Monday, January 24, 2011

Rest in Peace Jack Lalanne

Jack Lalanne passed away on Sunday at the age of 96 from complications due to pneumonia.  He was an icon to health, wellness and fitness.  It's only fitting to quote dear Jack Lalanne in my blog on how to stop smoking:

"The only way you can hurt the body is not to use it.
Inactivity is the killer and remember, it's never too late."

Originally, I had written, "it's only fitting to quote dear OLD Jack Lalanne..."  and then I went back an deleted the word "old."  Jack Lalanne was 96 when he passed away but he was anything but old.  "Old" in my opinion is a state of mind.  Nothing more, nothing less.

To show you what I mean, Wikipedia provided me with an excellent example of the youthful mind at work:

In 2004, LaLanne emphatically told an interviewer, "Would you give your dog a cigarette and a doughnut for breakfast every morning? People think nothing of giving themselves that for breakfast, and they wonder why they don't feel good. If asked about sex, he had a standard joke, saying that despite their advanced age, he and his wife still made love almost every night: "Almost on Monday, almost on Tuesday, almost on Wednesday..."

When I was born, Jack was already 58.  Two years later, Jack was shackled, hand cuffed, tied to a boat and tossed in the San Francisco Bay just off the shore of Alcatraz Island.  From there, Jack swam to Fisherman's Wharf...  FOR THE SECOND TIME!  The first time was 10 years earlier.  THAT is what I call being in shape.  Clearly, Jack lived up to his most recent book title, Live Young Forever.

Growing up, I had a few Television experiences that I believe have a certain partial responsibility for my affinity with late 19th and early 20th century pop and physical culture.  One was the 1950's Superman series played in rerun and then there was Jack Lalanne.  I remember watching that show in the mornings on T.V.  The memory is not vivid, but it is present.  When I think back to some of the things that I saw in childhood that stimulated my curiosity for physical culture, Jack Lalanne always comes to mind.

So how did I wind up smoking?  The pull of the past was too strong and Jack got vetoed by Bogart, Dean and Sinatra.  Ironically, I still exercised while smoking.  I lifted weights and ate pretty healthy.  Amazing because if I didn't have exercise I honestly don't know if I would have been able to stop.  Exercise has saved me.  In recent years, exercise and physical culture has kept my head as about as straight as it's gonna get. 

So for me, it came around full circle.  Health, Fitness and Wellness won out over nicotine, tobacco and another old friend named Jack.  Old No. 7, to be exact.  February 19th will mark 4 years sober and in May I'll realize 9 years of being a smoker who doesn't smoke.  Sorry Bogie.  You're cool to the end.  The main problem there is that the end came too soon.

Jack Lalanne and Humphry Bogart are now immortal.  Both their lives can teach us something and both of their deaths can give us lessons to carry with us into our futures.  Both men strong and vibrant.  Both funny, loving and passionate.  Both figures to look up to.  One smoked two packs a day and died way too soon, the other juiced himself to 96.  Camel's or Juice?  Uh....  juice please.

God speed Jack Lalanne.  Thank you.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Grant Cardone Contest and My Book

How would like to tinker with using social media to expand your business?  Social Media can make a dramatic impact on brand awareness, lead generation and getting the word out there that you are out there.  Before the internet, word of mouth was the best form of advertising, but now with the internet, word of mouth suddenly has a global reach.  Social media and blogging has gotten me personally hits on my blogs and Hubs from all over the world.  "LIKES" on Facebook from "How to Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone" has people from all over the world.

What is your business?  Are you using social media to promote yourself and your business?  If not.  Why not?  Do you sell insurance?  Are you a bank teller?  Personal Trainer?  Therapist?  Author?  Car Salesman?  It doesn't matter what you do, it you're in the business of exchanging on thing for another, you're in sales!  Social media is a powerful way to expand your reach.  If you want to get started or at least try it, a great way to get your feet wet is through a little contest being had over here:

For those of you you who've never heard of him, Grant Cardone, is a sales and marketing trainer and author.  He's on his 4th book and has been touring the country revolutionizing the way we do business.  From the automotive industry to real estate and to any sales oriented career, Grant has studied and practiced the art and science of selling for a very long time.  He has probably forgotten more about how to sell than most people ever actually learn.  His business exploded greater than ever when he started in with social media.  It's amazing how just a little extra effort can make huge impacts on your life and business.

It's his contest and the prizes are...  you know what, forget the prizes for a second.  Today, I signed up for twitter.
  Why have I not signed up for and started marketing me and my book, "How To Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone" on Twitter yet?  Today I did because of a "silly" contest.  What was is it that finally got me to do that?  Was it the opportunity to win $10,000 in training materials from Grant?  Was it the opportunity to win an iPad?  Not really.  You see, I'm not "into" contests.  I'm competitive with only one person and that's me.  Sure I like to win, but I don't like to win at the expense of others so I always look for a win/win scenario.  This contest challenged me to step up my game in social media and will do the same for you.

At the very least, if you want to see a brilliant example of social media working to expand a business.  Check out this link and look around.  You will see the power of Social Media in a whole new light.

Thanks in advance for checking it out.  Sign up just for the hell of it and see if you don't learn something.  In fact, I double dog dare you to sign up, try it and see if you don't learn something new.  When you do learn that one new thing, please let me know what it was by leaving a comment on this blog post.

Thanks again!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ted Williams The Man With the Golden Voice

Ted Williams was a homeless man with a pair of pipes that will simply blow you away! Watch this video below.

I saw this guy on the local news channel here in L.A.  I then went to Google News to read up on this rags to riches type story.  More importantly I wanted to know more about this man who has conquered many of his own demons and found some level of solitude on the side of the road.

The first thing I read was a blog post from the Washington Post:

In it, Melissa Bell reminds us of an little experiment done a few years back where world renowned Joshua Bell went into a subway with his multimillion dollar violin and proceed to play classical music for the people going about their daily lives.  Guess what?  Hardly anybody took notice of who was playing or the perfectly beautiful sounds coming from the subway tunnel.  What does this tell you about the toll taken by the hustle and bustle of daily American life?

This calls for a Ferris Beuller Quote:  "Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!"

And so it goes for Ted Williams, a man on the side of the road with a pair of pipes destined for announcing.  Two + years of sobriety and his "will work for food" sign had golden tonsils too.

Follow his story and see if you aren't as amazed as I have been.  This story for me is also so inspiring and humbling.

Part One from Early Show on CBS:

Part Two from The Early Show on CBS:

This is a testament to faith, willpower and positive thinking.  But the back story is what I'm interested in.  There's no need to delve into the deep dark recesses of Ted Williams' life and addictions and how he got to that "lowly" place.  What's most important was that through the grace of God he found strength, salvation and was able to rise from his own ashes. Pardon the pun.

Ted Williams is a Phoenix.  Fly Ted Williams, Fly!  God's Speed Brother!  May the wind always be at your back.  Thank you for taking the journey you have taken.  You will touch many and encourage millions.

What does this have to do with not smoking?

"Before opportunity crowns you with great success, it usually tests your mettle through adversity.

Adversity provides the resistance necessary to develop the strength to overcome great obstacles. This strength consists of self-confidence, perseverance, and, very importantly, self-knowledge. For if you do encounter a setback, it is a clue to a personal weakness. You may have been hasty in judging a competitor, or you may have been too timid in your vision of what needed to be done. Let adversity be your guide to understanding where you mis-stepped and which qualities you need to cultivate. No one rejoices in disappointment, but if you are success-conscious, you can turn the situation into a chance for improving your character, an opportunity you otherwise would have missed ."

 So this little gem was in my inbox this morning and it came from the Napoleon Hill Foundation.  Napoleon Hill for those of who don't know was a student of success.  He studied and wrote about success.  His book Think And Grow Rich has sold a gazillion copies world wide.  I myself have a pretty beat up copy in my bookcase.  Originally written in 1937 when there was a tremendous need for successful minded people and also the need in this country to take charge of each one's prosperity.

But this is a blog about not smoking.  Where are we going with this?  The challenge to not smoke is your opportunity.  Being smoke free for a given period of time is your success.  You will be tested.  True success comes only to those who are worthy of it, meaning they have earned it.

This is why I support the cold turkey.  Yes, you may have medications, gums, and patches that will help you not smoke, but all you're really doing is exchanging one nicotine delivery device for another.  Sooner or later you will have to go cold turkey.  That is success testing your mettle. 

Other adversities will include daily life.  Jerks on the road, stress at work, relationship issues, money issues, the list of adversities goes on and on.  When you accept the challenge to stop smoking, you will be tested and challenged.  Success will be knowing you powered through it all.

But don't go it alone!  Arm yourself with the equipment you need to succeed.  Try my book, How To Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone.  It is loaded with tools, tips, sage advice, stories and wisdom that will give you the motivation and equipment need to finally kick the habit once and for all!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Exercise For The Recent Non-Smoker

Which one is yours?

You Just Stopped Smoking, What are You Going to Do Now?

I'm going to Disneyland!!!  OR, it's time to reclaim your lung capacity!
That's right folks. You've compromised this tender tissue too long. The good news is the body has wonderful regenerative properties that will help you recuperate, repair, and rehabilitate. In addition, exercise will do wonderful things to your brain chemistry, which will be all out of whack in the recent absence of nicotine...

You'll find the rest of this article on Hub Pages.  Please feel free to either leave a comment there or post your opinion here!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What Kind of Smoker Are You: The Reply

 As you know this blog is the spin off/continuation of my book, How To Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone.  The other day, I get an email with an opening paragraph that said this:

Hey... so I wrote a reply to your article but apparently it's too long LOL... The system won't post it because I have too many characters. I figured instead of rewriting it or scratching it altogether I'd just send it to you direct, do with it what you will.  :-)

The article/blog was called What Kind of Smoker Are You?  In it is an examination of smoker types.  I sent this one out to a few friends who I know to be smokers and non-smokers, looking for additional insight.  One reply that followed was worthy of a blog of it's own...  and apparently too long to be just a "comment."  So without further to-do, allow me to present the "comment" in it's entirety.

In the spirit of this article I decided to make a list of typical smoking times/places to see if I could find my own patterns.

-Doing homework
-After a movie
-After a TV show
-With coffee
-With alcohol
-While on the phone
-During lunch- in fact, my lunch break became an hour long smoke break where I could usually get between 3-4 of them in and I’d just run through Del Taco on my way home in the evening instead of actually eating lunch on my break.
-The drive into work
-The drive home from work
-Watching the sunset/rise
-While at the beach- I was deeply offended by the no smoking laws on the beach that were enforced recently…
-If I was sad, if I was angry, if I was happy…

I was never afraid to quit but the honest truth of it is I like to smoke. I like the feeling of it, the heat, the fire of it, the draw and the weight deep in the hidden corners of my lungs being filled with a long drawn breath, the resistance of it and the essential quiet that comes with it- taking that moment to breathe deeply, exhale deeply… there’s nothing like it.

I didn't really have a pattern and I don't think I'm really a 'type'. I found all sorts of excuses in positive situations and negative. Mostly negative, though because smoking veiled all the bad things, glorified them in a fog, turned horrible situations into romantic ones. A break up- once a bitter angry moment suddenly becomes a scene right out of a movie. The death of a loved one- horrible and shocking, becomes a quiet moment of reflection where once again, you can cut and paste it directly into any number of films. Smoking becomes an extension of the personality, it becomes a gesture, a facial expression, it’s own words and sentences. Sometimes smokers don’t even need to speak, it’s all in the way you hold it, the way you take the drag, the way you exhale is a conversation and only those in your private world can understand you.

As far as the list goes, I was a recreational smoker, an emotional smoker, a coffee and cigarettes diet smoker, a situational smoker and well, the alcoholic smoker was omnipresent throughout all those others. I was also a spiritual smoker- after tarot readings, using it instead of food to “come down” afterward, hell I have even been known to use the smoke from my clove instead of sage to cleanse a space for readings from time to time. 

Because I only smoked cloves, I felt sort of… above the influence. I didn’t smoke “regular” cigarettes so I felt that I was immune to the issues of smokers. I didn’t think I was addicted. Yeah, I know how that sounds. I really didn’t. I thought, I smoke because I like to, not because I have to. I thought that until I decided to “quit.” Only then did I learn how much of a smoker I actually was.

I am a smoker. About 10 years before I started smoking, someone once told me I was destined to smoke because I was a pyro. So yeah, I had a thing for the flame, candles, incense, and firelight on an open hearth, a camp fire with burning coals shining like priceless jewels in some lost Arabian treasure. The idea that something so gentle and brilliant could also in the same instant be painfully destructive and deadly was fascinating to me. So yeah, I love the romanticism of firelight in any form, the historical, time travelling, deliciously romantic feeling of it in any form. It only made sense to want to consume it, to become it and smoking is as close as anyone can get to fire without it burning.
Such a romantic, aren’t I? Except it does burn. That was sort of what I liked about it. When I was depressed, the burn of the smoke in my body felt like a cleansing veil, consuming the pain, consuming me… then you add Mr Daniels to that little party and its self-destruction on cloud nine, all the time, baby.

A clove and a mocha, sunset and a book and it’s a picture worthy of recording. Or with a glass of red wine, with a Jack and coke or just the Jack… there are a thousand ways to pair it I could write a book on ways to make your cigarette more tasty! LOL… 

The point is, I didn’t quit. 

I came to terms with the fact that I am a smoker. Through a long history of falling for smokers and drinkers, those damn romantic boys with the silver tongues, scotch in one hand and a smoke in the other… heh… yeah, I’m always gonna be a smoker and a special place in my heart will always exist for the persona that just as you said, lives and glorifies the romanticism of the act. 

I stopped smoking because I wanted kids. I wanted them to be healthy and live in a home that was healthy. I won’t hide the fact that I used to smoke to them, in fact I’m sure I’ll be blatantly honest with them about it in hopes that they can learn from it. I can’t call it a mistake, but I can call it a lesson.
It’s been almost a year now- January 8th, in fact… And yeah, there are moments I want it, oooh man do I want it… I still have two sealed cartons of smuggled in cloves (after they were banned from the US I ordered them online) in my freezer. Will I ever take them out? Heh, I have no idea.

I completely agree with the chemical aspect, the psychology is hands down irrefutable. I read an article during my studies in psychology about children with ADHD growing up to become smokers and how this correlation is highly understated. Nicotine calms the brain, even as it stimulates it. We are self medicating even when we don’t realize it. The basic idea was backed up in my bio-psych class where it stated the part of the brain affected by nicotine is the same part that is stimulated while with loved ones. If we’re depressed or otherwise psychologically damaged, we are replacing real love with cigarettes. It’s a pretty easy concept but you’d be surprised how many people think I’m nuts when I tell them… 

Anyway, a lot of truth exists in the concept of these many types of smoker, but ultimately if we don’t deal with our demons, we will never allow ourselves to move away from smoking. Also, on the subject of demons… people try to give the cigarette a personality. It’s a demon, pressing on our will power. It’s got a grip on us. No, silly.. you have a grip on your will power and you’re not ready to make the move. When we can admit that, we’re one step closer to putting them down.

Ok that’s all I have to say. LOL… sorry for the rant and thanks for the article!

And thank you for the reply!  If you enjoyed this comment/rant and would like more, please check out Ishtar's Web.  And if you too have a comment that is too long for posting, please email it to me at and I will see to it that your thoughts are made known.  As always, this blog is also a forum for you the reader and smoker to clear the air (so to speak) and over come addictions, fight compulsion, and eliminate the bad habits that keep us from our dreams and goals.