“Living Life Fully” by Gary S. Smolker

5:10 a.m. (PST), January 24, 2015

A Request to the Readers of this Post

Check out the latest posts on my blog at http://www.garysmolker.wordpress.com, leave comments and see note below (which is a copy of actual correspondence between myself and my friend Patrick Gisler) about living life fully, taking risks and recognizing danger.

I also invite your comments on the discussion below of living the sybaritic way of life, the best chocolate in the world, and what you would chose or do or recommend other people do if given a choice between eating chocolate or having sex.



Gary S. Smolker, Publisher
Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange Blog

Read On:


Sent: Sun, Jan 24, 2016 4:52 am
Subject: # 2 Re: Snakes



Thanks for the note (copy below).


You sending me the note below is another example of how one of my big themes/a theory/a proposition that physical distance is not emotional distance plays out.

When I started to write this note/response to your note below it was 4:00 a.m.

I had been up since 3:00 a.m. – trying to go back to sleep.

I had so many memories of the “lovers” in my life — women who had broken my heart — and thoughts about those memories that I was thinking about [probably provoked by watching “The Big Short” last night and watching “Brooklyn” a few nights before with Bob Balocca and afterwards discussing those movies with Bob] that I wanted to write about, that I couldn’t go back to sleep.

Although you and I are physically hundreds of miles apart, emotionally/mentally we are at the same place.

By the way, I told Bob about the picture of you holding a “Rattle Snake.”

Bob told me you probably couldn’t hit a rattlesnake with a shovel hard enough to only stun it; more likely if you hit a rattlesnake on the head with a shovel you would kill it.  Bob believes more likely than not you killed the rattlesnake you thought you had stunned.

I got out of bed at 4:00 a.m. to write about (1) why the movie “Brooklyn” touched me, (2) why the movie “The Big Short” touched me, and (3) to write about my thoughts about the on-going current protests about lack of black people being nominated for Academy Awards  and (4) my thoughts about the Board of Directors reaction to that – calling for steps to be taken to increase the “diversity” of its membership.

Thanks for sending me the note below.

It is now 4:45 a.m.

Writing this note to you has probably prepared me and “made” me ready to try to go back to sleep, again.

By the way, last night Bob and I discussed — maybe argued about — why the heroine in “Brooklyn” put the letters she received from her husband in a drawer instead of reading and responding to them.

At the time, the heroine in “Brooklyn” was in Ireland with the heroine’s grieving mother — the heroine’s mother was now all alone.

Her mother was all alone because the mother’s eldest daughter had died while her younger daughter (the heroine in the movie) was living in America, in Brooklyn.

The heroine was not able to get back to Ireland in time to attend the funeral, because the only way to get to Ireland from America was by boat.

The heroine had married her boyfriend the day she left him to go “home” to Ireland to be with her mother.

The boyfriend had asked her to marry him the night before because he knew she was going to Ireland and [my speculation] he wanted to know she would come back to him.

The heroine’s mother had no idea that her daughter (the heroine) was married when the heroine arrived in Ireland.

For whatever reason the heroine did not tell her mother that she was now married when she arrived back “home” in Ireland.

One thing after another happens next.

Such is life, the sweetness of life, the temptation to break commitments and the nature of commitments one makes in life.

It doesn’t amaze me that you and I have been friends for more than 50 years or surprise me that you would hold a “stunned” alive rattlesnake in your hand or that you would tell me there is a thin line between bravery and stupidity and that you try to not put all ten toes over that line.

Our lives are full because we live them fully.

Your “brilliance”, “eloquence”, and love of living life fully is probably what has kept the fire of our friendship burning bright all these years.

Good morning, and/or good night — I have no idea of the difference between the two.

“Living Life Fully” is something the “faint of heart” more likely than not would not understand.

It is now 4:58 a.m. (PST).

By the way, the other day I “discovered” that two of the most important women in my life prefer salty foods over sweets.

—–Original Message—–
From: Patrick Gisler
To: Gary Smolker <gsmolker@aol.com>
Sent: Sat, Jan 23, 2016 10:39 pm
Subject: Re: Snakes

Gary, the snake I was holding is only a four foot long rattlesnake.  I let the 6 foot one live as it was not by the house.  I did not try to pick it up.  A six foot snake can strike about four feet, which makes it very dangerous to approach, dead or alive.  Also, the larger the snake, the larger the poison glands and the longer the fangs.  While any rattlesnake bite is a problem, the more poison injected and the deeper the injection, the greater the tissue damage and risk of permanent injury and death.  The larger snakes are too dangerous to get around.
On Friday, January 15, 2016 7:20 AM, Gary Smolker <gsmolker@aol.com> wrote:


Thanks for the lovely photograph of Reece holding your dog.

Please send me photo of you holding the six foot rattle snake in your hand [after you knocked it out with your shovel], showing the full length of the approximately six foot snake hanging down from your hand.



—–Original Message—–
From: Patrick
To: Gary Smolker <GSmolker@aol.com>
Sent: Thu, Jan 14, 2016 9:21 pm
Subject: Snakes

If this dog was in your back yard, you would kill all the rattlesnakes that came in, too!
Sent from my iPhone

You Can’t Tell A Book by Its Cover

By the way, I love the cheerfulness of the philosophy expressed in the Italian saying si non e vero, e ben trovato (“even if it’s not true, it’s a good one”).

I believe life is about being cheerful and conveying likability.

Below is a photograph of my good friend Jason Fane taken on December 31, 2015 at a New Year’s Party at Jason’s apartment on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

This is a photo of Jason and Les Steiner at that New Year’s Party.


Jason and Patrick are both brilliant and eloquent.

They both love life and live life fully.

They both enjoy critical thinking.

Critical thinking is an effort and is challenging.

Neither Patrick nor Jason is lazy.

They are both critical thinkers.

They both like to think.

They are both big time risk takers.

Jason has been my good friend for over 45 years.

Jason and I met in an elevator in Ithaca, New York in 1967.

At the time, we were both graduate students at Cornell University.

Jason had a car.  I didn’t.

By the time we got out of the elevator Jason had given me the keys to his Mercedes Benz and told me to use it.

By the way, I stayed in the Chaz Yorkville while I attended the 40th Annual Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto in September, 2015.

Below is a picture taken of me one year before, in September, 2014, before I had shaved off my beard and mustache.


The Chaz Yorkville

The Chaz Yorkville is a one of a kind 53 story residential building located at 45 Charles Street, in Toronto, Canada, developed by my friend Jason Fane, as sole owner and developer.

Below is a picture I took from the Sports Club on the 32nd floor of the Chaz Yorkville while I was attending the 40th Annual Toronto International Film Festival.


Compare the above photograph of my good friend Jason Fane, taken at a New Year’s Eve Party in his apartment on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on December 31, 2015 to the recent photograph below of my good friend Patrick Gisler and to the picture below of me taken in September, 2014 and to the pictures below taken of me while I was cooking dinner on New Year’s Eve on December 31, 2015.







Appearances can be deceiving.

Jason, Patrick and I “look” very different from one another, and I look different in a t-shirt in September 2014 at my local Starbucks than I look while in a kitchen cooking dinner on New Year’s Eve December 31, 2015,  but each one of us has much in common with each other and I was the “same” person in September 2014 as I was on December 31, 2015 which each of the above pictures of me were taken.

You can’t tell a book by its cover.

By the way, I don’t believe in complaining about anything.

“The Big Short”

Patrick and Jason remind me of that scene in the “The Big Short” where the Rabbi is telling Mark Baum’s mother that the Rabbi is concerned about Mark.

The Rabbi: “I’m concerned about Mark.”

Mother: “Isn’t Mark studying hard and getting good grades?”

Rabbi: “Yes.  That is not what I am concerned about?”

Mother: “What are you concerned about?”

Rabbi:  “I am concerned about why Mark is studying so hard.”

Mother: “Why are you concerned about why Mark is studying so hard?”

Rabbi: “Mark is studying so hard because Mark is trying to find inconsistencies in the words of G-d. 

“Mark is studying so hard because he is trying to find inconsistencies in the Talmud and the Torah; he is trying to find inconsistencies in the Bible.”

Like the portrayal of “Mark Baum” in “The Big Short”, Jason and Patrick question everything.

If You Are Given A Choice Between Chocolate and Sex Which Should You Choose?

Definition of Sybaritic

Sybaritic – adj. pertaining to or characterized by loving luxury or sensuous pleasure.

Definition of Sybarite

Sybarite – n. a person devoted to luxury and pleasure.

Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate

It is my understanding that Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate, grown on the Island of Hawaii, is considered the finest chocolate in the world by a coterie of chocolate connoisseurs.

The sublime substance (chocolate) produced from the criollo cacao beans harvested in Kona (on the dry western part of the Island) has a fruity taste quality, while the chocolate produced from beans harvested from Keaau (near Hilo, on the rain-soaked east side of the Island) have an earthy flavor.

The final product consists of round, flat “pistoles,” each the size of an American quarter, which are sold to the pastry chefs of the finest restaurants of the United States.

It has been reported that by 1994 Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate was selling at a price that was nearly two dollars per pound higher than Valrhona chocolate.

At one time the French firm Valrhona, founded in 1925, with headquarters in Tain-l’Hermitage, about one hour south of the culinary capital of Lyon, had working for it a full-time jury of ten who did nothing but sit and eat chocolate all day, testing new products.

At one time, Valrhona produced chocolate only for professionals, who melted it down, molded it, and packaged the chocolates as their own.

Those Dietary Villains Responsible for Chocolate’s Undeserved Reputation As A Fattening, Tooth-Rotting, Addictive Indulgence

In a 1991 interview, Chantal Coady (the leader of England’s “The Chocolate Society”) stated that “chocoholics” are not addicted to chocolate they are addicted to sugar and thus suffer an eating disorder.

According to Ms. Coady, the only necessary ingredients for good chocolate are pure, unadulterated “cocoa solids” (the higher the proportion the better), blended with a little cacao butter and a small amount of sugar.

According to Ms. Coady, the principal ingredients of commercial chocolate are sugar, solid vegetable fat, and powdered milk.

According to Valrhona’s marketing director, Alphonse Daudet one can forget any chocolate that is less than 50 percent “cocoa solids” – to him that is not even chocolate.

In the United States most of the chocolate sold and eaten is less than 43 percent “cocoa solids” because sugar is a lot cheaper than cacao.

Valrhona’s “Guanaja 1502” has 70 percent “cocoa solids”, a world record during the 1980s – but only one tenth the calories of the typical mass-produced chocolate.

Switzerland: Land of Cows and Chocolate

The words “Swiss” and chocolate are inseparable.

Swiss citizens are the number one consumers of chocolate.

In 1990 – 1991, the annual per capita consumption of chocolate in Switzerland was 5.09 kg, or 11 lb, compared with the puny 2.24 kg, or 5 lb, eaten by the individual American.

The inventions of milk chocolate and of the milk chocolate candy bar were a collaboration between two men: Henri Nestle (1814-90), a Swiss chemist and Daniel Peter (1836-1919), a Swiss chocolate manufacturer.

As a result of their collaboration, in 1879, the first milk chocolate bar was produced.

Suffice it to say that was a lucrative collaboration, the Nestle company grew into what was/is perhaps the world’s largest food corporation.



Copyright © 2016 by Gary S. Smolker, All Rights Reserved

About Gary S. Smolker

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY: No enterprise can exist for itself alone. Every successful enterprise ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others. Otherwise, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist. Imagination, open mindedness and flexibility are the most important factors in unlocking potential. Those who embrace innovation, improvisation, continuous learning, time management, are action oriented, high energy, passionate, creative, purposeful and intense individuals are best equipped to succeed. We all have ideas and the ability to make progress by sharing information and our ideas and also by changing our ideas when appropriate. We should always be on the lookout for teaching and mentoring moments. We hold time like water in our hands; however tightly we clench our fingers, it drips away. But, if it falls on a seed, a seed may grow to become something that will have a positive social impact. PERSONAL INTERESTS: I have a passion to learn, to innovate, to lead, to mentor and to teach. I seek to write things worth reading and want to do things worth writing about. I enjoy (a) driving a fast car, (b) having intense conversations (c) teaching/mentoring, (d) reading and (e) being involved in productive activity. PERSONAL: I believe in cultivating and backing passionate people, innovation, and old fashioned good ideas. I love making human connections and spreading good ideas. I am strongly motivated to achieve in situations in which independence of thought and action are called for. PERSONAL GOALS: I want to live life vibrantly, to be as sharp as a tack until my last breath and to change the world by being me. My personal goal is to be fully engaged in life, to lead by example, to set high standards and to continue to amass firsthand experience and knowledge in all that interests me. PERSONALITY: I love fun and mischief. I relish absurdity. I have an irreverent, facetious and satiric disposition. I dread boredom. I have spent a lifetime reading. I have no bias against people who have lived successful and/or complicated lives. I write to release tension, to get things off my chest. SOCIAL MEDIA: I post articles on the "Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange" blog at www.garysmolker.wordpress.com, and "Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes" at www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com. I also post images and comments on Instagram @garyspassion. CONTACT INFORMATION: Gary Smolker, Smolker Law Firm, 16055 Ventura Blvd., Ste 525, Encino, California, 91436-2609, USA. Phone 1-818-788-7290, e-mail GSmolker@aol.com.

Posted on January 24, 2016, in Cheerful Temperament, cheerfulness, Chocoalte's Undeserved Reputation As A Fattening Tooth-Rotting Addictive Indulgence, Chocoholics, commitments, Life Goes On, living life fully, Living the Sybaritic Way of Life, Making Important Decisions, Taking Risks, The Difference between Bravery and Stupidity, The Difference Between the Faint of Heart and Brave Hearts, What You Gotta Do When Lighting Strikes You and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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