The Talk Pod has Sprouted!

The way we receive information is changing. One of the more exciting and welcome changes is the ability to easily access original, on demand audio content. You can now listen to the personalities you love, anytime and anywhere, thanks to digital technology.

A couple of years ago, due to a number of factors, the world of traditional radio began, what many consider, a decline. Some radio stations, either by choice, due to budget issues, or maybe even short-sightedness, let some of their most popular personalities go. Some of the most dedicated, disappointed fans were those of the once great and powerful KGO Newstalk 810 in San Francisco. New owners of the station apparently had a “different” vision for the station’s future, and cut all but a couple of the station’s longtime favorites. Fans were not pleased by the shake-up, to say the least, but as they say, when one door closes, another often opens!158459361

Ed Baxter and I first worked together with him writing a column in ALIVE called Making Sense. Alongside the column, Ed contributed regular audio commentary to our ALIVE Eastbay website, and eventually ALIVE published Ed’s first book, Waiting at Red Lights. Ed had been aware of my longtime efforts to merge various types of media—print, video, web, TV—as he had been doing much of the same thing, particularly focused on audio.

Enter: The Talk Pod.

In time, Ed and I became friends and our natural “progression” led us to form a new media company—Media Progression, LLC—with the goal of expanding into new digital formats. Our first project together is, “The Talk Pod.” It is perfect for us because it takes the best of the best of traditional media’s spoken word, and blends it with the digital experience of the web. Going to will bring you into a community/exchange of spoken thought, information, and opinion.

The Talk Pod features professional broadcasters offering original content that has not appeared anywhere else. It is a unique digital experience. The contributors express themselves in their own portals and are able to “visit” each other, much like neighbors going in and out of each others’ doors. The only limit on The Talk Pod creativity is that all of our commentary be produced in good taste—it’s a “no foul language zone.”

Our contributors are amazing. They are professionals who have talked with millions of people on a daily, weekly, monthly and career basis. Many are members of the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame. Many have won numerous national awards. Some are authors.

Ed is overjoyed at being reunited with my his KGO on-air partner, Rosie Allen. Also on board are John Rothmann, Barbara Simpson, Joe Starkey, Ken Dito, Bill Wattenburg, Lloyd Lindsay Young, Stan Burford, Malou Nubla, Elizabeth Kate and and the Flick Nation crew of Dennis Willis, Steve Wagner, and Steven Kirk. As you can see, we have a plethora of experts onboard!

The Talk Pod is easy to navigate any time you want the content. It is available on desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile device. The Talk Pod iPhone and Android apps are coming soon, to be followed by auto/audio in your car via a USB port.

We are starting The Talk Pod here in the Bay Area because we have access to this wonderful talent, and because this is our home. We will be expanding and growing as we find more avenues across the country for our “Media Progression.”

Digital is the new way to share communication. It is on-demand and original. For all of our contributors, it is a work of love and passion. Our motto is “Let’s have some fun and give listeners what they really want!”

The Talk Pod is has sprouted! This is your project as well, so please tell us what you think and what you want to hear. As our Pod opens to the world, there are no limits!

Visit The Talk Pod at




Bohemian Grove

The Bohemian Club of San Francisco is one of the Bay Area’s best-kept secrets, and is considered to be one of the premier private men-only clubs in America. It boasts an elite membership, past and present, of some of the nation’s foremost power brokers, policy-makers, and several generations of Fortune 500 leaders. 477652603

Within the sanctuary of the exclusive club, men of both patrilineal wealth and big business self-achieved titans enjoy the camaraderie of friendship and success. The Club is unabashedly a personal retreat for the elite socio-economic and well-connected men in American society who can relax in the milieu of like-minded men.

This gentlemen’s club with an old-world atmosphere of interlocking business and the arts, and imbued with the spirit of gentry and civility, attracted the Crockers, Spreckles and Hearsts, as well as railroad, shipping and city builders. It has not deviated from its original mission to attract the most powerful and influential men of the moment.
At any given time there is a fifteen-year waiting list of about 20,000 sponsored applications in the pipeline to be vetted by a committee prior to acceptance. And with an initiation fee of $25,000, and about $600 in monthly dues, it doesn’t even faze the eager male aspirants.

An invitation to join the Bohemian Club is often a validation of one’s success and standing in society, by other men of influence who are part of the powerful network. As one of the world’s most exclusive men-only clubs, it is also one of the most maligned by its detractors. Why, you may ask? It’s because the private men’s club membership attracts some of the most influential leaders, moneyed power brokers, and decision-makers in America with a global reach.

The Bohemian Club was founded in 1872 in San Francisco by a group of Chronicle journalists with a mission to forge bonds by blending business and the arts; literature, art, music and drama. Membership swelled to include businesses, industry, banking, building, and national media, providing an art colony of sorts for writers, artists, poets, actors and like-minded intellectuals who craved artistic culture and camaraderie in the post-gold rush frontier days.

The 19th century co-founders, Daniel O’Conner and Henry “Harry” Edwards, chose the term “Bohemian” that typified free-thinking avant-garde and art-focused intellectuals, and the word best described their objectives to promote a devotion to the Seven Arts.

The present membership roster is secret; however, past members were involved in the public domain, and reads like the Who’s Who in global politics, government, military, finance, utilities, industry, science, national media, and the arts.

Post launch-period Bohemians in non-chronological order: William Keith of the Barbizon School, was a member, as were poet George Sterling, Jack London, Samuel Clemons (aka Mark Twain), and Bret Harte. One of only four females to ever have been granted honorary membership in the male-only club was Jack London’s mentor, poetess Ina Coolbrith, the club’s librarian.

Other esteemed members include: Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Henry Ford, Henry Kissinger, Ike Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, George H. Bush, and every Republican president as well as many Democrat presidents. Academia is also well represented in the club by several university scientists, presidents and trustees. Political affiliation is not a membership prerequisite. Liberal Walter Cronkite was a member, as is Paul Pelosi.

Guest speakers at the elite club cover diverse subjects. Chris Matthews and Conan O’Brien were recent presenters, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown was a regular, and Peter Ueberroth and General Stanley McChrystal have been Lakeside guest lecturers. Other members include newspaper barons William R. Hearst I and III, Earl Warren, S.D. Bechtel and son Riley Bechtel, James Lockheed, Alan Sproul, Ralph Bailey of DuPont, David Packard, William Casey Jr., Colin Powell, the Rockefellers, Google’s Eric Schmidt and astronauts, and the late Robert Mondavi and Tony Snow, and many International Press Club members.

To retain their ‘Bohemian’ allegiance to the arts, about ten percent qualify for membership in the artistic and entertainment realm: Tennessee Ernie Ford, George Shearing, Clint Eastwood, Herman Wouk (The Caine Mutiny), Grateful Dead rockers Mickey Hart and Bob Weir, and Jimmy Buffett. Past guests included Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and many big bands, jazzmen, and concert pianists.


The San Francisco-based club on Taylor Street owns the Bohemian Grove, a 2,700-acre retreat nestled in the giant redwood forests 75 miles north of The City. The ‘Grovers’ convene annually to celebrate High-Jinx in June, the other a mid-summer two week “Encampment” fest where the elite 2000+ men camp in the woods in rustic bunkhouses.

As part of merriment in the woods, Bohemians enjoy gourmet dining, fine wines and gallons of booze in clearings under canopies of heritage redwoods. Untoward activities or ungentlemanly behavior at the safe sanctum is unacceptable. On occasion an offending member has been escorted to the gate.

The club prohibits the discussion of business dealings and the use the encampment as a forum to solicit clients or promote ventures, as dictated by their motto “Weaving spiders come not here.” It is impossible to monitor private conversations or any clandestine planning in the bunkhouses and dining rooms, but it is presumed the venue has spawned a slew of schemes and strategies down the global pike.

One such historic scheme that occurred in September 1942 in the Bohemian Grove is well documented: the Manhattan Project. Ernest O. Lawrence, Donald Cooksey and Robert Oppenheimer discussed the project at the Grove’s river clubhouse with scientists and the military top brass. This historic rendezvous is a source of great pride for the club, as the development of the atomic bomb was to end World War II in 1945.

One wonders what other plans affecting the outcomes of elections, world banking, and expansionism may have been hatched at the Grove since 1872 by men of power, men who control the money, and the men who virtually rule the world.

The remote wilderness-meeting place is innocuous, serene and pristine where great men gather in the backwoods to bond and forge friendships. The encampments in forest clearings are about 118 rustic camps and each having private clubhouses, dining rooms, decks, bars and sleeping quarters. Camp compounds are collectively owned, often patrilineal, who are responsible for annual dues, upkeep, steward-valets, and share in responsibility for the comfort, welfare and supplies of the residents and guests.

Members are invited to join and must adhere to strict rules: no tipping, cameras, cell phones, tape recorders, radios, pets or firearms. At no time are autographs to be requested. Each camp is considered private with an atmosphere of civility, and owner Bohemians invite other members to enter.

The hundred plus individual camps are identified by names: Mandalay regularly houses presidents; Hill Billies the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Hillside has the Military Generals; and Cave Man houses the Think Tank, banking and defense sect. These rustic bunkhouses are where some of the world’s wealthiest, most influential and powerful men enjoy fellowship in the forest. Directors and CEOs of many of the nation’s 800 corporations have Club representation.

To keep everyone happy, fed and watered, the club employs over 500 seasonal workers. Top chefs and crew run their own butcher shop, bakery, pantry and catering service, working night and day to prepare the best gourmet food and serve the finest of wines to as many as 1500 raucous revelers seated 26 to a table in the al fresco Dining Circle.

The Bohemian Grove retreat is a fun-filled event with “walkie-talkie” nature walks, lectures, live concerts and theatrical performances under the watchful eye of a 40-foot moss-covered owl totem shrine behind the lakeside stage. The seating encircles an open air auditorium-like theatre shaded by redwoods for lakeside lectures, plays and concerts.

The annual kick-off to encourage the Bohemian revelers to discard all outside cares is the ‘Cremation of Care’ ceremony whereby an effigy is set alight on a small barge in the lake like Beau Geste’s Viking funeral. This century-old ceremony, imbedded in tradition, has brought ire from detractors as being a human sacrifice ala ancient Druid practices in the forests of Anglesey.


Each encampment season protesters demonstrate outside the compound Bohemian Avenue gates. The activists oppose everything that the Bohemian Club stands for, and as long as print media gives ink, and television gives airplay, the activists will continue to bombard the gates. The Monte Rio annual events attract the wrath of sundry activists: environmentalists, anti-war protesters, occupiers maligning the One Percent, feminists, and other causes du jour that inflame the agitators that relentlessly dog the club.

One of the most vocal groups is the redwood environmentalists who accuse the private club of cutting heritage ancient trees to harvest 500,000 board feet of lumber. The club maintains that the felled trees were not ancient redwoods, but trees under the timber management program. The Bohemian Grove management insists their private land tree-cutting programs follow federal guidelines and remains in harmony with nature.

The Bohemian Grove is fully contained during encampment events with doctors and staff in a medical centre and it maintains its own fire department.

As the Bohemian Grove property is off-limits to non-members and the public, the private men-only membership, has drawn condemnation from detractors. Maximum security at the grove is of utmost importance, as some of the world’s most high-profile leaders, military generals, captains of industry, oil companies, and CEOs attend the events. The high-value members and guests are collectively vulnerable to infiltration, sabotage and possible targets of terrorist danger.

Trespassers are apprehended, photographed, fingerprinted and added to their database. Members’ guests are screened, vetted and wear laminated identification tags at all times. Security is tight; guards travel on golf carts and are immediately alerted to security breaches. They do not take trespassing lightly and do not allow casual non-guests at any time. Tours are not permitted. Member’s families may visit at non-event periods and only during daylight hours.

Some reporters and activists have admitted to trespassing, and their stretched stories have caused getting a valid interview almost impossible. Any form of publicity about the Bohemian Club is shunned and denied.

The Internet is ablaze with the intrigue of conspiracy theories, “eyewitness” accounts of activities, illuminati-style mind-control, clear-cutting heritage redwoods, and accusing members of ritualistic atrocities, including Druid-like sacrifice and devil worship in the commune. Many are even outraged that some men are guilty of micturition—peeing in the forest!

It is understandable that the compound, where some of the world’s most influential power brokers gather each summer, has the nation’s best post 9/11 security, employing ex-CIA and FBI agents to guard the perimeters of the vast property, a monumental challenge to say the least.

Though the redwood forest property spans 2,700 acres, only 109 acres are cleared for Grove activities in buildings, bunkhouses, dining hall, and al fresco dining arenas. The rest of the forest that borders the Russian River is preserved for the glory of the grove.

The rest of the acreage is wild, where one imagines that shafts of light pierce the canopies, lichen and tree moss clump on bark, and deer and wildlife roam among sword ferns in the perennial wetness of dappled shade. Fog hangs on the redwoods’ crown giving watery life to the untrammeled forest floor where light filters like clerestory windows of a cathedral, and where the giant trees have survived for over three millennia, giving a misty Arthurian mystery to the wilderness.

During my investigations I could not locate a website or email address. Media packets seem to be unavailable, and activities are not advertised by the club. I have written the facts to the best of my ability and have reported fairly without sensationalizing. Most information is gleaned from old news reports and the Internet. Much information was extrapolated from a 160-page dissertation on socio-economics, purportedly sanctioned by the Bohemian Club, by a sociologist’s study on American clubdom, consensus building, and the bonding of elite men in society.

About 20,000 membership applicants will wait fifteen years or so to be vetted and hopefully accepted. If they meet the stringent requirements, they will become ‘Bohemians’ in one of the world’s most exclusive clubs. And with a heavy initiation fee of 25 grand and 600 smackers a month, they will have entered the rare stratosphere of America’s socio-economic elite, and be privileged to rub shoulders, and raise the cup, with the highest echelons of the nation’s most powerful band of brothers who make our world go around.

Everyone Has a Book in Them

It’s been said that everyone has a book in them. Not literally of course. That would be grossly uncomfortable. Suffice it to say that we’re all filled with stories or life experiences that could or should be translated into book form.

Take me for instance. Many years before the international acclaim of my first book, Alive and Kickin’:  Sideways Views From an Upright Guy, my wife had convinced me to record some of the bedtime stories I had been telling our two daughters on a nightly basis. These stories were made up whimsical tales utilizing characters they were familiar with such as friends, relatives, pets or dolls and stuffed animals from their rooms. It was a challenge to create nightly adventures that would gently hold their interest while often times trying to weave in some type of life lesson. I don’t proclaim to be Barbara Park (Junie B. Jones), Laura Numeroff (If You Give a Pig a Pancake) or Ian Falconer (Olivia the Pig series), but Hannah and Claire seemed to enjoy my stories as they drifted off to sleep.

The point is, once I purged them onto the computer, I never did anything with these brilliantly crafted pieces of my soul, until now. With the help of Eric Johnson at Alive Book Publishing, I plan to put together a book entitled, Would Someone Please Tell Me a Story, a collection of bedtime stories from a real life dad. I may never sell one copy, but I’ll be able to leave the book to my daughters hoping one day they’ll read our stories to their children/my grandchildren just in case I’m not around to do it myself. Don’t feel embarrassed if you’re starting to tear up as you read this article, I have a tendency to tap into people’s emotions pretty easily.

A Trip to the Big City

In a quaint little house in the suburbs, there lived two sisters, Carly and Libby. Carly was 10 years old and Libby, 8. The sisters loved to play together, read books to each other and go to the movies. Cary and Libby also liked their visits to the big city. Once every three or four months, Carly, Libby and their parents, take a 45 minute drive to the big city to shop, see shows, eat at new restaurants and explore the various districts that make up the metropolis. Mom and Dad call it cultural, but Carly and Libby just call it fun.

For their visits to the big city, the girl’s always dress nicely, do their hair and they each are allowed to bring one doll. Their favorite thing to do in the big city is to walk the busy streets. They love to buy inexpensive jewelry from the street vendors; they feed the pigeons in the park and they meet interesting people everywhere they go.

On one recent trip to the big city, Carly and her Mother were sitting at an outdoor café while Libby and their father were inside ordering lunch. Off in the distance, Carly noticed a young girl about her age, sitting with an elderly woman on a bench across the plaza. Carly smiled at the girl and although the girl looked sad, she did smile back. Carly noticed that the girl had worn and ragged clothes, smudges of dirt on her cheeks and her shoes were almost worn out.

Carly asked her Mother why the girl looked so unhappy. When Libby and their father joined Carly and their mom for lunch, the girls’ parents explained that some people in the city were homeless. Carly and Libby were unaware that some kids didn’t have homes to live in, food to eat or nice clothes to wear. They both felt very lucky and at the same time compassionate for the other children.

Carly asked her parents if she could walk over and talk with the little girl on the bench. Her parents said yes and kept a close eye on her as she walked across the plaza. Carly introduced herself and gave her doll to the girl. The girl was so surprised she started to cry. The elderly woman, the girl’s grandmother, told Carly her granddaughter never had a doll. Carly had a warm feeling in her heart knowing she had done something special. When she returned to Libby and her parents, she explained what had transpired. Her parents were very proud of their daughter. Later that day, Libby gave her doll to a baby in a stroller.

From that point forward, whenever the family went to the big city, the girls always brought a toy, stuffed animal, sweater or jacket and some food to give to one of the homeless families. The girls loved their trips to the big city.

What sets ALIVE apart as a publishing company? ALIVE is a local publishing company enabled with the tools and expertise to effectively position, market, and advertise your book using a vast array of media. While the basic essentials of book publishing are certainly important, they comprise just one dimension of what ALIVE Media accomplishes. Their publishing foundation is based upon something quite different from that of other book publishers. Their experience is based upon not only books, but eight years’ experience publishing a monthly lifestyle magazine. The ALIVE Team knows what it takes to market and actually sell editorial products because they’ve been doing it successfully, every month for over eight years. When it comes to marketing, public relations, and advertising, they’re not “middle men,” like most publishers—they actually own the tools of production and have the hands-on experience required to create and conduct a successful public relations and marketing campaign for your book.

Moo, I’ll Take Care of You

On a big farm, in the middle of California’s Central Valley, there lived a big, beautiful Jersey milking cow named Kaye. Over the years, Kaye had birthed a great many calves all of whom had grown-up to be fine cows. As Kaye grew older, she missed taking care of little ones so she started mothering any stray animal that found their way to her farm.

One cloudy day, a baby duck showed up on the farm. The duckling had become separated from her flock and was all alone on the farm. Kaye watched as the duckling wandered around the barnyard for a few days trying to find someplace to fit in until Kaye moseyed over to say hello. The little yellowed feathered bird looked up at the enormous bovine and said the only thing that came to mind, “Quack”. Kaye gave the adorable little quacker a sniff, smiled and responded simply by saying, “Moo, I’ll take care of you” and from that day forward Kaye watched over the duck as if she was one of her very own calves. She rustled up grain for the foul to eat, gathered lose down feathers to build a bed and learned all types of duck games to play. Kaye was the only mother the duck ever knew or needed.

Several years later, a gray and white Tabby kitten showed up on the farm scared and lonely. None of the other barn animals knew where the kitten had come from or what had become of its mother. Kaye could see that the kitten’s coat needed cleaning and in one lick of her enormous tongue the kitten was clean and shiny. As the kitten purred with delight, Kaye sniffed the little ball of fur and said, “Moo, I’ll take care of you.” Kaye found the kitten milk to drink, yarn to chase and a warm safe place to sleep. Kaye was a perfect mother to the baby cat.

Life on farm was good, however there were never any children at the farm until one day when the farmer and his wife brought home a little girl about four or five years old. Kaye kept a watchful eye on the adventurous newcomer to the farm whenever she ventured outside to play or explore. Ultimately, the toddler found Kaye or Kaye found the toddler. Regardless, Kaye nuzzled the freckled face mop top and thought, “Moo, I’ll take care of you.” The farmer and his wife were wonderful parents and they raised an exceptional girl, but Kaye liked to think she helped too.

Sadly, Kaye passed on several years after the girl left for college. Once the farmer’s daughter became a woman, she married and had a child of her own. Not surprisingly, the new mother’s first instinct was to look deeply into her baby’s eyes and say, “Moo, I’ll take care of you.”

ALIVE’s Basic Publishing Service Package includes concept & content advisory, interior page layout using author-provided, camera-ready pages or a ABP standard template (up to 300 pages), Custom cover design including up to two stock, Images (at least three spec design options), ISBN, Bar Code, Library of Congress filings, Price point survey & determination , Up to 20 copies of your book, Listing in Ingram Advance Catalog, sent to booksellers & libraries worldwide (approximately four months after production), Submission of your book for Printing on Demand (POD) production, Online POD distribution is accessed through over 30,000 wholesalers, retailers and book sellers in over 100 countries. This provides maximum exposure in the marketplace. Books are normally printed and ready for shipment in less than 24 hours after an order is placed. Online United States distribution companies include: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Espresso, Book Machine, NACSCORP, Ingram and Baker & Taylor. Online United Kingdom distribution companies include: Amazon UK, Adlibris, Bertram’s, Blackwell, Book Depository, Coutts, Gardner’s, Mallory Intl., Paperback Shop, Eden Interactive Limited., Aphrohead and IBS-STL UK. *20 copies provided for B&W paperback. Number of included books will be less with hardcover, color or custom sized book. Additionally, Display advertising in ALIVE Magazine, Feature articles, book reviews & author interviews. Online advertising on the high traffic ALIVE website, TV commercials on Comcast cable channels like CNN, MSNBC & dozens more. Complete website design; shopping cart enabled. Video production and QR Codes & Microsoft Tags on Facebook & Twitter pages.

The Zoo

Hannah and Claire loved to visit the zoo, it was their favorite of many things they could do.
It has been a few months since their last big zoo trip, but they remembered one monkey who loved to do flips.
So Hannah asked Mom and Claire talked to Dad, they begged and they pleaded, it sounded so sad
Yet having nice parents who enjoyed a good time, Mom and Dad liked their idea, said it sounded just fine.
So early that Sunday, they loaded the car, they sang silly songs though the drive wasn’t real far
Once they arrived for their day full of fun, the girls spotted some hippos enjoying the sun
The lions they roared and the camels were snacking, joeys were in pouches the kangaroos moms were packing.
Claire talked to zebras and Hannah to bears, mom whistled to parrots while dad stood and stared.
The girls laughed super loud seeing a monkey wear pants and they were truly amazed watching walruses dance.
At the end of the day, as they all headed home, Claire wore on her head antlers made of soft foam. Hannah sported a trunk that hung from her nose and once in the car their eyes started to close.
Mom said to Dad, “our girl’s sure love the zoo” and Dad nodded his head and responded, “yea, they sure do!”

ALIVE’S Public Relations includes press releases and follow-ups to local, regional and/or national media, Representation, pitches and follow-ups to local bookstores and other venues for readings and signing events, Radio and/or TV interviews locally and nationwide, Guest appearance on Robin Fahr’s Conversations TV Show, Interview coaching for talk show appearances on TV and radio, Production of video or audio session for distribution to TV and radio stations.

If you have ever considered writing a book, there is no better time than the present. Let Eric and his staff assist you, like I did and will again. There might also be an Alive and Kickin’ Volume II sometime in the future. That’s a promise not a threat.

No More GIGO, Please!

Garbage in, garbage out. I believe the term originated in reference to computer programming; the idea being that the quality of the any result is directly related to what you start with. (Another colorful expression that certainly pre-dates GIGO—one that my high school algebra teacher loved to say—is, “you can’t get a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!”)

So let me ask you. Where are you getting your information? Is it coming from that highly-produced, market-driven TV news? While some media companies work a little harder than others in at least attempting to be unbiased, it’s pretty obvious that most broadcast and cable TV networks lean one way or the other, with the majority of their programming reflective of a point of view skewed in only one direction. CNN, pretty much left. Fox, right. MSNBC, again, left.

And then there is the problem of timing and access. What if you are ready for a little “brain food” right now? Is your cable or radio station going to deliver what you want, when and where you want it?484541353

Even if you find a station that you like, have you “had it up to here” with what seems like enormous time-blocks of commercials? I think it’s something like nine minutes of advertising for every five of content. At least it seems that way.

Wouldn’t it be a pleasure to find a place where you could access information and commentary based upon your own criteria—either by the personality that you want to hear, or the subject matter that you are most interested in? A place where the content is original, and virtually unpolluted by commercial interruptions?

I have found an answer—with The Talk Pod, you can say “goodbye” to those canned, repetitive radio and TV broadcasts that give you so little of what you want (and too much of what you don’t want).

Talent-wise, this new site is packed to the rafters with the best of the best in their fields, covering everything from politics and sports, to entertainment, wine and weather… and everything in between.

The names are familiar, certainly to anyone in Northern California, if not to the entire country; Barbara Simpson, John Rothmann, Lloyd Lindsey Young, Bill Wattenburg, Stan Burford, Ed Baxter, Rosie Allen, Ken Dito, Joe Starkey, Malou Nubla, Elizabeth Kate, and the guys from “Flick Nation; Steve Wagner, Dennis Willis and Steven Kirk.

So long “GIGO.” Hello The Talk Pod.

Are Your Daily HABITS Serving or Sabotaging You?

Did you know that inspiration can get you started— but HABITS keep you going? Author Jim Rohn’s motivational philosophy reminds us that discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments. For this reason, he might ask us: “Who’s in charge of your life—do you run the day or does the day run you?” 179286030

Unfortunately, a lot of us probably feel that the days (and the needs of others) continually run us. And, let’s face it; we live in an intense time where stressful demands often come at us from multiple directions: kids, aging parents, spouses, clients, bosses….

So, when you think about your daily HABITS, would you say that they are serving or sabotaging your health and wellbeing? For example, when you feel stressed, how do you respond? Do you have a HABIT of reaching for any of these?

a) Salty, crunchy, deep-fried snacks
b) Excessive sweets (notice that “desserts” is “stressed” spelled backwards)
c) Another glass of wine
d) A cigarette
e) All of the above

Now, since stress is a normal part of life, it can be helpful to develop healthy HABITS that include using “self-care tools” to navigate our responses to the twists and turns of our days. Changing deeply ingrained HABITS is no small order; however, self-hypnosis, is one “practical tool” that I personally would find difficult to get along without.
In fact, when I’m unable to sleep, one of my most effective relaxation techniques is practicing self-hypnosis. I teach many of my clients how to use self-hypnosis to overcome insomnia and get a good night’s sleep.

Now, let’s be honest—when many of you hear the term “hypnosis,” you probably think about the eerie mind-control scenarios from Hollywood’s depictions. Or, if you’ve seen stage hypnosis, then you picture a guy with a pendulum telling you to quack like a duck. So let me share with you that stage hypnosis is for entertainment, whereas hypnotherapy is a powerful tool…for positive transformation.

What is Hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy is a way to relax and calm your mind, body, and emotions in order to enter a focused state where challenges and unhealthy HABITS can be explored. Because the imagination is activated, hypnotherapy is sometimes called “guided imagery.”

Hypnotherapy addresses unhealthy HABITS at a deep, unconscious level—below the surface—to explore issues from the inside out. And just so you know, many of my clients, after completing their first hypnotherapy sessions, express surprise at how inspiring their hypnotherapy experiences were (often with a grateful tear in their eye).

What is a Positive Suggestion?
A positive suggestion is a positive statement that relates to a goal. When someone is in a deeply relaxed state during hypnotherapy, his or her unconscious mind can become open and receptive to positive suggestions. A positive suggestion is often the opposite of the self-defeating HABIT that the person wants to change.

For example, when clients come to see me with a goal to lower their stress levels, they are often receptive to these positive suggestions:

 I prioritize daily tasks and enthusiastically accomplish them one by one
 I feel satisfied after completing each task (and I offer myself positive strokes)
 I know that I am capable of reaching my goals (one step at a time)
 I eat healthy meals slowly and mindfully
 I enjoy moving and exercising—and it feels great!
 I take quality time for myself each day

So, if it feels right, call me and consider adding self-hypnosis to your “self-care toolkit.” Then, you can begin creating daily HABITS that serve—rather than sabotage—your success.

Finally, keep in mind that growing healthy HABITS is like gardening. First, we patiently remove the unwanted weeds. Next, we consistently water each desired seed. Then, before we know it, we find ourselves standing in the center…of a rich and colorful life!

Don’t Miss Trina’s Upcoming Workshops:

1) “The ZEN of Sketching,” for details go to and click on “Private Sessions & Workshops.” Join us for this CREATIVE FUN!

2) Save the Date: Workshop for women and men—Managing Emotional and Compulsive Eating—at John Muir Women’s Health Center in Walnut Creek: Thursday, Oct 16, 6:30-8:30 pm. Cost: $40 (Includes Weight Loss: 2-CD set). Seats are limited—register today for this inspiring workshop: (925) 941-7900 option 3.

Trina Swerdlow, BFA, CCHT, is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, an artist, and the author of Stress Reduction Journal. She currently has a private practice in downtown Danville. Trina passionately supports her clients in reaching their goals. You can reach her at: (925) 285.5759, or

Certified Clinical Hypnotherapy services in California can be alternative or complementary to licensed healing arts, such as psychotherapy.

Are You Laughing Enough?

Probably not. The major cause of this jaw dysfunction, as my jaw TMJ/TMD practice has experienced, is STRESS. We are living in very stressful times. The economy is slowly recovering and family life has been disrupted by both parents having to work to make ends meet. To make matters worse, kids with time intensive extracurricular activities like sports, cause family sit down dinners to be a rare occurrence. When can we reduce stress and finally enjoy life?

To communicate and to laugh together? In order to recognize unconstructive habits or lifestyle changes that can help, it’s important to understand the mechanisms by which stress affects the body and what can be done about it.

Controlling our bodily functions, without our knowledge, is the Autonomic Nervous System. This system is made up of two opposite systems: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems. As the Autonomic Nervous system receives stimuli from the external environment it automatically responds by activating a body process using the sympathetic system, or inhibiting responses using the parasympathetic system. Many of us are aware of the “fight or flight” reaction that the sympathetic system prepares as a response to stress or an emergency situation, including clenching and grinding of teeth.

The parasympathetic system controls the bodily processes during ordinary life, including the speeding up and slowing down of heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and simulating proper digestion—all of which allow us to restore and build tissues, heal, and reproduce.

What most of us also know, but lose sight of, is what we can do to have some measure of control over these functions. When possible, we must take a break from the “Rat Race”. Understanding that our digestion cannot take place properly with stress dominating our minds, on every possible occasion we must take time to sit down, relax, eat nutritiously and find something to laugh about. Choose another time for business. Sitting down to eat dinner with the whole family is invaluable. Turn off the TV and get to know each other. I was blessed with a wife that could make a room full of people laugh and, as I look back, I can’t think of a dinner without laughter. True laughter stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which takes away many of the effects of stress and allows proper digestion to occur. It is also hard to clench or grind teeth while laughing.

Some might wonder why I got off on this tangent when my goal is to deal with TMJ/TMD problems. I regularly get my patients pain free quite quickly, but, to make it a lasting change, dietary and lifestyle changes are sometimes required. At my practice the goal is to help our patients understand the cause of the problem that brought them to me and, hopefully, guide them in the elimination of that cause.

The opposite of stress is thought by most to be relaxation. I would like to propose that the opposite of stress is happiness. Not the “happiness” of a new car or a promotion, etc., but the happiness that comes from internal serenity. That kind of happiness is “Rat Race” free and truly free as well. Some time ago I came upon a book by Matthieu Ricard entitled Happiness. This book explains why we have the emotions we enjoy or suffer from, what causes them and their underlying purpose. If you are ready to find real happiness and enjoyment in your life, this is a must read.



Back To School Beauty 2014

A new school year means a new you, but who has time for a mini makeover before class? Try these simple and easy beauty tips to totally switch up your look in 60 seconds or less!

Fabulous Eyes:

We all know eyeliner is the secret to instantly playing up the eyes, but who says it always has to be black or brown? Try using a rich navy to spice things up with an added new trendy twist.

Flirt Alert:

Switching up your lip color is an easy way to transition your summer beauty look into fall. This season soft nude peach tones, is the new pink. So trade in your rosy-hued pink gloss for a subtle natural gold coral shade.

Brighten Up:

Waking up for school can be rough. Fake a fresh-faced look even if you’ve been up all night cramming for a test by using a shimmery pink blush on your cheekbones. This is a quick way to get a natural girly glow without looking made-up. Make sure to smile so you can locate the apples of your cheeks, then apply the shimmer in an upward slant. It’s a great pick-me-up for the girl on the go!

One Hot Minute:

Tired of reapplying your lip-gloss after every class? Try out a fun new lip liner in a nude, berry, or soft peach and you’ll be well on your way to the perfect, long-lasting pout! Lip liners can last hours, while glosses can fade after eating and drinking. To apply: line and fill in your lips then simply add gloss.

Brows a-go-go:

When making up your eyes, look beyond just your lids and lashes. Eyebrows are actually the feature that frames your whole face, and with a little grooming it can go an extra-long way! If your brows are on the lighter or thinner side, try filling them in with a waterproof eyebrow pencil that’s a complimentary shade to your brow color. For blondes we usually suggest a taupe color, slightly lighter than your brows. For darker hair you’ll want to use a medium taupe color. You’ll be surprised at what a world of difference this quick trick makes, especially when taking selfies!!

You can also make an eyebrow appointment at The Rouge to update your brows perfectly and expertly before starting school. We are pros at brow shaping. We look at the shape of your face and wax and groom your eyebrows to work perfectly with your own individual face shape, and of course they keep your look extremely trendy and updated.

At The Rouge we offer make-up lessons for all ages and they are experts at eyebrow shaping. Whether you’re going to a new school, or just need a change, we will provide you with the most up-to-date trends of the season. We offer lessons Tuesday through Saturday for your convenience. Make it a great year and look your best, enjoy your beauty confidence and put your best features forward. You-go-girl!!

I Now Pronounce You…

I Now Pronounce you Rachael Ray’s cousin on her father’s side twice removed…

As a newly married woman, part of one of my many duties is to be the chef of our home. Now, even though I don’t mind this position it can be extremely demanding, and that’s something I just wasn’t ready for. Growing up I never cooked anything. My mom was like Gina Neely, my grandmother was like Paula Dean (pre-scandal), and my mom’s sister (my aunt/godmother) was the authentic Betty Crocker in the family, so I was pretty much covered when it came to food. My entire family probably could have been food network stars, so naturally when I married my husband he thought he was getting Rachael Ray. Here’s the problem with that… I knew how to cook, I just never tried it and of course I wasn’t going to tell him that. I never thought I would have to cook for a man who claimed all he needed was sandwiches and cereal, but just like anchovies on a pizza…I was wrong!

Thank God for my secret weapons, Pinterest and Fresh and Easy Grocery stores, because the two of them together for me was like cooking for dummies. So I have been using my aides to get me through these past few months of new-wife hood, but something went grossly wrong last week with the stuffed chicken I made. One more incident like that and I won’t be able to keep my Rachael Ray facade up for much longer. I mean my husband is bound to start figuring things out.

I can’t really explain why none of my first time meals (which is pretty much all of them) have never gone wrong before last week, but they just haven’t. So of course, like most prodigies my head got sort of big. The bigger my head got the more my husband expected. So at this point I’ve surpassed Rachael Ray in my mind and I’m feeling more like Bree Va De Kamp from ABC’s Desperate Housewives... that is until he told his father that I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year and to bring the whole family. All I remember from that point on was lying on the floor as he was bent over me pressing a cold towel to my forehead and asking if I was okay. I couldn’t believe it; he had unintentionally unknowingly told the biggest lie ever to my in-laws, and it was all my fault. When I told Karma that she skipped some people I never mentioned my own name. This just can’t be happening! I just figured out how to fry chicken for goodness sake, now I’ve got to prepare a whole turkey?

Lesson one from this whole debacle: never forget what level of chef you really are. Just because a few meals turn out fantastic doesn’t mean you’ve skipped levels from novice to intermediate.

Lesson two: never believe what your husband says pre-marriage about what your duties as his wife will be. Just don’t believe the hype. He’s lying to you and the poor guy might not even know it.

Last, but not least Lesson three: find a support group where you can tell the truth and be yourself.

I have chosen you, our ALIVE readers to be my support group. So, now I’m not ashamed to say, “My name is Kristina I’m a recovering cooking con-artist. I’ve been clean for almost a week now (mostly because we’ve been eating takeout), but I’m here to declare that I may not be Rachael Ray, but through Pinterest and Fresh and Easy Grocery stores I’m like Rachel Ray’s cousin on her father’s side twice removed, and for this week I’m okay with that. Just don’t tell my husband.


Healthy Gut = Smart Brain: Is Your Gut Holding Your Brain Hostage?

Is your gut health preventing your brain from functioning at its best? That is the question many scientists are trying to answer today. A while back, in the April issue of Alive, I wrote an article discussing the “The Second Brain” in the gut. The article talked about the enormous number of nerve cells that control the GI tract and how those nerve cells interact with the brain. In this article, we’ll focus on how an unhealthy gut can result in unhealthy brain function.

Most people are comfortable with the concept of our brain and emotional stress affecting the function of our stomachs and intestines, i.e. “nervous stomach,” nausea or diarrhea. The concept of gut function affecting the brain is less known. For many, many years it was thought that the brain completely controlled the gut, and almost every malady has been blamed on our over stressed brain. I agree that stress is a big factor when dealing with many issues including fatigue, hormonal imbalance, and premature aging but much of the time the stress we feel is actually caused or at least increased by inflammation, poor gut function and bacteria imbalance.

Recently there has been a great deal of scientific work outlining the relationship between the brain and our guts. As an example, neurologist David Perlmutter, M.D, wrote a recent book called Grain-Brain, where he discusses in detail how eating gluten (wheat and grain foods) leads to generalized inflammation in the brain by damaging the gut. This damage causes protein leakage through the gut wall, leading to a severe immune reaction. This “supercharging” of the inflammatory response causes brain degeneration, which could lead to Alzheimer’s Disease.

We now know that problems in the gut directly impact our body, especially the brain, causing depression, anxiety, memory loss, and sleeping problems. Because our central nervous system is made of exactly the same cells as our gut nervous system (enteric nervous system) they can and do communicate in an important way. In fact, the two are connected by a large nerve—the Vagus nerve—that takes all the information on motility, inflammation, and permeability from the gut and sends that to the brain. As a matter of fact, it turns out that 90% of the information in the Vagus nerve goes to the brain, not the other way around.

Recent research on probiotics has confirmed this pattern. In 2011 the Journal of Neurogastroenterology reported that the bacteria in our guts, known as Bifidobacterium (“good” bacteria), will normalize anxiety in rats with colitis. In a separate study, a probiotic, Lactobacillus rhamnosus decreased depression and anxiety by increasing GABA, a neurotransmitter that calms the brain.

Research has also shown that fish oil (DHA and EPA) can control the bad bacteria in our gut, decreasing inflammation and improving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). That’s important not only because of gut discomfort, but they have also found that people suffering with irritable bowel have a lower verbal IQ. Those bad bacteria in IBS patients also inhibit the normal and healthy production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Surprisingly, 95% of the body’s serotonin is in the gut. In fact, research psychiatrists can diagnose major depression, pain syndromes, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome by testing for toxins produced by pathogenic bad bacteria in the gut.

The clear message here is that we must do everything we can to maintain our gut health in order to have healthy brain function. Things like antibiotics, gluten, grains, and even some of the medicines you are given by your trusted doctor can damage the gut wall and lead to brain degeneration. Caring for this delicate part of our immune system is vitally important in order to have a healthy brain. To accomplish this task, get the help of a practitioner who is knowledgeable in the techniques of improving gut health with appropriate lab testing, treatment and lifestyle changes that put you on the path of improved brain function.

Dr. Don Davis, D.C., DACNB is a BOARD CERTIFIED CHIROPRACTIC NEUROLOGIST in Walnut Creek. He has been serving individuals with chronic pain for 30 years. For information about how you can get a free consultation with Dr. Davis, call (925) 279-4324 (HEAL) or

Healing Chronic Pain and RSD/CRPS Naturally

Since its founding in Danville in 1999, Align Healing Center has treated the accelerating increase in chronic pain and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), now called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) in the community. RSD/CRPS is a chronic, painful, and progressive neurological condition that affects the skin, muscles, joints, and bones. The syndrome usually develops in an injured limb, such as a broken leg, or following surgery. However, many cases of RSD involve only a minor injury, such as a sprain. And in some cases, no precipitating event can be identified.

RSD/CRPS is characterized by various degrees of burning pain, swelling, and sensitivity to heat, cold, or touch. Pain may begin in one area or limb and then spread to other limbs. In some cases, symptoms of RSD/CRPS diminish for a period of time and then reappear with a new injury.

Causes and Risk Factors for RSD/CRPS
An exact understanding of RSD/CRPS is not complete. It appears to involve a complex interaction among the sensory, motor, and sympathetic nervous systems in conjunction with the immune system. Currently, Western Medicine is undecided on the causes of RSD/CRPS. It is believed that in most cases the sympathetic nervous system is the main contributor to the experienced pain. Another theory postulates that CRPS is caused by a triggering of the immune response, which leads to the characteristic inflammatory symptoms of redness, warmth, and swelling in the affected area.

Treatment Options for RSD Patients
Medical treatments for the management of RSD/CRPS include analgesics, anti-depressants, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nerve blocks, and multiple other drug therapies.
The Natural Approach for Chronic Pain and RSD/CRPS

Holistic, non-invasive treatments for RSD/CRPS offer many new possibilities for pain and symptom management. As with traditional treatments, holistic treatments may need to be supplemented for optimal results. Nevertheless, Natural Medicine (vitamins, herbs, natural compounds, etc.) has proven to be an effective and long-term solution to calming the sympathetic nervous system and reducing systemic inflammation.

At Align Healing Center we are currently seeing beneficial results in the treatment of chronic pain and RSD/CRPS. The combination of Laser Therapy with Natural Medicine is yielding promising results.

The Power of Laser Therapy
Laser therapy is the application of low levels of laser light to areas of the body that have been injured or damaged. In opposition to high-powered lasers used in health care that cut tissue, such as surgical or hair-removal lasers, therapy lasers produce beneficial chemical and biological interactions that can help relieve pain and repair injured/damaged tissue. Just as photosynthesis creates energy for plants, the absorption of the laser light by your cells causes increased production of cellular energy. In areas of injury or damage, this means there is more energy available to improve the rate and quality of healing.

Studies on tissue cultures have revealed a wide range of beneficial physiological effects, including increased levels of endorphins, reduced levels of inflammatory compounds, and an increased rate and quality of tissue healing. We often have patients notice improvement after the very first treatment session; whereas with chronic pain or RSD/CRPS it is realistic that it may take a few treatments. The effect of laser therapy is cumulative, meaning that each successive treatment builds on previous ones.

The results that we are experiencing with our patients are nothing short of remarkable. Class IV Laser Therapy has exceeded our expectations of the healing potential that it ignites in the body and it is our mission to share it with anyone who is seeking freedom from their pain.

Dr. Niele Maimone, DC is the owner and founder of Align Healing Center in Danville, CA. She has been active in our natural health & wellness community since 1999. For more information or to set up a consult call 925.362.8283 or visit