Sunday, December 16, 2012


"It really doesn't matter if the person who hurt you deserves to be forgiven. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. You have things to do, and you want to move on."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-12-12 Concert

An amazing night at Madison Square Garden! Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, The Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, The Who, Sir Paul McCartney and many more put on the most amazing six hour concert. We sat with a group of Staten Island cops and danced the night away. There is no place like New York City.

Amway’s Dick DeVos and the Right-to-Work

            Yesterday’s decision by Michigan’s Governor Rick Synder has ricocheted through the United States as a major victory for the Republican lawmakers. It’s another move by the GOP that proves they are extremely out of touch with what the majority of people in this country want, but don’t seem to care.  Not to mention a sneaky and shady move on Gov. Synder’s part to get elected with an agenda that clearly opposed right-to-work only to sign the bill into law behind a wall of police officers that separated him from a sea of protesters whom he had blatantly deceived. It was a move that shocked everyone.
            What didn’t shock me however was to hear that Amway CEO Dick DeVos, son of founder Rich DeVos, is among those who financially and morally support Gov Synder and the right-to-work bill.  It’s another contradiction from the Amway billionaire as he preaches about “free enterprise” and treating workers “like family” and yet supports a political party and such bills like the right-to-work that essentially take safety and rights away from these family like workers. Dick DeVos grew up in the same money hungry Amway bubble I did but he is still in that bubble!  He does not believe in free enterprise and the equal rights of all people. He believes gay people are not equal to straight people and he believes in treating people differently in the work place.   That is the very definition of free enterprise in the world of Amway, but not in the real world.
            There are some really good people in the Amway business and strong parts of that business. But the man driving that bus is doing so blind folded, running people over without a care in the world.  He is what I believe to be part of the top two percent who are hanging on to old American ideals that no longer work out of fear that the straight, white, Christian boys club his father raised him in, is shrinking into oblivion.  I wish his fear was actually possible and they would shrink into oblivion, but I don’t think that will happen in my lifetime.  But they are now the minority and fighting to hang on to control over their money, taxes and egos.  It’s unfair and un-American. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Success of Failure

            Growing up in Amway, success was our religion.  My father employed a strict “no failure” rule.  Dream boards and positive affirmations kept me focused on making it to the top.  The ridicule of being gay fueled my drive for success and contributed to my intolerance for failure.  So when failure happened in my life, and it’s happened a lot, I had nothing but anger and resentment towards myself.   It was unacceptable to me.  I never learned that falling down is part of the journey. I fought it every step of the way until I went through the darkest period of my life a few years ago. It broke me. I finally had to admit that, despite my best efforts, I had failed. I was not the person I wanted to be.
            At the time, I had no idea, but this bitter experience was to become the greatest lesson of my life.  I faced my ultimate fear and lived.  It turns out, of course, that I needed to fail in order to see myself clearly - and give up on aspects of my personality that appeared to work for me- but were really working against me.  I realized I had never let myself change because I was petrified of what other people might think of me. My image was more important than my growth as a human being. My ego was more important than my self.
            Since then I've been trying to embrace the parts of me that are difficult to accept. In fact, my ego is a constant and fascinating study in human failure. About a year ago, I perceived a situation to be something it wasn’t based on some information that was presented to me. I sent out an email in defense of this half-truth and realized by the day’s end that I was wrong.  I had to make immediate amends. The shame that came over me was catastrophic.  It consumed me. “What will people think when they see that email?” It took a good friend to point out that I am human and will make mistakes: it’s not the mistake that really matters, it’s the humility to admit and correct that error. 
           My friend suggested that I list my assets as a man and observe this situation from a more balanced perspective. We have good days and bad days. I can be incredibly compassionate, funny and giving. But I can also be stubborn, judgmental and over-reactive.  That incident made me stop and say, “I am finally ready to address this issue.”  That's the journey.  The lesson is often in the failure and the willingness to admit defeat.  The victory is in accomplishing the necessary change. That’s real success. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

People Helping People-Update

A few weeks ago I began collecting money to give to a victim of Hurricane Sandy.  Friends from Boston, New York, LA and San Francisco stepped up and sent me as much as they could spare. I want to let all of you who gave so generously know where your contributions went.

With the help of my friend Anthony Falcone, a Staten Island resident, I found the perfect recipient.  A man named William lost everything in the storm. The first level of his home and the garage were destroyed.  William is a carpenter by trade. His tools were completely ruined and unsalvageable.  Neither insurance nor FEMA would cover the expense to replace his tools so he could get back to work.

Yesterday, with you help, I handed Anthony a check for William to go buy new tools.   He will not only be able to go back to work but also help others rebuild their homes in Staten Island. It's the gift that truly keeps giving.  I included a letter with the check telling William he is not alone and people are praying for him and his fellow residents every day. Please keep them in your prayers and if you can start your own collection to help just one person still struggling this holiday season, please do so. Remember that many people don't even have homes to decorate this season. Remain grateful for what you have and reach out to help your fellow citizen.

God bless and thank you again for your help!