mentor to a young boy in Atlanta, Georgia, and after moving to California from Georgia 15 years ago, I became a Big Brother to a boy here in Los Angeles, California.  I met both of these boys before they were adolescents.  Both boys are now young men.  It feels great to take a young soul under my wing and teach him the importance of education, generosity, and kindness.  The feeling is even more amplified when the person(s) becomes a luminous example of all that I hoped for.   The young man, Xavier Ware,  that I mentored in Atlanta has a nice family and a stable job.  My Los Angeles mentee, Robert Steen, who was in a high school magnate program,  will be attending the University of California at Berkeley very soon.

            I have also enjoyed my work with the homeless and veterans population, and a couple of adult literacy programs.  Whether it was teaching men and women how to read or serving food to the homeless men, women, and children at the Los Angeles Mission, or working one on one with a veteran to help him create an effective, marketable resume at PATH (People Assisting The Homeless), I felt fulfilled and inspired.  Public Administration involves public service and these are some of the core reasons why I seek to know more about this field  and build a strong  connection and exchange ideas with others in the SPPD program at USC.

            After setting up an appointment to talk with a student ambassador about the SPPD program, I was pleased from the very start.  I got a sense of what it must feel like to be a part of the USC family; to be a part of something much, much bigger than myself.  I vividly remember sitting across the desk from Sarah Esquivel and thinking about how humble and self effacing she was.  Sarah gave me some helpful pointers about preparing for the GRE and really helping me feel at ease with the core requirement of statistics.  I had mentioned earlier that I was never the math type .  After my meeting with Sarah ended, I was scheduled to sit in on a class there in the SPPD building that same day.  Well, when I showed up, my contact was not there.  In fact, the person never showed up or called in to notify anyone.  Christine Wilson (who I later found out was the Director of Financial Aid because I happened to notice her name plate on her desk as I sat in her office) saw me standing alone waiting, walked right up and asked me if she could be of assistance.  She even went out her way to open her office back up, fired up her computer and pulled a list of classes for me to choose from to sit in on.  You see, it is this kind of care from the two USC staff members that resonate with me.  These types of gestures have a lasting, positive effect on me and makes me feel like I would be among people who will treat me like a family member and not just another number.

            I would certainly be remiss if I did not mention that one truly key reason I aim to pursue the MPA degree is for self improvement.  I feel a primal need -- an urge for knowledge.  To lift myself to the greatest spiritual and mental heights is something I believe is my personal duty to God and my two perfect children.   For the past several months I have been plagued with adversity.  It all started when my wife left me.  And then If it wasn't finding out how I was going to keep a roof over our heads it was how I would provide food to eat.  All while going through this Tsunami of ordeals, the thing at the forefront of my mind was education.  I never stopped reading to my 3 year old girl and 5 year old boy.  I said to  myself that I will even  provide the best example to them about the importance of education by getting into a Masters program at a university.

            Well aware that USC is a top rate university and its MPA program is one of the best in the country, I would be placing myself in an environment where excellence would be the standard.  There would be people all around me who are much smarter than I that I could learn so much from.  The exchange of ideas and educational enlightenment in this communal, nurturing environment could give birth to some of the best solutions to many of the government, community, and social ills of today and future generations.  It is my understanding that the SPPD prepares leaders.  I envision myself being one of these leaders making tremendous strides and helping to make way for a better world.

            With all that I have mentioned, the question is not How would an MPA degree affect my career aspirations and goals? No, no.  On the contrary, the question is How can an MPA degree from USC not affect my aspirations and goals?  One cannot leave such a great institution such as USC  and come out such an outstanding MPA program without wanting more for himself, wanting more for his family, and wanting more in serving humanity.  It is my belief that this impressive MPA network will open my eyes and expose me to so many new ideas and possibilities that my career aspirations and personal goals will always be aligned with improvement of one's self and living a life of service to people.  With an MPA degree from USC, I would be eternally motivated to aim higher and higher in all that I seek to do.  My initial goal would be to attain a public administration position in management at a reputable organization or company.   Eventually I would want to own and operate a non profit and create a foundation some day.  Furthermore, I would be inspired to set goals and reach them.  I could be the one or part of a team that actually helps bring a wonderful healthcare program and other services to so many people who truly need these kinds of resources here in America.  As the adage goes, "the sky is the limit."







“Rubber Tramps” documents the lives of various individuals who decided to travel all around America in their cars and be as free as eagles.  Can you imagine not having to get up every morning to face a job that you hate?  How many working people even get to take one vacation out of town in the course of one year?  How many more dream of quitting and living a life of leisure?  Well, you’ll get a chance to follow men and women for whom traveling is not just a seasonal or yearly vocation – it is a lifestyle.


There is a special appearance by Ken Kesey, author of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.”  Get an insider’s view of each individual’s rich and intriguing tale about living on the road 24/7, 365 days of the year.  A most colorful array of personalities and backgrounds, there are stories from each person strong enough to awaken every human emotion.  You’ll laugh, cry, and rejoice!


"It's seen more as a degraded experience, only something the poor would choose," says one of the subjects of Max Koetter's documentary about folks who live in their buses. And while most of the interviewees appear bedraggled at best, they're also madly inventive outsiders. The masterstroke is a visit with author Ken Kesey, who displays the original psychedelic bus further on his farm and gives props to Neal Cassady as the first to make driving "an extension of his art." – ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE



Buy “Rubber Tramps” today on DVD for $17.95.  There is a $2.00 fee for shipping and handling.  To purchase your copy today, go to this link:






TITLE: “The Sweet Taste of Garden”


KOBE, JAPAN - PRESENT DAY is superimposed over city images...


Colorful skyscrapers, a constant flow of cars and the bustling people give this city its uniqueness.




A woman's BACK is facing us.  She stands between two travel SUITCASES.  A man and a woman tear up as they say their good-byes in JAPANESE.


It is obvious that these two people are the parents of this young woman.


Now this same woman turns around and COMES TOWARDS US with her luggage in hand...




We see a plane.  The acronym JAL (Japan Airlines) painted in red, black, and gray colors on the side of its large metal structure.  It darts through the clouds, making its way to its final destination.




The airplane taxis to a stop.




From a distance we notice this same Japanese woman  we saw a few scenes ago.  Carrying her luggage and walking quite briskly, she makes her way on through the terminal...  She passes a sign that reads WELCOME TO LOS ANGELES.




A pair of BROWN, BROGAN shoes are FULL FRAME on the pavement.  The BROGANS come to a stop.  We make our way up from her shoes, up from the BEAUTIFUL LEGS, up from the BUST to a very HAPPY AND REJUVENATED AND INNOCENT FACE: this same Japanese woman.


We HOLD on her for a moment as she takes in her surroundings.  ... And then she says in her thick Japanese accent...




God bless America!


As Opening credits roll...


We hear the MUSIC BOX.  A small spoon being gently tapped against a wine glass is what is similarly heard when listening to it.  The major difference is that this instrument is not monotone.  It produces a colorful range of song.


And over this tune are the following images: various Japanese gardens.  Cooking equipment as it hangs from storage hooks: pots, pans, butcher knives, etc. We also see all kinds of food as it is being prepared inside hot skillets and on top of grills...




End credits...



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