Who says you can’t go home after pursuing your dreams for more than 15 years in America’s most storied town, aka, Tinseltown. And why not add a little bit of new beginnings to the mix and make it an amazing homecoming for “a hometown boy born a rolling stone”, just like Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles sing in their 2005 rendition of “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.”
The good news is I’m super excited to begin again in New York City with my new talent agent, Katherine and the Made Worldwide Agency (click HERE to visit my profile). No doubt the future is looking brighter than ever as my years of production experience and insights will serve me well. Just like my years of teaching Tola Yogato thousands of students throughout the United States.
On a more personal note, today also marks the 15 year anniversary of my sobriety. For those of you who’ve read my memoir, Simply Between Millions: From Wall Street to Hollywood, you may recall this excerpt from Chapter 56 – No Mas, when I got drunk for the very last time:
“I woke up a few hours later and felt like I just got run over by a Mack truck. No worries, because I no longer drank and I was free from that liquid noose around my neck I wore for the past 20 years. Although it would take another month before I was completely free from beer and alcohol cravings of any sort, I would never drink again. And I haven’t.”
The same holds true for today – I haven’t, and I’d like to give a special shout-out to my hypnotherapist, Laura, who made it all possible. Simply the best and simplest treatment for me, with no program to follow other than Laura’s weekly dose of hypnotherapy combined with my strong desire to succeed in Hollywood.
Like I’ve been saying since I began this journey from the lovely confines of my Upper East Side apartment, anything is possible ifyouset your sights and try. So keep rockin’ your goals and dreams and perhaps your desire to quit drinking alcohol altogether. And never say “I can’t”, because you can if you really want to.
Have an awesome December everyone…and get your workout in! Peace – R
Today is all about doing whatever it takes to never live in fear. Because during the past two years of this COVID pandemic, the powers to be have done their best to control you by instilling fear in your mind, body and spirit. No doubt fear controls – so never let it happen. In our last Tola Talks Texas, at least for now while I travel and spend time with family, I do my best to communicate why we need to get rid of the divide between the vaccinated and unvaccinated. Plus kudos to Bill Maher for his recent monologue about not wanting to live in a masked, paranoid world and never being scared of COVID, but rather the reaction to it. Not to mention this particular comment that I totally agree: So, the fact that America, the medical establishment never even attempted to get people to live a healthier lifestyle as response to this pandemic is a giant scandal to me. Right on Bill, because everyone needs to get with the program and Drink from the Fountain of Youth, like I do. And no matter what, stay strong, stay positive, stay true to your dreams…and get your workout in.
In our second episode of Tola Talks Texas, we’re talking cool Texas trivia about Dr. Pepper, frozen margaritas and that famous Bugs Bunny catchphrase, “What’s Up Doc”. As for current events it’s all about the Omicron variant and the difference between symptomatic and asymptomatic cases of the virus – with a family from New Jersey experiencing both. There’s also talk about 1400 more airline flights cancelled today and major retailers like CVS, Macy’s, Walgreens, Target, Home Depot and Best Buy closing more stores with some declaring bankruptcy (JC Penny & Neiman Marcus), plus cryptocurrencies and how wash sales – and the anticipated changes in 2022 tax laws to prohibit them – will affect volatility going forward. Not to mention some stock picks including Tesla, Plug Power, Apple and Alibaba, with a special shout-out to Matthew McConaughey and his new book, Greenlights.
I remember it well, from the balcony on the 39th floor of my Midtown Manhattan office building located just 3 miles north of The World Trade Towers. Chapter 43 of my memoir, Simply Between Millions: From Wall Street to Hollywood, recants that fateful day 20 years ago today:
CHAPTER 43 – 9/11
“As I write these words, it is exactly one week prior to the 10th Anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks. This is how I remember it:
It was the most beautiful of NYC days. Crystal clear blue skies and a coolness that made everything in the city feel alive. I was excited to go to work that day because I was giving my printer the thumbs up for my first mailing, The Tola Report. It was this fancy, four-page color flyer that was going out to more than 1,000 owners. I had spent the past six weeks getting it ready. Now it would be finalized and sent out directly from the printer. I also purchased two new suits and was excited to get them to my tailor on John Street. My tailor was less than 500 yards from the World Trade Center. I had planned to go there before I went to the office – he opened at 8 AM. But I was running late and the subways were crowded, so I decided to go straight to work and then go see him during lunch. I arrived at my Midtown office just before 8 AM.
If I had stayed on the Lexington Avenue subway line, I can only guess that I would have been at my tailor’s at exactly the time the first plane hit.
Our office had a balcony with an unobstructed view of Tower I and a partial view of Tower II (about half). As I was proof-reading my report for the last time, a senior broker, Zev, came running past me with a huge pair of binoculars. I would soon learn that he was a paratrooper in the Israeli Army and loved his military binoculars. He screamed, “Smoke’s coming out of the Tower”, as he ran by. I turned to look out my window and then at my clock radio that was playing the news. It was 8:44 AM, and there was still no mention of it. About three minutes later the reporter sounded confused when he said something about a small plane had hit the World Trade Center. I went to the balcony to check it out. A few other brokers and assistants had joined me, and others were in my office listening to the radio. We passed the binoculars back and forth, each taking a few minutes to look. Soon we were all staring at each other because we knew it wasn’t a small plane. There was way too much smoke pouring out of a huge swath of floors high up on Tower I. As real estate people, we strangely knew it would fall. Then a plane hit Tower II and it was chaos. Everyone in the office seemed to be running all over the place, onto the balcony, into my office, over to each other’s desks, until I found myself alone on the balcony.
Time stood still for the next two minutes as I secured myself so the binoculars wouldn’t move a millimeter. Then I focused my sights on Tower I. The stainless steel skin of the building, right below where the smoke was pouring out, was peeled away like a banana skin, arching away from the building, frozen in the air.
I then saw two men climb onto the steel skin, one behind the other, clinging for dear life, crawling away from the inferno. When the first man couldn’t go any further, he let go. As he plunged to his death, he did what appeared to be a backward swan dive. The other man soon followed, and when he let go, he grabbed his knees and slowly tumbled forward. I put down the binoculars and went inside. I’m not sure what happened next, other than I was on the balcony with a few others when Tower I fell. I didn’t have the binoculars, but I watched in shock as Tower I slowly crumbled to the ground. The same for Tower II – I was on the balcony and stayed until I could no longer see the horizon.
The next thing I remember, I was standing in the middle of Madison Avenue looking downtown at the smoke-filled sky. Cars were stopped dead in their tracks, doors open, people just standing there, screaming and pointing to downtown. If felt like a scene from a movie, as New Yorkers fled the streets not sure what to do. It soon felt like everyone was moving north. Me and two other brokers who lived in New Jersey walked north to my place. The entire time I looked back over my shoulder, trying to figure out what happened. All cell phones were dead, so it was word of mouth from the people in the streets. Once we got to my place, we put the TV on and set up camp. My apartment was busy with friends coming and going. By 6 PM, my broker friends had left, and fortunately, they both got off the island and made it home safely.
The next day, Jimmy V and I took the subway south to Canal Street. For some reason, we both needed to go there. The subways weren’t running past Canal, so we got out and walked east toward the Manhattan Bridge. Every street running south to downtown was barricaded with NYC policemen. We finally found a side street in Chinatown where we snuck by and made our way toward the rubble. It was at least a mile away. By the time we got to Foley Square, Jimmy V had an asthma attack. The air quality was bad, and of course, we shouldn’t have been there. Since he could barely breathe, we went down into the subway, just to get away from the polluted air. Twenty minutes later, we headed back.
What I remember most about our trip wasn’t the sounds and smells of the city that day. It was the two-inch layer of soot and ash delicately resting on the wrought iron fence surrounding Foley Square. It looked like really dirty, dry snow had fallen – it was eerie and yet strangely peaceful at the same time. I truly did feel my skin crawl that day. Something I won’t forget for the rest of my life.”
RIP to those who perished, and continued strength, happiness and unity for the rest of us.
Have an awesome weekend everyone…and get your workout in!
If anyone told you they walked 4,000 miles in the past 12 months you’d probably think they were crazy right? Because walking 4,000 miles is the equivalent to walking from the hot and sunny confines of The Valley of Los Angeles, California, to the balmy and tropical valley of Caracas, Venezuela. And yes, it’s totally possible as you can walk across the Panama Canal by way of a pedestrian walkway across the entrance of the locks of Gatun, so no worries if you want to follow my footsteps to get there. Figuratively speaking, that is.
Let me explain.
I didn’t actually pull a Forrest Gump and wake up one day and start walking south through Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Columbia before arriving in the capital of Venezuela one year later. No, but wouldn’t that be cool. I actually walked the entire 4,000 miles throughout the streets of LA, from my home in Chinatown going back and forth to a plethora of neighborhoods including DTLA, South Park, the Arts District, Lincoln Heights, Boyle Heights, Little Tokyo, Echo Park and yes, Dodger Stadium.
From June 1, 2020 until June 1, 2021, I walked between 10-12 miles every single day as part of my personal COVID relief. Or shall I say, personal COVID insanity prevention. Because when the lockdowns in LA were imposed back in March 2020 and all the gyms and yoga studios were closed, my daily walking meditations became my only savior. The longer the better, and mostly in perfect quietude with no human interaction whatsoever. Except for the occasional homeless person, who seemed even more surprised to see an even less occasional pedestrian. LA was like a veritable ghost town where I can honestly say I felt like the legendary actor Will Smith, aka US Army virologist Robert Neville, cruising the empty streets of Manhattan in the 2007 post-apocalyptic thriller, I Am Legend.
For anyone who knows me, you know that I can’t go a single freaking day without exercising in some form or another, e.g., weightlifting, Tola Yoga, stretching/abs. Good news is for as long as I can remember I was taught that your physical body, aka your temple, is the most important asset you’re ever going to possess in this world. And to respect your temple with a daily fitness program that keeps it vibrant and strong and injury-free, is paramount to maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well as turning back the hands of time.
Something I’ve also been doing for the past 58 years. Drinking from the Fountain of Youth, that is, and yes, something that’s rather challenging to achieve – especially as you get older – but something anyone can do with the help of my 30 Steps to Everlasting Youth. Including Step 20 – Walk to Win, arguably the most important step of all because walking is a perfect source of aerobic exercise not to mention it does wonders for your brain.
That’s right, walking is great for your brain. Just this week the New York Times reported that “Exercise can freshen and renovate the white matter in our brains, potentially improving our ability to think and remember as we age, according to a new study of walking, dancing and brain matter. It shows that white matter, which connects and supports the cells in our brains, remodels itself when people become more physically active. In those who remain sedentary, on the other hand, white matter tends to fray and shrink.”
Fray and shrink just like everything else in our bodies with the help of good ole’ Father Time. Forgettaboutit! Don’t let the world’s most non-beloved Father get the best of you…get with the program now. Translation: start walking today. Or else stay seated and wait for your brain matter to wither away, and hopefully not before your temple does. And if you don’t care so much about improving or at least maintaining your ability to think and remember things as you age, then do it for your family. That’s right, start walking today and bring a loved one along so they can reap the amazing benefits of walking. You can even bring your dog Spot or cat Fluffy if none of your human friends desire to capitalize on such a great opportunity. I’m sure your pets won’t complain, and if they do, then pick them up and carry them for an even better workout.
Just remember to bring water. And if walking to improve your white brain matter doesn’t really matter to you, then maybe these “12 Benefits of Walking” as described by the Arthritis Foundation will motivate you (see arthritis.org):
Shore up your bones
Enjoy a longer life
Lighten your mood
Support your joints
Improve your breath
Slow mental decline
Lower Alzheimer’s risk
Do more for longer
So there you have it, 12 more reasons to walk every single day of your life (or at least 3 times a week for 40 minutes). If you’re capable that is, because not everyone is fortunate enough to walk. But if you can, don’t deny your body, mind and spirit these amazing benefits by choosing a sedentary lifestyle that’s only going to shorten your stay on Planet Earth.
And by the way, in case you were wondering what it’s like to walk 4,000 miles in a 12 month period, let’s just say it may do wonders for your brain but it sure takes a toll on the physical body, especially the low back, hips and knees. But what’s interesting about the routine of walking nearly 100 miles a week is that once your body gets used to it, it’s not only easy to maintain but it almost becomes a daily obsession that you can’t do without. Even with all the aches and pains that come along with it, during and after.
Would I recommend walking that many miles in any given year? No. But I do recommend walking 1-2 miles a day for the rest of their life, no matter who you are. And if you need some help try this: walk out your front door and keep walking for exactly 15 minutes, at a brisk pace with good posture, then stop, turn around, and come back. Voila! 2 miles in about 30 minutes. You can do it, especially if you live in LA or Venezuela or anywhere with a beautiful climate. Or just brave the rain and snow like I did in Chicago and Seattle. But then again you might say it’s summertime in the northern hemisphere and just like DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince rapped back in Philly circa 1991, “Summer, summer, summertime, Time to sit back and unwind.”
No doubt unwinding can be a good thing, especially to decompress from our busy lives. But when it comes to your health, walking is something anyone can incorporate into their current lifestyle. And should incorporate, based upon all the goodness it brings. Especially in today’s new normal world of working from home, there should be ample opportunity in your day to lace’em up Rocky style and kick the bricks, as I like to say. I hope you do, your temple will love you for it.
Have an awesome summer everyone, and get your walking in! Peace – R
Hey everyone, hope the last episode of Tola Talks 2.0 inspires you to accept my challenge and workout 100 times before Christmas. Only 170 days until then, so commit to 100 workouts and keep rockin’ it! 200 workouts for me, and yes, 30 minute stretch/abs and 2 mile walks do count.
And Don’t Quit, one of the key points in today’s show plus many other fitness and wellness tips from the past 20 shows. Thank you for watching and sharing…now workout 100 times by Xmas and read my new book, How to Drink from the Fountain of Youth, and I’ll see you at the Fountain. Peace – R
Authors and publishers from around the world submitted their work to the Firebird Book Awards. A panel of 12 judges within the writing and publishing space then read every book and independently scored each entry according to a set of standardized criteria that evaluates the quality of the writing as well as production aspects. Only entries with the highest of scores are awarded the coveted Firebird.
Patricia J. Rullo, founder of the Firebird Book Awards, says, “This quarter’s entries were a joy to read and speak to the talent out there. At Speak Up Talk Radio, our mission is to offer radio interviews and podcasting services to help authors expand their reach. In addition to additional prizes, our winners have the opportunity to be interviewed and aired on iHeart Radio, Pandora, as well as 50 additional online venues, giving them new ways to speak up and share their work.”
Pat adds, “We’ve included a charitable component to our awards by making all entry fees tax-deductible to the author. In return, we personally make and send handmade fun and whimsical pillowcases to women and children in homeless shelters via Enchanted Makeovers, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. All entry fees fund this project. In this way, authors can get notoriety for their work while doing good for others. It’s been such a rewarding venture for everyone.”
The Firebird Book Awards run quarterly contests so authors can receive recognition on a timely basis. Authors from all genres, mainstream, independent, and self-published are welcome. Additional winning authors and titles as well as entry information is available at https://www.speakuptalkradio.com
How to Drink from the Fountain of Youth is available in paperback and eBook (English & Chinese) plus the Audiobook narrated by Rich. For information visit www.richtola.com
Excited to announce the Chinese edition of my new motivational book, How to Drink from the Fountain of Youth: 30 Steps to Everlasting Youth, is now available in eBook format in modern-day Mandarin. Email us for more information: [email protected]
Have an awesome day everyone…and get your workout in! Peace – R
When it comes to being overweight or obese, there’s really two parts to living healthier and reaching your ideal body weight: 1) The actual weight loss itself, and 2) Adapting to a new lifestyle including a daily fitness program.