Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Quote: Marshal Suvorov

"Hard training, easy combat; easy training, hard combat" Marshal Suvorov, Russian General

Switches law for pottery, saves his life

There’s never a good time for cancer. When it hit Willie Leftwich, he was a high-power Washington attorney. He led his own law firm, tended to major clients, earned lots of money, and never lacked for prestige. But, at the same time, it was a stressful life. That way of life came to a rather sudden end. He was 57 when his doctor told him he had colon cancer. After surgery came a year of arduous chemotherapy. It laid him low; he had lots of time to think about the meaning of life, his life.

When he was in the hospital, he came to realize how great the simple things were, things like just being able to walk. Or eat. Or live without pain.

He decided that the legal profession –- taking depositions, preparing witnesses, going to court, contesting a case, logging hours on a billing time sheet – weren’t all that satisfying in the grander scheme of things.

But what was? Leftwich quit his law firm and went on a search. He tried real estate, investing and even creative writing. None hit the spot.

Then, at a friend’s behest, he tried pottery. He took a class. He was educated as an engineer (undergraduate, Howard University), so he had the engineer’s love of making things. He found he enjoyed the process of making pottery, loved it, in fact. He mastered the wheel, forming pots, glazes, and firing. He built a studio onto the back of his home where he makes his artful bowls, jars, pitchers, vases.

He says ceramics relaxes, calms him, making him happier than ever before. He says it saved his life. His story was told in the AARP Bulletin, December, 2006 issue. See more of his work.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Quote: Attila the Hun, another favorite, said:

"Superficial goals lead to superficial results."

Quote: One of our favorite thinkers,
Anonymous, once said:

"It's a dream until you write it down, and then its a goal."

Quote: Yuri Vlason on The White Moment

"At the peak of tremendous and victorious effort, while the blood is pounding in your head, all suddenly comes quiet within you. Everything seems clearer and whiter than ever before, as if great spotlights had been turned on. At that moment, you have the conviction that you contain all the power in the world, that you are capable of everything, that you have wings. There is no more precise moment in life than this, the WHITE MOMENT, and you will work hard for years, just to taste it again."

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Quits piano, comes back as leading light

Music teachers are often more effective at quenching the love of music vis-à-vis stoking the fire. So it was with Gabriela Montero.

CBS News reported the following: "By age 11, Montero was at a crossroads: already a big fish in a small musical pond. Her parents decided to bring her to the United States to study.

"I think they felt it was their responsibility to provide everything they could for me to develop. And that’s what they did," Gabriela says.

"The family settled in Miami, where as a teenager, she was profiled on television. It was a carefree portrait of the artist as a young woman.

"But privately, there was doubt and frustration. Gabriela’s teacher questioned her talent, and belittled her improvising."

She didn't play for two years. She would come to the piano later, however, and most improbably, is now one of the most sought after names on both the classical, and jazz stages. More....................

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


A fixture on CNN for 12 years, Daryn Kagan's contract was not renewed (2006). What did the former anchor, 43, do? On Nov. 13 she launched Subject matter: inspirational stories, including videos whenever possible. She said she wanted to show the world what’s possible.

Stories are grouped by category, e.g. “Half Full,” “Never Too Late,” and “Love.”

Critics sneered but Kagan didn’t mind. She started the site for herself, she said, and said she believes in creating what you seek. “If you want inspiration,” she said, “then create that.”

Quote Super Bowl Champion QB Roger Staubach:

“Confidence doesn't come out of nowhere. It's a result of something ... hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication.”

Friday, November 24, 2006


Hiking in a Colorado park sounds peaceful and fun. For Andy Peterson, it was a weekly busman's holiday; he was a park ranger in a nearby park. But the weekly fun hike turned into sheer terror. He was attacked by a mountain lion, for 30 minutes, yet still escaped and lived to tell about it. It took 70 staples just to close his head wounds. Describing the end of the attack, he says "The lion was back for the final kill and there was nothing I was able to do. I again glanced over my right shoulder, expecting to see the demonic visage of my tormentor one final time. Instead, I was given a glimpse of Heaven. The face of the Lord was in plain view where once the lion had been. The canopy thinned and the empty trail lightened. I’m positive this is divine intervention. For the first time since I saw the lion, I felt safe. Or should I say, saved?"

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Quote baseball legend Ted Williams:

“A man has to have goals - for a day, for a lifetime - and that was mine, to have people say, 'There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived.'

“God gets you to the plate, but once you’re there you’re on your own.”

“There's only one way to become a hitter. Go up to the plate and get mad. Get mad at yourself and mad at the pitcher.”

Monday, November 20, 2006


While still a youngster, talk host Tavis Smiley was falsely accused by his minister of some Sunday school mischief; as a result, his enraged father beat him within an inch of his life. Tavis was hospitalized for 10 days. He used the tragedy to fuel his success. He tells the story......

Friday, November 17, 2006

Quote baseball legend Satchel Paige:

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”

“Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.”

“You win a few, you lose a few. Some get rained out. But you got to dress for all of them.”

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Owner of #1 private co. loses millions enroute to success

Working for his father’s engineering and pipeline company in Wichita, Charles Koch lost $50 million on supertankers and crude oil in the mid-1970s. He wiped out $120 million more on a misguided attempt to turn Purina Mills into an integrated feed-to-steaks agribusiness in the late 1990s. But despite these setbacks, Koch has been successful, very successful. During the 38 years he has been running Koch Industries, the company has grown more than a hundred times in value, to an estimated $30 billion, compared with a 13x increase in the S&P 500 index. After acquiring Georgia-Pacific in December, 2005, it is now the largest privately held company in the world. Unlike many wheel-and-dealers, Koch has no plans to go public. Shares in Koch Industries, 40% of them owned by Charles, will be offered to the public “literally over my dead body.” Featured in Forbes, March, 2006

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Quote Super Bowl champion QB Joe Namath:

“You learn you can do your best even when it's hard, even when you're tired and maybe hurting a little bit. It feels good to show some courage.”

Asha's successful war on disease

We publish a violin teaching aide, Violin Scale Charts™, and came in contact with musician Asha Mevlana, an intelligent (Wellesley grad), and creative professional violinist. She contracted breast cancer at 24, but fought back successfully with courage and humor. Her web site tells the story... Original post: Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Monday, November 13, 2006

Quote U.N. Sec. (1953-61) Dag Hammarskjold:

“When the morning's freshness has been replaced by the weariness of midday, when the leg muscles give under the strain, the climb seems endless, and suddenly nothing will go quite as you wish -- it is then that you must not hesitate.”

First business fails, $35 billion success follows

Billionaire Jeff Skoll. First business venture, a computer rental business, failed. Realizing he needed more business acumen, he went to MBA school, and teamed with eBay founder. Now one of the world's wealthiest with more than $35 billion. He is also a Hollywood producer, philanthropist, and founder of Participate. Featured on ABC News as "Person of the Week" Friday, December 2, 2005. Original post: Monday, December 05, 2005

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Self-described "has-been" Teri Hatcher comes back with mega-hit "Desparate Housewives"

Teri Hatcher who took a seven-year break from the limelight to raise her daughter, and then snagged the lead in the prime-time "Desperate Housewives," thanked ABC for giving her "a second chance at a career when I couldn't have been a bigger has-been." She also came back from a sexual attack when young, helped convict the perpetrator, and tells her story in this memoir. Original post: November 15, 2005

NFL linebacker returns to gridiron after stroke

New England Patriots' linebacker Tedy Bruschi suffered a stroke in February, 2005, underwent an operation to repair a heart defect that caused it the next month, and returned to the gridiron October 30, 2005 -- a remarkable comeback that has inspired millions. Original post Oct. 30, 2005.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Fired from Ford, Nasser rebounds with Polaroid

How Jacques Nasser and his fellow buyout artists at J.P. Morgan made a killing on Polaroid. Forbes says: Don't fret, Carly Fiorina, there are second acts in the lives of fallen chief executives. Witness Jacques Nasser, Ford Motor's ex-chief. After his ignominious ejection in 2001 Nasser peeled himself off the pavement and joined One Equity Partners, Bank One's private equity unit (now part of J.P. Morgan, which acquired Bank One last year). Nasser earned millions after deftly navigating his firm through an investment in Polaroid, the has-been instant camera company that filed for bankruptcy in 2001. Original post: March, 2005, migrated to new blog today.