Autumn Begins

October 18, 2007

Over the past several months, we’ve all had a string of different projects that have demanded our attention. I’ve been working on an amazing, all-consuming asylum case for a woman from Cameroon. Dave has no doubt been busy with his practice and his attempt to get even bigger (as if one can be bigger than Dave already is….). Ed has been working on new screenplays, and has recently begun doing some freelance work as a marketing consultant for a company that will soon be featured on the CBS evening news.

For the most part, given our other commitments, we have chosen to concentrate our efforts on youth mentoring programs (probably my favorite Man Up Now endeavor). We will still present educational seminars at high schools, and are, as always, particularly interested in presenting workshops geared toward young, “at-risk” males and students – of both genders – from traditionally disadvantaged places. Beyond that, we will still hold the Live Core Transformation Seminar at least twice each year, once in Los Angeles and once in Las Vegas.

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Message to Rudy Giuliani: Man Up or Shut Up

August 10, 2007

I’ve finally had all the Rudy Giuliani as 9/11 hero and savior that I can possibly stand.   Rudy, it’s time for you to shut up.

It’s been a banner month for Giuliani.   As we all know, Rudy – in classic Rudy form – takes all the credit for anything good.  According to the Giuliani camp, Rudy was solely responsible for New York City’s drop in crime.  While most of us recognize that the mayor certainly played some role in that decrease in crime, only an idiot would believe that it was solely – or even primarily – Giuliani’s doing.  A few weeks ago, a brilliant economist named Rick Nevin released what I consider a groundbreaking study that links the decrease in New York City crime rates to a decrease in lead poisoning that occurred during the exact same time frame.   That’s strike one, Rudy.

After the democrat’s YouTube debate, Giuliani had some comments to offer.  He was “shocked” that the democrat’s didn’t once mention the word terror.   Maybe some people prefer to discuss foreign policy, diplomatic relations, and national security.  Maybe terror is the buzzword upon which Rudy has built his entire campaign.  More fear mongering, Rudy?  The word terror scares people, and you know it.  You use it solely for shock value; solely because stupid people are easily influenced into voting based purely on fear.  This is strike two.

Finally, in perhaps his most offensive and disgusting display of egotism, Giuliani has suggested that he spent as much – if not more – time at Ground Zero than the police and firefighters who were the REAL HEROES of that somber day.  Read it yourself!

 “I was at Ground Zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers. I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I’m one of them.”

This is disgraceful.  The brave men and women of the NYPD and NYFD sacrificed their health and in some cases their lives in order to save the civilians caught in those towers.  In the months that followed, iron and construction workers sorted through the debris, exposing themselves to a range of chemical inhalants.  As a result of their efforts, many of these public servants now suffer from a range of health conditions.  Many have been diagnosed with chronic respiratory disorders.  Unfortunately, many of these men and women are not eligible for coverage under New York’s workers compensation scheme. 

Go back to your partners at Bracewell & Giuliani, Rudy.   Go back to your millions of dollars, your ex wives, your estranged children.  Go back to private life and take your massive ego, your lies, and your insults with you. because your a fake and a fraud and you will never be president.

So We Hate Vick Because He’s Black… Not Because He Kills Dogs

July 28, 2007

According to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports fame, black people love Michael Vick and are clamoring for the man to get his due process, while white people universally hate him and want him to fry.  Cornell West says race matters, and sometimes it certainly does….  but not in this case.  Michael Vick was indicted on some of the most heinous animal abuse and animal cruelty charges I’ve ever seen.   Give him his due process.  Give him his trial.  Based on the complaint and the evidence that exists, the case appears quite strong.

The dogfighting, dog killing, dog abusing behavior is absolutely disgusting.  Vick could be black or white, and I would still feel the same way.

What about Tim Donaghy?  People are pretty disgusted with him right now.  What about all the heat David Stern is taking for letting a crooked ref call games well after we knew he had a gambling problem and owed the mafia tons of money?  Is there a racial divide there, Wetzel?

Get real.  Some people like to create racial animosity and racial drama where none exists.  Vick is a scumbag.  I’d feel the same way whether he was white, black, red, brown, or purple.

JP

Thug Nation

July 19, 2007

Allen Iverson.  Pacman Jones.  Michael Vick.

Is it just me, or has the thuggery escalated, really hitting its stride mid-summer?  In the past few weeks, there’s been an explosion of violent, lewd behavior by some of our nations most famous athletes.

Never mind that Michael Vick is a marginal passer who isn’t capable of playing quarterback in the NFL (unless he’s running the option).  Never mind the fact that Allen Iverson routinely skips practice because he’s a superstar and “It’s just practice.  I mean.. we not talking bout a game… it’s just practice.”  Let’s get real.  Iverson and Vick are, essentially, at  the end of their respective careers.  Vick remains a tremendous athlete, but he never had the leadership ability – or the arm – to take his team to a Super Bowl victory.  Iverson is scrappy and can score in bunches, but his work ethic and his capacity to lead his team – “It’s just practice” – have long been questioned.  Jones, however, is still incredibly young, and extremely talented.  He could still have a brilliant career in the NFL….. if he stops acting like a stupid thug.

Yes, Michael Vick was indicted in federal court last week.  The charges?  Everything dog fighting.  Gambling on dog fights.  Trafficing in an illegal enterprise – of dogs – across state lines.  Animal cruelty.  The indictment is disgusting.  Vick, you and your crew better stay away from my dog.  That’s all I have to say.

When I was teaching middle school in the Bronx, I had a brilliant 6th grader named Felix Hernando De La Cruz.  Yo Felix!  I still remember you kid!   This guy was a true champ.  He was cool.  He was a lady’s man.  He was a good student.  And he wrote a research paper about dogfighting, or, as he liked to say, “fighting your dogs”.  At first, when Felix told me that he wanted to write a paper about “why people shouldn’t fight their dogs”, I was a bit confused.   You get the image.   But Felix quickly clarified it for me.  Apparently, the kid had two pits, both adopted and rescued from the underground world of cruelty that is dog fighting.  Felix, do you remember if you adopted those dogs from some quarterback in Virginia named Vick?  Thought so.

As it turns out… Vick DOES fight his dogs.  He body slams them until they’re dead.  Way to go Vick.  You’re such a tough guy.  You are such a real man.   But Vick, you have enough problems.  Maybe you can buy your way out  of jail time, or maybe not.

Allen Iverson,  stay out of Light and Rain.  Because if I’m in the VIP section, and you send your bouncers up to kick me out, I’m probably not moving.  Sure, you’re welcome to have a seat and drink some of my Grey Goose.  But I’ll warn you in advance that I’m not a big fan, that I think you’re a thug, that I believe you DID – in fact – “brandish it”, and that I hope, after you leave the NBA, you go on to do something productive with your life (call David Robinson.. a real MAN.. maybe he can give you some guidance).

Pacman, you’re young and stupid and like the strip clubs way too much.  If you’ve got half a brain, you’ll stop emulating the Michael Vick’s and Allen Iverson’s of the world, and you’ll find a professional athlete mentor (we all need mentors).  I recommend Braylon Edwards (again, a real man…. we don’t hear too much about Braylon getting involved in fights at strip clubs… probably because he’s too busy donating tons of his money to charity and trying to help the youth in Cleveland).

All you fools need to MAN UP.  NOW.

Man vs. Wild! bear.jpg

July 16, 2007

bear.jpgWow! It’s like I’m discovering new role models and heroes left and right these days. First, it was Pistorius, the brilliantly fast sprinter who DOESN’T HAVE LEGS! You can read more about him below.

Then, just this weekend, my younger brother – AKA The Big Guy – introduced me to Bear Grylls. Bear is the star of the Discovery Channel’s hit show Man vs. Wild. Now, I’m not a huge fan of most television. In fact, I don’t have a tv at my apartment, so I only watch tv when I’m back home, visiting my family. Well, this weekend, I sat down and watched 3 episodes of Man vs. Wild. This guy, Bear, is clearly a MAN AMONG MEN! He is a champion. He’s fearless, he’s optimistic, he’s confident, he’s alive. He’s everything that men should aspire to me.

If you are thinking about attending the Man Up Now Core Transformation in September, I would advise you to watch a few episodes of Man vs. Wild.

Remember, transforming your core is about HEALTH. Your HEALTH has three essential components:

1) Physical stress

2) Chemical stress

3) Emotional stress

You have to regulate those stresses in order to feel AMAZING. Ask yourself a simple question: How do I feel? Do I feel amazing? Do I feel good? Do I feel ok? Do I feel horrible? If you aren’t feeling good to amazing, then there’s something wrong.

We SHOULD BE SURVIVORS. WE should be more like BEAR GRYLLS. We should be able to survive in the wilderness. We should be able to overcome obstacles. True health is about maintaining a fundamentally positive mental and emotional orientation. It’s about being physical well and strong. It’s about keeping our bodies free of chemicals that will harm us.

There are no quick fixes. There is no silver bullet. This is a WAY OF LIFE. This is a LIFE LONG COMMITMENT. But if you’re ready to commit to TRUE HEALTH, then you can take the first step to transforming your life at the MAN UP NOW CORE TRANSFORMATION.

JP

Refugee Nation

July 12, 2007

We have deserted 30,000 people.

It’s not that they don’t appear on the front page of the New York Times. It’s not like we don’t hear about them on TV. It’s not like Hurricanes Katrina and Rita happened a decade ago. There is, in a sense, visibility without recognition. We say, through our actions, “Yes, we see you. You are there. You are struggling mightily. But we do not recognize you. You are foreign to us. You are other.”

I have lived a privileged life. I have made it. Mine is the American dream. But for as good as this country has been to me, it has dealt far less kindly with others. There are 30,000 people displaced, living in trailer parks called Sugar Hill and Renaissance Village, the new ghettos. Let’s talk about realities. Let’s talk about responsibility. Let’s talk about bootstrapping. Live in a ghetto 18 miles from the nearest grocery store, 25 miles from a rural small-town economy that isn’t hiring. Two-hundred kids crowd the concrete jungle of the trailer park. There are no schools. There are no doctors. There is no hope.

So we move on. We think, “That’s not my problem. Let them deal with it. Self responsibility. Boot strap. Find a way.” We say to ourselves, “That only happens to poor people, because people like me, we have money. We have means. Those people… it’s their fault. They got themselves into that situation in the first place.”

Rich people move back to New Orleans. The ones up near Tulane, hell, they never left in the first place. Their houses are untouched, undamaged. Even middle class homeowners can return to the Big Easy, on The Road Home. But when you’re too poor to own a home, you’re just screwed. You’re poor, and it’s – seemingly – nobody else’s problem. There’s a pattern here. From a national perspective…..

We all rally together, after Katrina, and give some money. We promise to bring New Orleans back. The Saints come marching home, and suddenly, we act like nothing ever happened. All those Katrina refugees… we simply abandon them. This is a pattern.

Our government has a habit of refusing to admit mistakes, and refusing to take care of those citizens who are victims of its own ineptness. It’s high time we change that.  We’re all in this together.  Let’s act like it.

Inspiration

July 11, 2007

The fastest thing on no legs. Oscar Pistorius is the man. The guy is a true champion. He’s set paralympic records, but that wasn’t good enough for him. Now, he has his eyes set on an even bigger prize: the 2008 Olympics. I’m rooting for this guy all the way.

Read about him here: Link
hero.jpg

Today

April 18, 2007

I believe in trying to answer the hard questions. I believe in dealing with the world, with life as it exists. There is nothing contradictory about believing that 1) The world is a fundamentally good place and good things can come from all circumstances and 2) Being saddened or shocked by things that happen in our world.

Ignoring tragic things that happen because I’m afraid they’ll “pull me down” or dismissing the significance of such a tragedy in a “so it goes” manner…because it’s all part of the way the universe unfolds… I just could never do that. I could never say something like that. I could never sit in an ivory tower and shrug my shoulders and feel safe and secure in the knowledge that I understand god and the cosmos and the whole plan… I could never pat myself on the back, thinking I had all the answers.

There’s a darkness and a lightness to everything. In even the most seemingly tragic situations, there is still something good that can come afterward, as a result. Everything has a positive and a negative polarity. It isn’t easy. And pretending it was easy would just be false and disrespectful. But we can grow from this.

Even when you’re reaching higher levels of consciousness, and coming to some inner peace… some peace with yourself and the world… it is still, in my humble and limited opinion, a good thing to feel. To have emotions. To wonder. To question. To ask why or why not. To ask if things could be different.

No one has all the answers, my friends.   I don’t know how or why certain things happen. But I know this: In my heart, I believe that the world is a good place, and that god is fundamentally benevolent. We can learn lessons from everything. We can grow from everything. We must. Either grow or perish.

So let’s try to grow. And let’s all pray. For everyone.

Jonathan

Get your dreams.

April 5, 2007

Live your passion. Follow your dreams. Relentlessly pursue your bliss.

Do not settle. Do not accept mediocrity. Do not accept what is common. Do not delude yourself into thinking that you have to follow the traditional path. Do not convince yourself that you should go with the crowd, do what everyone else does, become part of the rat races, accept mediocrity because it’s safer…

Do what you love. If that means practicing international law at a big firm, then do it. If that means working on vintage cars, then do it. If that means throwing shot put in the olympics, then you better start training like mad, and you better make it happen.

Every day, I meet lots of people who feel compelled to give me advice about the path that I’m on. What I need to do. Where I need to go. Who I need to see. What I need to be. And pick up golf, because it’s good for networking with people. Every day, people feel compelled to steer me back toward a life of mediocrity and faux-security.

Me: “I would only work at a law firm where I truly loved the people. Where my first thought about my peers was, ‘Wow. These are really great people’.”

Attorney from Sibley: “That should be easy”

My friend: “Not really”

This attorney then went on to portray me as young, naieve, foolish… wrong to look at different law firms and differentiate between them based on qualty of people. Call me crazy, but I thought that really liking and respecting your peers was incredibly important.

Follow your bliss. And when you encounter others who are on their path; others who know exactly what they want; who are moving through life and getting the most out of every day… you should embrace those people.. wish them well… not attempt to steer them away from their path.. not attempt to bring them down… or force them to adopt your individual paradigm.

Live and let live. I’ve got my dreams. Get yours.

Tithing and Giving Back Opportunities

April 2, 2007

I’m establishing a scholarship for students who graduate from Baltimore City Public Schools, demonstrate tremendous academic potential, and who have financial need. I’m headed up to Baltimore in a week or two to track down the appropriate people and make it all happen. I plan to give out the first scholarship this June when the school year ends. I might even call a press conference to do it!

Give back. Always give back. When the world gives you much.. when the world blesses you with so much… pay it forward. Help someone else. Serve the community.

Tithe. Give back. It doesn’t have to be a religious thing. Sure, you can give money to your church. Or you can donate to a favorite charity. If you don’t have the cash on-hand, you can go volunteer in your community. Give something to those who really need it. Volunteer at the YMCA, a local soup kitchen, or a high school. You have a gift; you have a message to spread; you can make a contribution. So give something back.

When you tithe, when you give back to society, either by giving money or giving service, you are investing in the community, but you are also investing in your own future wealth. When you tithe, you tell the universe, “I have. I am abundant. I have enough that I may share it with others”. When you tithe, you are expressing a feeling of abundance. That feeling of wealth will fundamentally alter your state of being; you will develop a wealth consciousness; you will feel – deep down in your soul – a sense of prosperity. You will, in short, give money to get money, and you will begin to attract true wealth. Doubt this logic? Look around you. The world’s wealthiest are philanthropists. They always have been. They always will be. Give something back to your community today.

If you want to learn more about who we are.. what we do.. and what Man Up Now is all about, visit our website.

Southwest Baltimore City…….. I’m working to change this….

Southwest Baltimore