I am a very curious person.

I invite you to benefit from my curiosity by reading this blog.

I am guided by the following statements in selecting what to share with you in this blog.

  • “We see nothing truly till we understand it.” – John Constable
  • “In the field of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur
  • “To understand anything you have to look at it from many vantage points, seeing all its contradictory points. – Samuel Johnson
  • “Only someone who is well prepared has the opportunity to improvise.” – Ingmar Bergman
  • “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart….Who looks inside awakens.” – Carl Jung

In  “The Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange Blog”, I report on movies, ideas, information, places  and experiences I think are worth learning about.

QUESTION: What are the character traits of the people for whom this blog is published?

This blog is published for people, like myself, who want to be more self-aware, be more knowledgeable, and to exchange ideas and information.

Such people are always curious, always learning something new, are comfortable with becoming a new person, are open to learning and are constantly seeking to learn more; they want new things to think about and to be more informed.

Photo on 8-26-15 at 4.06 AM

Above and below are photographs of me taken at 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 26, 2015 in my living room, while it was completely dark outside.

Photo on 8-26-15 at 4.08 AM

I love movies.

On the wall behind me in my living room are posters for  three movies: KILL BILL, PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, SPIDER MAN.

I like to think about and discover the “reason” behind real issues.

I want to understand human behavior.

I want to have a constant pulse on what is going on.

I am whole heartedly focused on personal growth.

However, I have no clue why the title “KILL BILL” is reversed in the photo shown below.

Photo on 8-26-15 at 4.08 AM


Below is a photograph of a pair of socks on a shelf in one of the nine bookcases in my home library.

The handwritten note on the sock states: Life is too short to live a life with only black and white socks.


I think “thinking” is part of the reality people have to think about.

I want to know if other people think about things the same way I do and if they don’t why they don’t.

I realize it is one thing to discover the facts. It is another thing to understand the facts.

I publish this blog to raise my own consciousness, to raise other people’s consciousness and to share information worth sharing.

Wherever you are in the world, you are invited to correspond directly with me by email.

My email address is gsmolker@aol.com.

  • [A] If you are interested in better understanding the course and paths of social, political and economic events that are shaping the business, political, legal and social environment this blog is published for you.

  • [B] If you want to make an impact on the world by sharing your experiences, by being inspirational and by advancing civilization this blog is published for you.

  • [C] If you want to know how other people think and why other people think the way they do this blog is published for you.

  • [D] If you desire to be exposed to other people’s thinking, ideas, perspectives, opinions, and cultures and desire to be exposed to other people’s real life experiences this blog is published for you.

  1. I approach writing this blog as if you and I were sitting at a table in a cafe engaged in an intense interesting conversation with each other.
  2. I want to be engaged in an intense conversation with people (a) who are animated with a sense of fun and the anticipation of discovery, (b) who have an insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning, and (c) who are committed to test knowledge through experience and are willing to learn from mistakes.
  3. I want to be engaged in intense conversation with people who have a recognition of and appreciation for the interconnection of all things and phenomena.

Past Posts on This Blog

  1. Previous posts contain reviews and comments on popular movies such as Django Unchained, Lincoln, 12 Years A Slave, The Butler, Mandela – Long Walk to Freedom, Belle, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Midnight’s Children, This Is My Land, Hannah Arendt, Can A Song Save Your Life?, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, The Book Thief, Dallas Buyers Club, American Hustle, Black and White, A Little Chaos, The Theory of Everything, Ruth & Alex, The Great Beauty, Top Five, Pawn Sacrifice, Interstellar, The Judge, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, The Imitation Game, Woman in Gold, Trainwreck.

  2. Previous posts discuss world famous chefs and businessmen such as Grant Achatz and Isadore Sharp and how they got to be the “best” at what they do.

  3. Previous posts (a) discuss how to judge the quality and distinction of a film, (b) report on the early work and debuting works by gifted new film directors and (c) discuss and highlight the work of established master film makers.

  4. Previous posts also discuss quintessential experiences I have had in New York City, in New Orleans, in Chicago, in Toronto, in Paris, in Prague, in London, Moscow, Vienna, Rome, Cairo, Alexandria, Athens, and in Istanbul.

  5. Previous posts discuss what I have learned through my own personal experience with respect to down to earth challenges such as (a) losing weight, (b) coping with the glut of available information regarding health and wellness, (c) dealing with the practices of the medical profession, (d) changing diet and lifestyle instead of taking pills to prevent heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and cognitive impairment, (e) getting along with other people, (f) understanding how other people think, (g) understanding what makes other people tick, and (h) learning through interacting with other people.

  6. I share the best ideas I come across.

My Aspiration

  1. I seek to be part of the process by which great books, great films, and great ideas expose people to valuable new ideas and ways of thinking.

My Philosophy:

People can share and also augment each other’s understanding.

There is a communication in which intellectual compatibility turns into emotional fusion.

Exceptional things come when passion comes first.

Life should be led with fun, passion, joy and a sense of style.

Ideas are the ultimate creator of wealth.

To be an exceptional leader you need to be an exceptional sharer of information.

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.

Happiness happens when your life is filled with projects that are meaningful to you, manageable, socially connected and involve a higher ratio of positive to negative emotions.

Everyone’s behavior is always based on some point of view.

We become what we love.




According to WordPress, in 2014 people in 108 different countries viewed the Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange Blog.


New postings on this blog are posted irregularly.

Once a post is posted it is often revised.

It might take a long time (i.e. more than one month) for any post to become completely finished.

I post each post when I believe I have said enough about what I have written about but as time passes I often think of more I want to say and consequently I often update and/or revise each of my posts as time goes by.

Because I am not the kind of man who can stand still and be satisfied, and because I feel the need to keep building and improving, I often update and or revise each one of my posts after they have been originally posted on my blog.

I appreciate the following statement attributed to wine maker Ernest Gallo, “My first grade teacher told me I was the dumbest student she ever had.  She did me a favor.  If she had told me I was very smart, I wouldn’t have tried to improve.”

I also appreciate the following statement attributed to singer Lady Gaga, “When you make music or write or create, it’s really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condomless sex with whatever idea it is you’re writing about at the time.”

I also appreciate the following statement attributed to Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, “Managing by trying to be liked is the path to ruin.”

To See A List of Prior Postings click on “Archives” and then click on the posting(s) you wish to read.

I need to update the archives in that there are now more than 70 posts on my blog.

Previous posts on my blog discuss and comment on ideas presented in non-fiction books such as Seth Godin’s “All Marketeers Are Liars”; Stan Slap’s “Bury My Heart in Conference Room B”; Peter Thiel’s “Zero to One”; Sheena Iyengar’s “The Art of Choosing”; Michael J. Gelb’s “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci; Brian R. Little’s “Me, Myself, and Us”; Fred Davis’ “Fashion, Culture and Identity”; Debra N. Mancoff’s “Fashion Muse – The Inspiration Behind Iconic Design”, Harold Evans’ “They Made America”; General Stanley McChrystal’s “My Share of the Task, A Memoir”;  Jose Ortega y Gasset’s “The Dehumanization of Art”;  Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers – The Story of Success”; Ren Koolhaas’ “Delirious New York”; Donald L. Miller’s “Supreme City”; Jean Claude Gautrand’s “Paris ~ Portrait of a City”; David McCullough’s “The Greater Journey – Americans in Paris”, Joan DeJean’s “The Essence of Style – How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafes, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour”; Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret and Sophie Mas’ “How to be Parisian Wherever You are; Paul Veyne’s “Bread and Circuses – Historical Sociology and Political Pluralism”, Fernand Braudel’s “Afterthoughs on Material Civilization and Capitalism”, Ping Fu’s “Bend, Not Break”, Tom Rath’s “Eat Move Sleep”, William Davis’ “Wheat Belly”, John McDougall’s “The Starch Solution”, David Perlmutter’s “Grain Brain”, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr.’s “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” Dean Ornish’s “the Spectrum”, Christopher McDougall’s “Born to Run,”John J. Ratye’s “Spark”, Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”, Pierre Bourdieu’s “Distinction – A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste”, Jacques Barzun’s “The Culture We Deserve”, Elias Canetti’s “Crowds and Power”, Carroll Quigley’s “The Evolution of Civilizations”, Jon Meacham’s “American Lion”, Scott Anderson’s “Lawrence in Arabia”, Simon Sebag Montefiore’s “Jerusalem”, Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture”; Kelly Williams Brown’s “Adulting – How To Become A Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps”; Amelia Morris’ “Bon Appetempt – A Coming of Age Story (with Recipes!); Richard Louv’s “Last Child in the Woods”‘ Anne Sinclair’s “My Grandfather’s Gallery”; Dianna Vreeland’s “The Eye Has to Travel”; Debra N. Mancoff’s “Fashion Muse” and Eric Boman’s “Rare Bird of Fashion – The Irreverent Iris Apfel”; Mathew Pearl’s “The Last Bookaneer”; David Brooks’ “The Road to Character”; Annette Simmons’ “Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins”; Stephen Apkon’s “The Age of Image”; Francesca Bonazzoli and Michele Robecchi’s “Mona Lisa to Marge” “The Book of Symbols” edited by Ami Ronnberg and Kathleen Martin, “Cool” by Steven Quartz and Anette Asp..

Happy reading and best wishes,

Gary S. Smolker, Publisher of the Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange Blog, http://www.garysmolker.wordpress.com

Copyright © 2014  and 2015 by Gary S. Smolker

  1. Good job Gary! I sent this to my daughter who is a Realtor in Ventura and to my architect friend here in Santa Barbara because I thought you covered the book “All Marketers Are Liars” extremely well and that they could get some great sales tips from your blog. I know I did!

    But, I don’t know how you find the time to do all the writing you do Gary. When do you eat, sleep or work?

    Thanks for your blog!

    Your pal,

  2. Hi Gary! I think this blog is refreshing all the way down to the jazzy uplifting music. Runway Magazine supports you and wish you the best of luck with it…:)

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  3. Hi Gary, You and Judi shared a table with us at a night club on Bourbon St. during your trip to NOLA. Then we ran into Judi in a cemetery and you on the street after you had bought your shirt to get into Commanders Palace. I’m from Boise ID and we talked about food here. You really should give it a try. I recommend Red Feather – it’s mostly local food and they even have a worm farm in the cellar where they recycle food and use the compost to grow more food. Both Melissa and I enjoyed talking with you and Judi. Hope you’re doing well. Fun travels….

    • Susan, Thank you for your comment. I think the reason New Orleans has so many great restaurants is because it has so many great restaurants. New Orleans is an example of the systemic effects of having productive creative people (such as chefs) and business enterprises (restaurants) in close proximity to one another. Great restaurants bring in tourists who want to eat at great restaurants which creates a bigger demand for great restaurants. The impact of productive peers is that everyone becomes more productive. Innovations spread from one person to another person across streets, and so on and so forth. It is a virtuous cycle. Judi and I enjoyed talking to you and Melissa and we are doing well. Gary

  4. Mike McGuinness

    Hi – might I suggest checking out the following books by Gary Taubes:
    1. “Good Calories, Bad Calories – Fats, Carbs and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health”
    2. “Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It”
    Since eliminating sugar insofar as possible (no milk – contains sucrose; no fruit – contains sugars) and limiting net carbs to 20/day, I essentially have eliminated my use of insulin (except when I “cheat” and eat Christmas cookies) and have not gained back the 40lbs I lost when changing my lifestyle two + years ago. Lipid profiles are fabulous and I mainly keep an eye on triglycerides (<50) at last check.
    Best to all…

    Mike McGuinness, CIH

    PS – I'm not sure that this is the proper place for this post relative to the diet thread Gary is reporting on…

  5. Hi Gary,
    Here’s a short version to a long answer about the state of farming in the USA. Some of what I’m saying here I will soon post on your Blog about the book report on The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
    The small one crop farmer isn’t making it, so one by one they are bought out by the corporations who take advantage of laws that were intended to help the small independent farmer. In previous centuries the farmer grew several crops at once while using agrarian principles and empirical knowledge that evolved over thousands of years, ie. letting the ground stay fallow every 7th year, so that the soil can be enriched by the absorption of the colloidal minerals that are transferred to the vegetables and fruits we eat. But when synthetic fertilizer was introduced in the 1920’s, farming dramatically changed. As Michael Pollan states in his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, “Growing corn, which from a biological perspective had always been a process of capturing sunlight to turn in into food, has in no small measure become a process of converting fossil fuels into food.” The inventor of synthetic fertilizer, Fritz Haber, was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 1920 for “improving the standards of agriculture and well being of mankind.” Synthetic fertilizer is made by combining nitrogen and hydrogen under intense heat and pressure in the presence of a catalyst. Huge amounts of electricity are needed and the hydrogen is supplied by oil, coal, or natural gas. As Pollan wrote “Liberated from the old biological constraints, the farm could now be managed on industrial principles, as a factory transforming inputs of raw material –chemical fertilizer–into outputs of corn.” Corn uses 50% of the synthetic fertilizer produced. The game of producing massive amounts of corn at the taxpayers expense was on. The underpinnings of BIG CORPORATE agriculture is the bottom line, where profits often supersedes the health of the people it serves. As the public became more aware of the depleted nutrients that we received from the vegetables and fruits we eat, the nutritional supplement business started to flourish in the 1990’s.
    The next ugly shift in the food we eat came in 1994 with the emergence of the Genetically Modified Organism (GMO). The promise of higher yield and crops engineered to be resistant to herbicides was met with resistance in over 60 countries, including all of the European Union, Japan, and Australia. But not the US. I would imagine that Big Business had their say in this acceptance. It should be of no surprise to see that Monsanto is buying up many of those small farms going under – the very same farms that were forced to buy Monsanto’s seeds every year (GMO corn doesn’t provide seeds, unlike natural corn) which put the farmer further into debt. The farmers were doomed like landed fish, it was just a matter of time before their farming days were over, and with it another brain drain on the proper way to farm. The Monopoly food game is rigged by giants such as Dupont and Monsanto, with of course, a complicit government. It’s alarming that there’s little public uproar when former VP and attorney for Monsanto, Michael Taylor was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Foods, a newly created job in the FDA. When there’s a conflict of interest, the public is the guinea pig.
    The tentacles of corn fan out deep into the fabric of the food industry. This includes the numerous corn based products, corn sweeteners, corn oil, starch,etc, used in processed foods and drinks. Corn has become the staple for the fast food beef industry. Corn sweetener is one of the main components in soft drinks like Coca Cola. So it’s easy to see how many businesses benefit from a low corn price, especially when the Government underwrites it with taxpayer money that subsidizes the farmer for his bumper crop of corn.
    The side effects of jumping with both feet into the GMO pool are starting to be noticed in the increased rate of miscarriages and gastrointestinal diseases. Corn is our #1 vegetable, so it should be the 1st place to look at when there’s a dramatic rise in a health problem. Will Michael Taylor turn over every stone to expose what is necessary for the public to know.
    In India, over 250,000 farmers have committed suicide because of Monsanto’s costly seeds and pesticides, not to mention the meager results that failed to meet the promises of Monsanto.
    The shift that went against the grain of common sense has begun. Can we turn it around? Maybe we can start by changing our buying habits.
    Since we are being treated like cattle eating from the same trough, it’s time to lift our heads up and ask the grocer what foods are GMO produced and stay away from them. Why not even ask the grocer why they don’t have a section in the produce section marked GMO or non GMO? Maybe, they’ll start listening if enough people mention that they are concerned about the health issues that GMO’s may contribute too.
    Stop eating FAST FOOD. It’s crap and we know it. But now their meat is corn fed beef, not grass fed. The rumen (stomach) of cattle is designed to process grass not corn, especially GMO corn.
    Keep you head up and make a difference.

  6. Stephen Bottfeld

    Hi Gary,

    Reading your blog reminded me that my own loss of 60 lbs over a 14 month period eliminated my sleep apnea, reduced my COPD to almost normallevels and led to the elimination of cancer in my kidney.

    People don’t seem to recognize the impact of excessive weight on diseases. They think diabetes and maybe heart problems. They don’t realize the impact excess weight has on ALL body functions and elements … and that includes brain activity as well!

    Keep on writing!!


    • And note all the over weight people consume lots of “diet” foods and drinks. these contain diuretics. diuretics effect the thyroid and cause weight gain because the thyroid controls metabolism.

      Effects of diuretics on thyroid function of guinea pigs.
      Chow SY, Tao PL.
      Uptake of radioiodide by the isolated thyroid and serum concentrations of thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3) were determined in guinea pigs pretreated with ethacrynic acid (20 mg/kg), furosemide (40 mg/kg) or hydrochlorothiazide (40 mg/kg). It was found that both ethacrynic acid and furosemide suppressed the 131I uptake by the isolated thyroid tissues. In addition, thyroid weight and serum T3 concentration were lower in ethacrynic acid-treated animals. It seems that some diuretics, particularly ethacrynic acid, depressed the function of thyroidal follicular cells.

      Stop eating diet foods and drinks
      Drink more water and you will consume less real food.
      Hunger is really thirst. Drink water when you think you are hungry.

      • According to Dr. Mark Hyman:

        Diet drinks are not good substitutes for sugar-sweetened drinks. They increase cravings, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes and they are addictive.

        The direct and indirect costs of diabetes in America in 2007 amounted to $174 billion. The cost of obesity is also significant, and amounts to $113 billion every year. From 2000 to 2010, these two conditions have already cost us a total of $3 trillion.

        By 2020, there will be fewer than 20 million deaths worldwide from infectious disease, but more than 50 million deaths chronic preventable lifestyle diseases – heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. These are all fueled by the same preventable risk factors: high blood pressure, overweight, physical inactivity, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and smoking.

        But strikingly, 95 percent of private and public efforts and finding focus almost exclusively on combating communicable or infectious disease.

    • Steve,

      I read in “The Daniel Plan” (a book published in 2014, written by Rick Warren, D. Min., Daniel Amen, M.D. and Mark Hyman, M.D.):

      One in two Americans suffer from some chronic disease. Heart disease; diabetes; cancer; dementia; autoimmune diseases; allergies, acid reflux; irritable bowels; neurological problems; depression; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; thyroid, hormonal, and menstrual problems; skin problems including eczema, psoriasis, acne, and more. We spend almost $3 trillion a year on our health care system, and almost 80 percent of that is for chronic lifestyle preventable and reversible disease.

      I would like people to think through their myriad lifestyle choices. Your posted comment will help them do that.

      Please ask any cartoonist to draw a cartoon for me to use, FREE OF CHARGE, in which a physician says “Only you can end illness.”

      Check out my post entitled “Footnote No. 2 in A Mentor’s Journal – High Powered Time Starved Woman Working While She Hurriedly East Breakfast” – about a heart attack about to happen.

      Best regards,


  7. I am a 73 year old female who exercises as much as my body allows. I have moderate heart disease with a 320 Calcium Scoring. and am currently choosing the No wheat, no sugar and no meat and and avoiding oils. I appreciate your sharing such a wealth of information and your many insights about all the conflicts of the professionals regarding heart disease. Your decision to go on the Prevent and Reverse program was encouraging to me as I just have a hard time eating so much saturated fat. I am wondering if you supplement with Omega 3 and eat walnuts and almonds. How strict of a program should one have who has a score of 311. Can you reverse the plaque with adding almond milk, and occasionally eating fish, or do you have to be very strict to reverse the plaque build up.

    Also, I am interested if you have any comments, books to share about bio-identical hormones and if they would help to lower the plaque in the arteries. It seems the right doses of the bio=identical hormones help a host of problems, (bones, heart, brain, sleep) Looking forward to your reply.

    • Thank you for your note.

      I will try to prepare a worthy answer.

      I am in no position to give you medical advice.

      I can’t tell you what to do or what not to do.

      However, I will start or keep the ball rolling with the following six comments:

      1] My first off-hand comment is, I question the use of the word “milk” in the expression “almond milk.”

      2] My second off-hand comment is that in my own life for my own reasons, I don’t eat “nuts” or “seeds” as a result of what John A. McDougall, MD says about “nuts” and “seeds” in his book “The Starch Solution.”

      3] My third off-hand comment is that each individual is unique and lives in unique circumstances and conditions – what works for one individual might not work for another individual because of the uniquesness of each individual and/or because of the uniqueness of each individual’s circumstances and condition.

      4] Each thing an individual does can have a mutlitude of effects, primary effects, dominant effects and secondary effects.

      5] It is important to have a clear goal For example my primary goal is to maintain my mental acuity. I would rather die early and be as sharp as a tack when I die then to live a long life but not be able to think straight, not be able to know who I am, not be able to know who my loved ones are, and not to be able to interact with people in a thoughful and meaningful way.

      6] I would like to be given enough meaningful information from my doctors to be able to make an informed intelligent decision. For example: If I was told to take a “pill” in order to prolong my life by an MD, I would like that MD to tell me how much longer I will be expected to live if I take that pill than if I don’t take that pill. I would also like to be told what kind of effect might that pill might have on my mental acuity and on my sex life. Additionally, I would like to be given a copy of the full report of scientific data upon which my MD’s recommendation to take a given pill is being given.

  8. With holidays approaching people are searching for healthy, unique holiday gifts. Often sending candy. This year I am proud to introduce you to Mrs. Moskowitz’s Munchies, an award winning healthy nut and dried fruit snack in a variety of packaging choices.Munchies will show your friends a thoughtful statement of individuality and good taste.
    Please look at http://www.mrsmoskowitzsmunchies.com and email Susan with any questions or special requests. Please allow time for holiday shipping.

  9. I keep reading that statins “may” have the benificial effect of stablizing plaque.

    Do you know of a study that proves that statins stabilize plaque.?

    Have a great day.

  10. I took my daughter Brandy to New Zealand for highly personal reasons not important in their detail but important in their reasoning. I sought fantasy and joy in the lovely lore of the Lord of the Rings and for the rugged and verdant beauty of this island country. I wanted luxury and whimsy and found it among the lakes, sheep, cows, green grass and primordial forests. Also among the massive mountains and glaciers. I wanted a gentle civilization of quaint English speaking folk and found all of this and more. It was perfect!

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