In the Beginning…

 On a bright April morning in 1979, the legendary founder and chairman of the newly minted conglomerate, City Investing, walked into that year’s first strategic planning session and declared, “The only permanent element in our business is change.”  We all just sat there and waited for him to continue. He didn’t. He got up and left the room. 


The Martin Luther King housing projects in Harlem are less than a mile from the wealthiest zip code in America. The apartments along Fifth Avenue facing Central Park from 59th to 89th street sell for $3 million to $30 million. Agnes Gund, a banking heiress and president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art, lives in one of those apartments. Agnes is a renowned collector of modern art who recently surprised the art world by selling the Roy Lichtenstein masterpiece that long hung over the mantle in her Manhattan apartment for $162 million, one of the 15 highest prices ever paid for artwork. She then further shocked the nonprofit world by donating $100 million from the sale to create the Art for Justice Fund, which on its website calls itself a movement to end mass incarceration

Heroes Among Heroes - Watching the Aftermath in Texas and Florida

The devastation and wreckage of everyday lives left behind by Harvey and Irma is hard to imagine or visualize unless you’re on the ground in Texas or Florida. It’s in the big things like homes and schools and offices and stores and vehicles. It’s in the little things like pets and pictures and awards and diplomas and cozy chairs, favorite shoes and familiar cell phones that were daily refuge. Texans and Floridians driven into shelters are glad to be alive but are not sure who they are or where they belong. Overnight, their identity was mysteriously removed, and they can’t think beyond their next bite of food or available restful cot. They have no plans for tomorrow. They are not clear what tomorrow looks like. We furnish our everyday lives with things familiar (the stuff of our lives) that give us comfort and identity. Suddenly removed, we are left without context. We are traumatized and drift into post-traumatic-stress-syndrome without even realizing it.  


The Texans and Floridians driven into shelters are, for the most part, the elderly, the working class, the humble who can’t afford to lose a blade of grass.

The Brotherhood of Man

Too much negative news. The media trades in the sensational to achieve ratings and sell advertising. The constant negative bias, however, was making me angry and suspicious, so I started keeping a diary of the human behavior I was witnessing in my daily life. My Salvation, I realized, would be in noticing these little moments.


  • A jogger stops to help a homeless woman lift her shopping cart onto the curb.

The TAO of Social Work

FEAR is the social worker’s most formidable enemy. Vulnerable people at risk are the social worker’s constituents, and vulnerable people at risk are, of course, full of fear. Persistent fear always morphs into anger setting up a self-destructive spiral in the vulnerable. Whether working with a population of addicts, immigrants, children at risk, or the elderly, helping clients overcome fear is the first job of the social worker.

A Persistent Problem

Case workers are finding that alleviating immediate physical problems (hunger, homelessness, addiction, grinding poverty) does not change the self-destructive patterns that have been set-up in the vulnerable. The same clients return for assistance again and again. Self-destructive behavior patterns drive them right back into the arms of frustrated social workers. Now what?


Louis the XIV is a fifty-eight year old overweight skin-head biker with tats from head to toe who favors gold chains. That’s why they call him, Louis the XIV. He’s my sponsor.

I met him at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in 1995, my first day out of rehab.

“What are you lookin at?” was the first thing he said to me.

I was only 16 years old and wearing khakis and a polo shirt. “I’m looking for a sponsor,” I replied in a shaky voice. “They told me I needed to find a sponsor right away.”

When Louis the XIV smiled at my remark his two gold incisors shined like headlights in a rear- view mirror. “You,” he began slowly with a note of scorn in his voice. “Want me” he added as a sort of afterthought. “To be,” he said dragging out the word “be” like “beee”. “Your what?” he concluded, cocking a multi-pierced ear in my direction.


A line begins forming at PIZZARUN's front door just before his 11:00 A.M. opening and does not abate till after 3:00 P.M. By 4:30 the crowds start squeezing toward the front of the dinner line. Arun's unique all natural pizza, fair price, and lightning fast service are obviously magic. However, his first franchisee is struggling.

"Everything is the same but he's not getting the business. We can't figure it out. 



Hard times teach hard lessons. The great recession of 2008 has alerted the construction industry to the fact that it cannot rely on boom times and unlimited growth to insure profitability. Shrinking revenues over the past six years have inspired contractors to take a closer look at their management practices and search for ways to maintain profitability in the absence of top line growth.

Let's Go Cuba 2.0

Last year, after President Obama relaxed travel restrictions to Cuba, this blog began to research incentive travel opportunities to the mysterious island 90 miles off our coast. Like many American travelers, incentive groups were captivated by Cuba’s promise of something new and different. Americans have been prohibited from traveling to Cuba since 1963, so curiosity alone has intensified the allure of our neighbor to the South.

Last Year

After extensive research, we concluded last year that although Cuba presented a colorful and entertaining culture, wonderful food, rhythmic music and dance, intricate history, soothing climate, natural wonders, and a curiously “stuck-in-time” joyful population, it still had a long way to go