Monday, December 15, 2014

Passion Party #536 - Danger and Courage

There is danger everywhere
and there is danger nowhere.
It takes a lot to be courageous
and all it takes is getting out of bed in the morning.
Danger and courage are not for someone else,
someone more courageous,
a big risk-taker with medals on her lapels.
Danger and courage is given to all of us
Life is full of danger
and living life to the fullest is a courageous act.
The fight-or-flight instinct,
the reptilian mind may want you to hide under a rock
or become invisible because it feels easy and safe.
It feels easy to play small, just punch the clock, just do the least to get by.
But if we must face danger
(and we must, every day)
it feels better to play by one's wits,
to play with courage and an open heart -
the courage to lead
the courage to accept my responsibility
the courage to choose my next action.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Passion Party #535 - Busy-ness and Worthiness

"Let's stop the glorification of busy.  We don't need to use our busy-ness as a measure of worthiness."
- Jennifer Pastiloff

We have certain addictions in our society
that are acceptable.
Its bad to be an alcoholic
but its acceptable to be a workaholic.
Being addicted to poverty is bad
but being addicted to money is good
(of course, who's to say how much in enough?)

In a way, we are addicted to "busy".
We worship at the Temple of Busy
and we teach our children Busy
We fill our time with Busy
and many of us get paid based on how busy we are.

"Busy" does not make you a better person, it just makes you a more busy person.
Perhaps the questions to ask are,
"Does my busy-ness add to the solution or add to the problem?"
"Does my busy-ness make me a better person?"
It is time to stop measuring worthiness
based on how busy the person is
and start finding time to ask the important questions.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Passion Party #534 - Another Year

There is no keeping up with it.
We can do our best to hold on
but the carousel keeps speeding up.
The excitement and fear
that you may be thrown off the horse
as we race around the track.
It is the home stretch now
rushing into the holiday season
holding on for dear life
take a deep breath
remember 20 acres of desert
the vistas and space
There is space for us all
and I have the choice to dismount
and just walk.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Passion Party #533 - The Biggest Regret

Life is short, a moment in time
and so you must grab the moments as they come.
A life lived to the fullest
will have few regrets.
There may be a wonder about
where other paths may have led,
but I have no regrets for where I am
or what I should have been.
I stopped "shoulding" on myself a long time ago.
My biggest regret
is that my Dad died in 1989, 25 years ago,
and I never got to tell him how much I really loved him.
There was a lot of pain and misunderstanding in our relationship.
I was the estranged son,
living 3000 miles away,
fumbling about, trying to find myself.
It was not until many years after he died that I learned the lessons he was trying to teach me.
Don't wait.
Tell the people around you that you love them.
Life is short, a moment in time.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Passion Party #532 - Peace and Abundance

It continues to amaze me
 that what you think about you talk about
and what you talk about you bring about.
For years my wife and I have had our private morning affirmation,
"Our life is rich, our life is full,
another day of potential and opportunity!"
Often we say it in jest
or between gritted teeth,
but somehow
our lives have turned out to be rich
with potential and opportunity.
Last week, as I hiked in the Santa Monica mountains
looking out over the Los Angeles basin,
I realized I live in the center of peace and abundance.
Now, one can argue that L.A. is not a peaceful city - 
just ask any police officer here.
And I am not discounting the tens of thousands of homeless people
that inhabit the county of Los Angeles.
And yet...
I love the thought
I live in the center of peace and abundance
and I allow it to come to me, and through me.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Passion Party #531 - A Collaborative Community

I just set a Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
It is so "out of the ballpark"
that I can't even see how it can be achieved
but I know others have been able to accomplish it.
I have a vision of what it look like in the end,
and one thing I know
is that I can't get there by myself.
It will require character traits that I still need to develop:
But most of all, it will require
a collaborative community,
united in the vision, trusting each other,
all working together to
make the dream a reality.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Passion Party #530 - Quarterly Goals

I love quarterly goals.
I love creating goals that are measurable and achievable.
It is so much more fun
than long term goals that I never seem to reach,
losing the weight
or having my first million dollars in the bank...
90 days is a good amount of time.
I can see the goal line
and I can easily make up an action plan
chunk it down
one day at a time
one week at a time
And if I set 3 goals for myself
in the next 90 days
and I take action on all three
but I only achieve one...
what a huge success!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Passion Party #529 - Failure and Endurance

We all face failure.
In the real world everyone does not get a trophy.
People keep score
and there are winners and losers.
Fear of failure can stop many a dream.
If you don't try, you won't fail
but you also kill the chance for success.
I went through the early part of my life
taking jobs that taught me what I did not want to do.
It did not feel like failure
it was more a situation of learning form my mistakes.
Over the years I learned endurance.
Life should not be a sprint,
its a marathon
and I want to be one of the people
that can run 100 miles;
then it is not about winning
it is about personal achievement.
When failure is just a lesson learned
then endurance is often the key to success.

*Come join me tomorrow, at Main Event Masters in San Diego
on Wednesday night at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood, CA

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Passion Party #528 - A Dream Realized

You would think after 7 self-produced and released jazz records I would have learned my lesson
but actually each experience has taught me different lessons.
This album started as a thought:
It would be great entertainment to have a jazz band fronted by three singers who could do Andrew Sisters-style 3 part harmony AND also sing in various solo styles.  The show would consist of an evening of jazz and blues, covering the history of vocal jazz styles from the '40s forward.
So the Jazz & Blues Revue was born, initially as a once-a-year special event.
Then after 4+ years of performing clubs and concert halls
there was another thought:
Why not make an album of this material that really captures the talents of this group?
This is not so easy.  A first-class recording of 13 songs with a 9-piece group including 3 singers would definitely cost time and money to produce and release.
In January 2014 I started researching the possibility of using crowd-funding to make this dream happen.
On June 1 we launched our Kickstarter campaign to raise $18,000 to make the recording.
On July 10 the campaign ended,
and over 250 fans had pledged over $20,000.
Two weeks later, with recording budget in the bank,  the band went into the studio and started recording.
Even after dealing with everyone's summer vacation schedules the tracks were all "in the can" by Labor Day.
On September 6  the mixing and mastering process began, along with designing the CD package.
On October 1 the final master, plus all the album artwork went off to DiscMakers, to press the album.
And now 1000 copies of the Jazz & Blues Revue sit in my garage, ready to market.
The official "Release Date" for the George Kahn Jazz & Blues Revue will be November 20
but NOW, on October 22, we get to share our dream with you with our CD Release Party.
I hope you can join me
in  this dream realized.
Wednesday October 22 at 8:00 PM (doors open at 7:00)
6725 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
                                                RSVP for best seats    Call 323-466-2210

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Passion Party #527 - Blessings

For this blessing of strength
 For this blessing of talent
For this blessing of passion
For this blessing of health
For this blessing of desire
For this blessing of intuition
For this blessing of creativity
For this blessing of vision
For this blessing of generosity
For this blessing of support
For this blessing of friends and family
an abundance of blessings
to carry me through this day

Friday, October 3, 2014

Passion Party #526 - Pain and Strength

Some times we are given emotional pain,
we can't see a way out
and we have to dig deep
to find a place of strength  to help us get through.
Some times we are given physical pain,
we have an accident
or our body gives out from "normal" wear and tear
life becomes depressing
we question carrying on.
Some times we seek pain
in the belief that it will motivate us,
pushing us towards a better life.
The pain strengthens  our resolve
and helps us focus on the pleasure to be found
when we get through to the other side.
If pain is the problem,
strength is often the answer
and we need to search inside to find it.
Or maybe pain and strength go hand-in-hand
pushing us forward
to a better life.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Passion Party #525 - Disappointment and Patience

We want what we want
and we want it now.
We want to be our own higher power
and we want to control
the beginning, middle and end.
But life has other plans
and these often include disappointment.
In the end
the amount of happiness we realize
and really, the value of our life
is based on
how we handle disappointment,
and if we have learned patience along the way.
As we learn to have patience
we also learn that
disappointment, like happiness.
is a passing emotion,
a chance to refocus, review and reflect
on what went wrong and what went right.
Disappointment loses its power
and patience often becomes
its own reward.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Passion Party #524 - Commitment

Why am I so scared?
Is commitment the first step towards success, or the last step towards certain failure?
You have all these ideas and plans, dreams and hopes
But to commit to one and not the other
to the song list
to the art work
to the project
to the assistant
to the art director
to the engineer...
Commitment involves TRUST
You are trusting the other person to follow through as well.
Commitment is rarely a solitary action
If you commit to a large enough goal
you will need the support of others to achieve it.
No man stands alone for long.
Last night I started to doubt my judgement
the closer I got to commitment, the more the doubt arose.
The "what if" and "maybe" reared their heads.
Now it is time to sit quietly
listen to that inner voice that brought me this far
to the edge of commitment
listen, look and feel,
and trust the decision.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Passion Party #523 - Count Your Blessings

"Count your blessings"
is something that your Grandmother told you
or perhaps you heard the expression when you were young.
But how many times do you
and count your blessings?
How many days go by
without realizing
how rich your life really is?
even before I made coffee
I took a moment
and counted my blessings,
 realized the richness of my life.
Two pages later,
in gratitude,
I am ready to start my day.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Passion Party #522 - Ask

I have to let you in on the world's most powerful and neglected secret to success and happiness:
 This simple three letter verb requires you to take action, creates momentum and guarantees a result (not always the result you want or expect, but you always get an answer).
But the key to asking is in learning how to ask for what you want.
Here is a summary from Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen's book, The Aladdin Factor:
1) Ask with a positive expectation
2) Assume you can get it
3) Ask someone who can give it to you
4) Vague requests produce vague results.  Be clear and specific in asking.
5) Ask repeatedly.  As the owner of a company that I used to work for said, "The 'yes' is easy. When someone says 'no', that is when we have to go to work."
Today is the last day of our Kickstarter campaign.  We asked, and over 200 people said "yes", and we are now on our way into the studio to record our new album.
And it would not have happened if we did not ask.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Passion Party #521 - Just Lean Into It

Success often happens when you just lean into it
 when you leave yourself open to opportunities
without a contract or any expectations.
Like the snowball that continues to grow as it rolls downhill,
leaning into it creates momentum.
Momentum is that unseen energy force that brings more opportunity
more resources
more people who can help you on your path as it unfolds.
38 years ago I threw my electric piano and all my belongings into a Dodge van,
and drove to Los Angeles to be a professional musician.
I had no job, no contract
I just leaned into the dream
I did not know then that my real purpose
was to help people with my knowledge, creativity and organizational skills
to build better lives
and that leaning into my dream
would lead me to a successful banking career
8 self-released jazz albums
a published book
and a wonderful wife and family.
You lean into it
You see how it feels
 The journey will take you where you want to go - or even someplace better.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Passion Party #520 - Fail Forward

"You can never learn less; you can only learn more. The reason I know is because I have made so many mistakes."
-Buckminster Fuller

Many people fail to take action because they are afraid to fail.
But if we look at each mistake as a lesson to learn,
then the failure is really just part of the learning process.

Mistakes are just opportunities for learning something new
and if I continue to
fail forward
if I am willing to fail and learn
then success will come eventually.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Passion Party #519 - Do It Now

There is no perfect time to start.
Preparation has its place
and you have prepared enough
the lesson plan
the rough sketches
all of the skill-building and training
Now it is time to get in the game
It is time to learn by doing
If you don't do anything
for fear of doing it wrong
then you will never get it right.
Get into communication with the people you want to serve
learn from the feedback
adjust your course as you travel towards the goal
Just take the next step
do it now

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Deep In The Kickstarter Trenches, Part 5

The Jazz & Blues Revue is now 35 days into our 40-day Kickstarter campaign: Four days left in one of the largest "passion projects" of my life. We just hit $15,891.   It feels like an amazing achievement, but we still have $2,109 to go to meet our goal.  And, since Kickstarter is an "all or nothing" fundraising site, we have to still hit the $18,000 number or it all turns to dust. 
Are there moments of panic? Absolutely.  Is there fear and embarrassment?  You bet.  But there is no time to waste on doubt and false evidence that appears real.  It is time for action.
Our project will be ending  on Friday July 11,2014 at 2:00 PM in the afternoon, and I know it will be successful.  Why do I know?  Read these last lessons I learned during the process:

1.    Stay Positive
I am not a big fan of positive affirmations - I think there is a fine line between always being positive and being delusional.   But I think it is important to surround yourself with positive, like-minded individuals, so at times like this listening to Brian Tracy, W. Clement Stone or Jack Canfield can't hurt.  My favorite book to listen to this week is "The Success Principles" by Jack Canfield, the founder of the "Chicken Soup For the Soul" Books. I listen to it while I drive, and I always come home with a new idea to promote our campaign.
2.    It's Time To Delegate
We are the smartest. We are the best.  We are unique.  Only we know how to talk to our fans.  Time is running out - it is time to lose this lie.  A lot of what you do to promote yourself (emails, tweets, Facebook posts) could easily be delegated to a minimum-wage employee with some simple directions.  So what are you waiting for?
What is your highest and best use during the next 5 days? (HINT: It is item #3 on this list).  It is time to hire a friend or a high school or college student to work for minimum wage, sending one last email to everyone in your database that has not donated to the campaign yet.
3.  The 5 Most Likely People
If you are like me, you have been putting off the difficult "fundraising" phone calls.  Time's UP! People want to get on board your project, and they are just waiting for a little nudge from you.  Who are the 5 best/most financially well-off of your fans?  Who's missing from the people that have already gotten on board?  Make a list of the 5 most likely people to donate at a high level to your campaign and then call them first thing in the morning.  The missing money is just waiting for you to ask.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Play Big! -Reprint of Passion Party #18

Bigger is not always better.
Sometimes bigger is just bigger.
Look at GM. Look at Chrysler.
Look at Six Flags - this company grew to be the biggest operator of amusement parks in the US. They declared bankruptcy a couple of weeks ago.

There is a difference between getting big and playing big.
You can buy things to get big -
- Playing big is an internal game.
You can consume things to get big
- Playing big is a state of mind.
You can acquire things to get big.
- Playing big builds on your unique ability.

Today I choose to play big. I was not put on this earth to play small.
Playing small does not serve me or others. I can shine my light, turn on my high beams. I have so much to give!
I love to play big, surrounding myself with people that help pull me up to the next level.
Marianne Williamson said, "And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same".

And if I can't play big here, well it must be time to find a better playground!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Passion Party #518 - Deep In The Kickstarter Trenches

The Jazz & Blues Revue is now 27 days into our 40-day Kickstarter campaign. Yesterday we crossed the $11,000 mark on our way to the $18,000 goal.  We are 62% funded, and with only 13 days to go the pressure is on. 
My back is aching from too many hours on the Internet, sending emails, posting blogs, sharing in groups.  But I feel a sense of calm.  The events of the last week have made me more certain that we will reach our goal in the next 2 weeks.
Part of actualizing the result is having a complete vision of the final product.  This week I interviewed (and booked) a Grammy-award winning studio in Los Angeles for the recording session, started confirming the musicians and the album art. As they say, "What you think about you talk about, and what you talk about you bring about." The more complete the picture, the easier it is to bring it to reality.
Four weeks in, and more lessons:
1.    Engage - engage - engage
Remember that people are not just buying a product; they are participating in an experience.  Our job is to engage people in the process of creating the project, raising awareness of WHY we are doing what we are doing.  Continuing to write this blog, sending a personal thank you email to each backer, and posting regular updates on Kickstarter are all part of that process.  The most "out of the box" idea: Posting short videos on YouTube, answering people's question about the project (Here is one I posted, answering the question "What ARE you going to do with all this money?"
Next week's video is going to be a visit to the recording studio!
As Captain Pickard on Star Trek says "Make it so - ENGAGE!"
2.    One more time to go wide, and then we have to go deep, and ASK

I had read that when you do a Kickstarter project there is usually a lull in donations in the middle of the campaign, and we have experienced that this last week. Next week is the first of the month, so it is time to send out my monthly newsletter to the whole database - one last blast to remind people to get on board.  After that, with 10 days left it will be time for the final push. This will involve real targeted marketing.

There are people in our database that we know planned to donate, and they have not done it yet.  Some people are waiting until the end, so they can be the "hero" and come to the rescue.  That time is now!
There are people that we know that have the financial capability to donate at a sizable level if they choose to.  Its time to reach out to them, and actually ask them to pledge at one of the higher levels - as an executive producer or to hire the band for a future event they may be planning.  Someone really famous once said, "Ask and it will be given to you", and my Uncle Moe once said, "If you don't ask, you don't get!"
3.    Keep the energy up
We have a new slogan, posted on the refrigerator:
"All I ask of you is to greet each day with a level of exuberance never before witnessed by mankind."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Passion Party #517 - Jack's Formula for Success

I love simple formulas.

If Einstein can distill the theory of relativity down to
e = mc2,
then I know that the most compicated ideas must have
a root formula that is simple
and easy to comprehend.

Today I was reminded of Jack Canfield's formula for success.
He wrote a nice big book about it which you can spend days reading,
Or you can just remember this simple formula:

It is not the events that happen to you that dictate your life.
If you take ownership of what happens,
if you take responsibility
(in other words, you OWN your response to the events that happen)
then in the long run you control the outcome.

It is the way you RESPOND to EVENTS that creates the OUTCOME.

E + R = O  (Events + Responses = Outcome).

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Horace Silver Dies, 85 years young

One of my heores in Jazz piano, Horace Silver, died today.  He was the source of a lot of my jazz inspiration over the years.
Here is the LA Times OBIT
And here is a sample of his music

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Passion Party #516 - First With The Head, Then With The Heart

(For Bryce Courtenay)

I have always been a bit of a loner.

I would much rather be on my own creating something than hanging out with a group of friends.
I always wanted to be the leader, as it is easier to keep yourself protected by being out in front.

As a front-runner, I always wanted to win.
Winning is something you work out intellectually.
Emotion clouds the mind,
and is its natural enemy.

In the past this made for loneliness
which often left me aching to share an emotion
but equally afraid that if I did so
I would reveal a weakness that might
later be used against me.

It was years later that I realized that real winning is not just a mental exercise
People connect more with the emotion than the thought process
And I had to create first with the head, and then with the heart.

So this has been the sound of the train that runs through my life
Running down the tracks,
The clickety-clack of the wheels saying
"First with the head, then with the heart,
First with the head, then with the heart..."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Passion Party #515 - Achievement Formula

Why is it
that some people succeed and others fail?
There is a simple formula that can  help change
a passing thought into reality.
For some a dream is just that,
a wish with no real desire to bring it about
only a "wouldn't it be great if..."
Part of it is follow-up
part of it is follow through
part of it is learning the skill
part of it is a burning desire
but the key element to the formula
is the effort one puts into making it happen
once the skill is learned.
Achievement = Skill X Effort 

Join me with the Jazz & Blues Revue

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Passion Party #514 - Sharing My Passion

As you know, I am passionate about playing piano and creating jazz music.

I love sharing my heartfelt talent and love of music with others.

It gives me pleasure to give it, and I know from the response I get, people love receiving this gift.

Now, for the first time in 4 years, I am planning to go back in the studio and release an album with my new group, The Jazz & Blues Revue.  And I can use your help in making this happen.

Releasing a top-quality album of 13 songs, brilliantly performed by the best musicians in Los Angeles, is an expensive venture.  Unlike my previous 7 jazz albums, this time I have decided to use Kickstarter, a "crowd-funding" website. 

I'm looking for “first followers” to get this party started.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it is a website where you pledge money to help get this album completed.  In exchange, you receive a copy of the finished CD, and many other great items, like a visit to the studio or tickets to the CD release party in Hollywood!  

Kickstarter is an "all or nothing" site, so if we do not hit our goal, you get your money back…so, you have nothing to lose, and a lot of good karma  (and some truly terrific music) to gain!

You can pledge any time between now and July 10 by going to

Or go to, and search for George Kahn

Your support for this wonderful artistic endeavor is sincerely appreciated!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Passion Party #513 - A Sojourn on Earth

We are all visitors here
brought here by our parents
and their parents before them
without an owners manual or guidebook.
We are the total of our past, our upbringing, our education
and then
we are passing through.
it is a short visit
but I am not in exile,
I are not running from or running to
I am a visitor here
learning the language
finding the things that engage me
and then
Sharing my knowledge
Caring for those near me
Loving those around me
until it is time to move on.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Passion Party # 512 - Change What You Think

"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."
-John Lennon
I may have it all figured out
but then life gets in the way.
Life is filled with adversity
starting from the first day we are pushed from our mother's womb.
You cannot change the fact that
you will face adversity
But you can change the beliefs you have
about the adversity.
If I believe that life is a school
and every adversity is a lesson to be learned
my life will take a different turn
than if I believe that life is an ongoing struggle
and every adversity brings more difficulty.
Its as simple as A + B = C
Adversity + Beliefs = Consequence

Friday, May 2, 2014

Passion Party #511 - Build A Circus Library!

The question I posed was,
"If you had a choice, would you build a circus or a library?"
The answer I got was that it is not a simple dichotomy.
Life gives us many options.  Andrew Carnegie built  great libraries, and he also built concert halls.
As one friend said,
"Does not Shakespeare, or the Bible for that matter, have strong elements of "the circus" in it?...

The greatest works in our libraries point to an integration of spirit, mind and heart. And the greatest entertainers apprehend the spirituality implicit in the bond of people coming together as one."
And another had the best idea:
"I'd build a circus which contains within it's fabric a world class library!!!"

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Kindle e-book sale starts May 1

Beginning on May 1,  the Kindle edition of The Pursuit of Passion is on sale for as little as 99 cents!  The sale lasts a week, and the price goes up gradually as the week goes by, so now is the time to grab one for your Kindle!  Go here to get your e-book on sale:   or here:

Passion Party #510 - Build A Circus or Build A Library?

Do you pray at the Temple of Knowledge
     or the Temple of Entertainment?
Is my purpose to entertain or to teach?
Our life is short and full of pain
so I will build a tent of wonder, magic and humor
filled with acts of physical dexterity.
Its purpose will be to bring joy to children
and to their families.
A circus is a place of humanity,
of financial and emotional exchange.
Our life is short and full of pain
so I will build a great library
I will bring people together to study and learn
from mankind's accumulated knowledge.
Organized knowledge is power and
a library is a lasting gift.
Its purpose will be to bring literature and wisdom to children
and to their families.
A library is a place of humanity,
of education and philosophical exchange.
So, given the choice,
would you build a circus or a library?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Passion Party #509 - If I Had All The Money I Want

Desire is not limitless
I can only eat so much chocolate cake before it spoils my birthday.
 So it is with money.
I love having money
I love knowing that every day there is enough money in my checking account to cover my expenses.
 I love he thought that
I control my income level and
I choose to make enough money for an abundant life
Every month I am able to set aside 30% of my income for savings and paying taxes
Life is good.
The purpose of my wealth is not to make more wealth
but to buy me freedom.
Freedom to do what I want as I get older
Freedom to travel and see my kids thrive and grow.
My current goal is a million dollars in the bank - this feels substantial.
And then the new challenge of not spending all of it before I die will arise.
Whether your goal is $100,000 or $100,000,000
it is all relative
it is just extra zeros
the important thing is to know that there is enough
and this, my friend, is an inside job.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Passion Party #508 - The Passover Egg

The story is told this time of year
 in Jewish households around the world.
A story of freedom and redemption,
of a God that speaks directly to man
and causes miracles as well as hardship.
A vengeful God that in the end
takes away the life of one Egyptian generation
so that a new generation of Jews
can have freedom to search for a new land.
The story is told in symbol and song,
with a plate filled with items that, the book tells us,
represent the Pascal Lamb, the mortar used to build bricks,
the bitterness of slavery,
and Spring vegetables dipped in the tears of life.
But what of the egg?
The egg sits on the Seder plate, with nary a mention in the story.
This symbol of rebirth, of fertility,
is the unspoken connection to our Pagan past.
The Jews believe in one God,
but the holiday traditions still speak to the rituals
of celebrating and acknowledging the seasons.
It is no coincidence that the Festival of Lights falls near the Winter Solstice
nor is it an accident that Passover takes place during the full moon
around the time of the Spring Equinox.
The egg does not fit in the Haggadah;
It precedes the story
It is what came first
It is the new beginning
the new birth of the world
our connection to our primordial past
and a chance for us to make a better life in the future.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Passion Party #507 - Change and Progress

Just when I think I have it figured out, everything changes.
It happens all the time
 and is a constant fact of life.
The question is
what do you do when change occurs?
 How do you react to the new landscape, the new guidelines, the new mailman, the new pay structure?
Change happens automatically.
Progress is a choice.
I can choose to move forward
I can choose to grow
I can decide to grab the new rule book and learn it
or I can decide to write my own rule book, and see what happens
Whatever happens, I know that once I have it all figured out, everything will change
and then I will more choices.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Passion Party #506 - Ethics Vs. Values

You can round up all the investment bankers, all the C-Suite executives
 and all the Wharton and Harvard MBA Students
and teach them Ethics
and it will make no difference.
What makes a difference is the person's Values.
Ethics is a defined as a philosophy of systematizing and recommending concepts of right and wrong.
Values are what you deem important to your life,
the actions you are willing to take because they gives meaning to your life.
Just knowing right from wrong does not solve the problem;
sometimes people discover doing the wrong thing is best if their values are selfish or greedy.

The US Army has core values:
loyalty - duty - selfless service - integrity
Our constitution has core values:
life - liberty - the pursuit of happiness
My business has core values:
integrity - professionalism - caring - teamwork - stewardship
Find your core values, and the ethics will follow.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Passion Party #505: Not-So-Dumb Phone

I live in a prehistoric age
when there wasn't an "app" for that,
there was a nap for that.
I have an old-fashioned "flip phone",
one of those clam-shell jobs
that doesn't break when I drop it on the ground.
I can call people.
They can call me.
They can even text me now (I finally agreed to spend $5 a month so I can connect with modern people that type into their phones instead of using their voice.)
I even text back - one or two words usually.
People get mad at me if I don't respond when they email me while I am in a car, or in the elevator, or at night.
They just have to wait a little bit.
Patience, they say, is a virtue.
Now we are learning the downside of
always being connected.
There is an aphorism: "When something online is free, you’re not the customer, you’re the product."
The GPS on your smart phone not only tells you where the nearest pizza place is,
it tells data brokers that you like to eat pizza.
It tells Google and Facebook to push pizza ads your way.
If you choose, your phone will now know
when you sleep, how you sleep, when you wake up, where you are, what you are doing.
It may all be harmless
but it sounds a bit too much like "1984".
Do you remember that?
It is something they used to call a "book" by George Orwell.
Right now I am happy to have a phone
that is just a "dumb phone".

Monday, March 3, 2014

A real live Passion Party this Friday!

Once or twice a year I get to play my own music with musicians that pull me up to a whole 'nother level.  This Friday is one of those rare nights.

This Friday on Hollywood I get to play with my favorite band:
Alex Acuna on drums
Lyman Medeiros on Bass
Bobby Rodriguez on trumpet
Larry Klimas on Sax
and my very special guest, my wife Diana Zaslove on vocals

for an evening of beautiful heartfelt music and inspiring improvisation

at the Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood

Tickets are $25 each
Music starts at 8:30.  We'll probably only play until 10:30, so don't be too late! 

it will be a night to remember...

reserve tickets here
or call 323-466-2210. reservations are essential!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Passion Party #504 - The Purpose of Wealth

We live in a world with a narrow view:
 A capitalistic world
where the accumulation of money is given
a spot at the top of the podium
in the Olympic Games of Life.
It is ingrained in our society
in the schools and universities that teach us
that the purpose of business is to make a profit
and the purpose of wealth is to create more wealth.
We can argue the fact,
but in daily life we see
corporations buying each other,
not to improve service but to make a larger profit
and we see the wealthy get wealthier
(as F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "The rich get richer and the poor get -- children".
The problem is that these two beliefs about
the purpose of business and wealth
remove the human element,
the people that labor in the businesses
and the person that is accumulating the wealth.
We are not machines.
Business is made up of individuals
and successful businesses are made up of people with a common drive and purpose.
Wealth does not consist solely of
the accumulation of money.
If we look at wealth as a combination of
money - health - happiness - positive human relationships
then the purpose of wealth is to create more
 money - health - happiness - positive human relationships,
not just for the individual
but for society as a whole.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Passion Party #503 - The Butter Notes

Herbie Hancock had been working with the Miles Davis Quintet for a while, and he found that he was in a rut.  Everything he played seemed formulaic and sounded the same.  Davis saw his frustration and offered some advice, "Don't play the butter notes."
"Butter notes?" thought Herbie.  "What is that? Does 'butter' mean 'fat'?  Or does it mean 'obvious'?  I had to think about it, and finally realized that if I left out the notes that most clearly define the chords it would allow the harmonies to open up to various views."
 So it is with life.  We can spend our whole life playing "the butter notes".  Or we can live in a way that expands our possibilities, opening up our future to various views and perspectives.  And the people around you will respond to the interest and exploration, taking both of you to different places.
 The openness is attractive, and inspiring.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Passion Party #502 - Disappearing Things

9 Things That Will Disappear In Our Lifetime 

1. The Post Office
2. The Cheque
3. The Newspaper
4. The Book
5. The Land Line Telephone
6. Music as more than a "content provider"
7. Television
8. The "Things" That You Own
9. Privacy
The answer:
Turn off your smart phone and send it back to Apple or Samsung. Write a letter a day to someone you care about. Subscribe to your local newspaper, and write letters to the editor when a story moves you.  BUY the book or art or music that you love, and collect the physical objects of your love.  Feel good about the artists you are supporting.
Sorry, not sure if I can (or want to) save television.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Passion Party #501 - The Meaning Of Wealth

There has been a lot of discussion lately
 about the consolidation of wealth in our world.
The news - surprise! - is that the rich are getting richer.
Based on statistics gathered by Credit Suisse, and reported by
 29 million, or 0.6% of those with any actual assets under their name, own $87.4 trillion, or 39.3% of all global assets.
But what is the meaning of riches
and what is the meaning of wealth?
Is my goal to become Scrooge McDuck,
diving into my room filled with gold coins?
Is wealth the amount of money a person amasses
or is it something larger
something that cannot be measured like
Gross Domestic Product?
Does wealth stop the addict from the overdose?
Does wealth prevent death?
Has anyone ever seen a Brinks truck
in a funeral procession?
Perhaps the meaning of wealth in my life
is bigger than a monetary goal.
Perhaps, like a beam of light entering a prism
there is a rainbow of colors that make up my wealth.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Passion Party #500 - A Lovely Day

There are things that annoy me about Los Angeles
(like the other day when I was being tailgated on the freeway by someone driving a car with a vanity plate that read, "B JENTL").
And then there are days like yesterday where you have an experience that truly could not happen in any other city in the world.
Diana and I drove to downtown Los Angeles,  parked at Disney Hall and then took the subway to the Hotel Figueroa next to the Staples Center for a pre-Grammy music party, sponsored by one of the big entertainment law firms here in town. 
We spent the afternoon sipping Chardonnay and eating middle-eastern food while we listened to young upcoming bands and thought about all the high-heels being packed into those overpriced seats in Staples Center.
Then around 5:00 PM we took a walk through downtown, up to Grand Avenue.  After a beverage stop at Nic + Stef's, we walked to Disney Hall to see the Los Angeles master Chorale perform Bach's B Minor Mass, one of the greatest choral pieces ever written.
Surrounded by glorious architecture, we listened to the chamber orchestra and 100-voice choir perform in the acoustically perfect concert hall.   The 2 hour work is one of the great monuments of Baroque music, and it carries you on a journey from forgiveness, to death, resurrection and finally to glory and a  glowing finale.
From Daft Punk to J. S. Bach, all in one day... only in L.A.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Passion Party #499 - The Servant Master: Self-abnegation

I have had some questions about this last series of posts.
I wrote them to remind myself that I am not in charge.
Self-abnegation is an interesting term with two very different definitions.
For me it is not "the denial of one's own interests in favour of the interests of others", as much as "the setting aside of self-interest for the sake of others or for a belief or principle."  (a subtle differentiation there, but very important).
I do not feel that I am denying my own interests - they are very much alive and important to me.
My day is filled with talking to people that want to buy or refinance a home and need counseling and guidance.  I need to keep remembering that it is not about "the sale" as much as "the service".  In the end I make money, but that is not my primary focus.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Passion Party #498 - The Servant Master: Humility

I teach by doing.
I give in anonymity.
I remember where I came from.
I do not lord over others.
I start the day by asking, "Who can I serve today?  How can I make the world a better place?"

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Passion Pasrty #497 - The Servant Master: Forgiveness

When I forgive those that have hurt me, it is the first step towards making myself whole. I can forgive, and take the next action.

The choice of living in anger, hatred, revenge and violence leads down a road that is like a feedback loop - it gets louder as we listen to that voice, and there is no resolution, no completion, just more anger and hatred.

Once I forgive, I can start to build trust and love again. Or I can move on. Either way, I am complete.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Passion Party #496 - The Servant Master: Patience

I am not the most patient person.
I don't suffer fools.
But I can be patient when working on a project.  I can put hours into learning something new, or organizing things or creating systems that will make my life easier in the future.  
I guess I am patient with things, just not with people.
This is why I am not a great teacher, but I am an excellent student.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Passion Party #495 - The Servant Master: Gratitude

When I start my day with gratitude it is always a better day.
I am grateful that my feet hit the floor for another day.
I am grateful that I am capable of breathing, stretching, meditating and  exercising.
I am grateful for the place that I live, grateful that I am surrounded by love and support.
These thoughts of gratitude carry me into another day.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Passion Party #494 - The Servant Master: Truthfulness

I start from a place of openness.
Then I share the truth.  My truth.
For me, truthfulness is not an absolute, nor is it something I can embody fully.
If I am honest with myself, I will admit that I live in about 75% truthfulness.
Sometimes the truth hurts, and then I need to decide, is it worth it to experience that pain?
I may think I know "the truth", but I must be open to the other person's view and opinion.
I must be sensitive 
never using my "truth" in as way that hurts another person.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Passion Party #493 - The Servant Master: Acceptance

Acceptance is the key. 
I can spend my life struggling with the way things are, with the people I work with, with the changes in my business, or I can accept the things I cannot change and work on the things I can. 
When I let go of the struggle I begin to see the true nature of things.
Then I can move forward.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

PassionParty #492 - The Servant Master: Compassion

            For me, compassion is personal.  I can feel that the world is in trouble, but I don’t do anything about it.  When I see a person in need, and I feel I can help, then compassion takes hold.  I need to act locally, having compassion for those I can directly affect.
   If I do one compassionate act a day, whether it is caring for a sick friend or giving a dollar coin to the busker at the mall, my day becomes better.