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.
Today’s we’re talking about crazy crime stories involving victims young and old throughout the United States who were stabbed, frozen to death, shot and killed and/or left for dead, plus road rage incidents that’ll have you questioning your thoughts on who deserves to live or die for their offenses. Capital punishment is real and can be debated as positive or negative, depending on your personal values. Either way both are valid, just like being for or against Coronavirus vaccines that may or may not work. Both or valid and like the saying goes, to each his own. Plus more fitness tips to keep you drinking from the Fountain of Youth, and some quick talk about my Wall Street days as well as cryptocurrency prices and how no matter what, nothing goes straight up.
Today we’re talking about the negative impacts the pandemic continues to have on children of all ages, especially more school closures leading to our worst “academic achievement crisis in living memory”, as well as suicide rates rising sharply among girls 12-17 years old (up 51% from 2019-2021); another variant called IHU in France that is “definitely not worth worrying about at the moment”; kudos to Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers pushing back on criticism for hugging NFL reporter Erin Andrews in a postgame interview on Christmas Day; decriminalization measures in NYC meant to combat their growing crime; the good and the bad news when it comes to US companies hiring employees in December (good) while thousands of flights are still being cancelled and more Broadway shows are closing their doors (bad); plus good news from Goldman Sachs about Bitcoin potentially reaching $100,000 as it takes store of value share away from Gold. And of course, more talk about drinking from the Fountain of Youth and my new Tola Yoga class at Plano Athletic Club starting this Saturday at 12:30p.
Today we’re talking about the military, political and social institutions of the Ancient Romans as well as the masterful proliferation of their beautiful culture and language and amazing architecture (especially the Coliseum). Are there lessons to be learned that can help us with this so-called “difficult situation” facing our society today? With overlapping mandates from the Federal government (military), individual states (health care workers) and the private sector (wth 100+ employees), is America and the 10,000 active duty Marines refusing the vaccine facing a “political purge” that can crush them like ants? Sad but true, but perception does become reality, just like I learned back in my Junk Bond selling days of the 1980s. Plus, some motivational talk about my 420 workout today – no, not pot – in addition to some more positive talk about the stock market and cryptocurrency returns over the past 12 months.
Today we’re talking about the 580,000+ homeless people in America, most of those individual males and the rest single moms with children. That’s way too many, and with the help of those of us who are not homeless – including my bodybuilding idol from 1979 and seven time Mr. Olympia champion, Arnold Schwarzenegger, we need to end this epidemic now. Plus a special RIP shout-out to Man’s World Gym owner and mentor from my childhood, Joe Dodd, as well as the legendary football coach turned world-class TV broadcaster, John Madden. Not to mention more weightlifting tips from my workout today, and of course, some inspiring talk about holding the line when it comes to your cryptocurrencies…like I’m doing, even as they plunge even further.
When I told my buddy I wasn’t vaccinated and was never getting the jab, he said, “Then it’s either Texas or Florida if you want to lead a normal life.”
Normal life, as in freely or being allowed by law, including going to the gym, nail salon, movie theatre, shopping mall or any bar or restaurant in the city. Talk about a quintessential What-The-Fcuk. I mean, one of our nation’s greatest Presidents and spokesperson for democracy, Thomas Jefferson, would roll over in his grave with such “tyranny over the mind of man” exhibited by today’s government officials.
Because in my book the COVID mandates of Los Angeles are not only ridiculous and unjust, they’re also a form of tyranny or “arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power”, as defined by the dictionary. Most importantly, these mandates prevent me from living a so-called normal life, which includes working out every single day plus walking 10+ miles a day since COVID began. Not to mention I’m at my ideal weight with less than 10% body fat, a blood pressure of 110 over 60, plus a great bill of health from my doctor. Oh yeah, I’ll be 59 in March and I’ve never taken a daily pill in my entire life – medicine or supplement. And don’t forget I wrote the book on How to Drink from the Fountain of Youth: 30 Steps to Everlasting Youth. So why do I need to inject myself with something that isn’t necessary? Forgettaboutit.
So there you have it California, you leave me no choice but to leave you after 15 glorious years. Albeit, it’s more like you kicked me out after 15 hard-working and dream chasing years.
Here I come Texas, with my new horsepower and anything is possible attitude. And no worries to anyone who thinks like I do and remains committed to living a fearless and vaccine-free life, all the while treating your most valuable asset, aka your Temple, with the utmost respect.
Happy Veterans Day everyone…and get your workout in! Peace – R
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!
Over the past 11 years I’ve had the pleasure of teaching some really inspiring students from NYC to LA to Chicago to Seattle – and several places in between – who make it all worth while.
Thanks for the memories everyone, and especially these kind words. Peace – R
“When I walk into Rich’s class feeling emotionally weak, without a doubt, every week, at the end of the hour, I feel stronger and more confident.” – Adriana R.
“Thank you so much for filling our little Seattle yoga class with such wonderful joy & skills. You are AMAZING and I have learned a ton!” – Sallie B.
“Rich is a master at sequencing poses. My body always feels great for hours after class.” – Lauren A.
“It’s very well-structured, plus I get a great full-body workout every time I take Rich’s class. He’s the best!” – Vika L.
“After 10 years, I took my practice to a new level when I started taking Tola Yoga classes.” – Rhonda C.
“Tola Yoga is effective in strengthening and stretching every part of your body, plus it’ll make you sweat!” – Ron W.
“Rich’s classes are transformative.” – Jeremy S.
“Thank you for your classes and training this past year. I spent six weeks after knee surgery without putting any weight on my left leg, and because of your super long standing sequences, my right leg was strong enough to carry me throughout. For that I am grateful.” – Ananya D.
“We’ll be very sad to see you go… I get RAVE reviews about your class.” – Manager, TRIBE Fitness in Seattle
If there’s one piece of advice I can give – other than workout everyday and live by Yoga principles to build a strong body clear mind – it’s these three words:
Explore the world.
I just spent the past three days in Vancouver, Canada exploring a plethora of neighborhoods like Gastown, Downtown, Coal Harbor, West End, Davie Village, Yaletown, Kitsilano and Mt. Pleasant. An amazing 25 miles worth of walking around one of the most beautiful, clean, vibrant and fashionable cities I’ve ever lived or visited. There’s been quite a few.
In Vancouver you’ll find tons of great shops and eateries and cool street fashion that had me people watching as much as checking out the sleek modern architecture that’s everywhere.
There’s also tons of little parks and beaches and public art that seem to pop-up out of nowhere. Like the A-maze-ing Laughter in Morton Park consisting of 14 enormous bronze statues – in all different poses – of a shirtless guy laughing hysterically. And what a great way to get your daily workout in. By kicking-the-bricks, as we used to say back in my NYC real estate days.
Speaking of which, Vancouver also has that international cosmopolitan feel, much like Manhattan and Chicago. Plus, the hi-rise apartment building where I stayed had one of those old-school Universal weight machines and some dumbbells, which came in handy every morning. Add to that a yoga class, or better yet, a free 30-minute Tola Yoga class, and voila, you’re set!
So pack your bags, pick your destination, and do a little exploring on your own.