Pretzels, Beer & Happiness – by Gary Smolker

The Pretzel Come On

On July 6, 2018, I stumbled into Ashland & Hill on Main Street in Santa Monica, California by accident.

I was with my daughter Leah Smolker.

We had just finished eating dinner at a Korean-Japanese Ramen Fusion restaurant on Main Street.  Leah wanted to go to a nearby pub (the Ale House) to get a beer.

As we were waking down Main Street towards the Ale House we saw Ashland & Hill.  Leah said, “This looks like an interesting place. Let’s go in.”

We went in.

Leah ordered a beer.

The waitress bar-woman asked me if I would like a beer.

I said, “No, but I’ll have a pretzel.”

That was the beginning of me living in my own fantasy world.

I love pretzels.

I never saw a pretzel as big as the one she brought me. See photo below.

And, she (Lauren, the bar lady who brought me the pretzel) is/was cute, charming and hospitable.

Lauren emits good vibes.

Look at the t-shirt Lauren wears while serving customers of Ashland & Hill.

Look at her smile.

Look at her dimples.

Look at her facial expression.

Look at Lauren’s wide open attentive eyes.

See photos below.


Below is another picture of that pretzel and the glass of beer Lauren brought to Leah at the same time Lauren brought me the pretzel shown below

By the way, the beer Leah ordered was delicious.

I had a few sips of Leah’s beer, then ordered my own.


Copyright © 2018 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved

Follow me on Instagram @garyspassion



Music is about our values.

Music is about our values as a country.

Music is about our values as an individual.

Our music is about who we are.

Friday Night June 15, 2018 Performances of

Chicago and REO SPEED WAGON at the Forum in

Inglewood, California

Friday night, June 15, 2018, I went to a Rock & Roll concert at the Forum in Inglewood, California.


REO Speed Wagon and Chicago each put on outstanding shows/performances.

Spiritual Power of Music

Throughout the concert the psychological and spiritual power of music was palatable.

Each song REO Speed Wagon and Chicago performed was performed with the emotional oratorical power of an outstanding preacher determined to resist oppression preaching a sermon re-reinforcing the strength of the human spirit reflected in the slave spirituals:

“Go down, Moses

Go down to Egyptland

Go tell ol’ Pharaoh,

Let my people go!”

Psychic and Spiritual Sustenance

  • Music gives people psychic and spiritual sustenance.
  • Music always fuels a rising tide of conscience and consciousness – social consciousness and racial consciousness.
  • Music is a mighty force for social reform.
  • The Music Performed at this concert promoted a personal sense of dignity, self-respect and pride.

Grace and Speed

REO Speed Wagon played meat and potatoes Rock & Roll with a message: “Don’t give up. Press on!” with “Blue Lights” and a blue light show going on in the background.

While performing, the REO Speed Wagon bandleader commented, “Listening to Rock & Roll keeps you young.”

Colors convey feelings, values, relationships, contrasts, dramas and tensions.


Color is a means of expression.

Color effects us.

Goethe wrote that “… a blue surface seems to recede from us … it draws us after it.”

Blue is linked with eternity, the beyond, supernatural beauty, religious transcendence, the spiritual and mental as contrasted with the emotional and physical and with detachment from the earthly.

Blue draws us into a meditative mood.

Blue cools and calms. It is the color of moonlight.

The Mind and Mood Altering Show Put on by Chicago


After the psychedelic images above were put on the screen other images which told a story in pictures which reflected what was going on and the mood of a strong active majority of young people and the public at large that prevailed in the United States during the 1960s.

Everyone over the age of 70 ought to go to a modern day rock concert, like the one I went to on Friday June 15, 2018, and reflect how things have changed and haven’t changed in the United States since the 1960s.

Everyone under the age of 70 ought to ask people over the age of 70 who lived in the United States in the 1960s what life was like in the United States in the 1960s, what the mood of the people was with respect to (1) the Vietnam War, (2) the Civil Rights Movement, (3) with respect to segregation, race relations, and Freedom Riders, (4) with respect to Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., (4) with respect to President John F. Kennedy, (5) with respect to the Space Program, the Moon Program, (6) with respect to the assassination of President Kennedy, (7) with respect to the assassination of Dr. King, (8) with respect to the Civil Rights Act, (9) with respect to the Voting Rights Act, (10) with respect to social reform and (11) with respect to America’s dissenting tradition.

I am a visual person.

My personal reaction to seeing the light show put on by Chicago while the Chicago band members were playing their musical instruments was that I felt like was in a time machine that had transported me me back to the United States in the 1960s when the Beatles invaded America, when I watched the Beatles perform, when I listened to newly released Beatles’ songs, what was going on in my mind while I was watching the Beatles’ movie “The Yellow Submarine”, how I felt and where I was and what I was doing when I heard that JFK had been assassinated, vivid memories of watching Vietnam Protestors protest, the light show reminded me of what it felt like to be fully personally aware of racial segregation, my feeling as I was witnessing non-violent civil rights protests, how I felt upon hearing that Martin Luther King had been assassinated, what I felt while I watched President Nixon resign, etc. etc.

The 1960s in America was a time of civil unrest but also a time of feeling we (Americans) could fix anything.

For many Americans (myself included) the 1960s was a time of hope, a time of optimism, a time of being idealistic and a time of idealism, social activism was rampant, massive public protests were ongoing and there was rising prosperity.

The light show put on while the band Chicago played its musical tunes, brought back all those memories to me.

Below are some of the scenes flashed on the screen behind Chicago as Chicago performed at the concert.



Dr. King delivered the historic keynote address we know as his “I Have A Dream” speech before the nationalized televised March on Washington on August 28, 1963. He received the 1964 Nobel Prize for Peace. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.

The alternative to violence is nonviolent resistance, made famous by Mohandas K. Gandhi, who used it to free India from the domination of the British empire in 1948 and made more famous in the 1960s by Martin Luther King’s leadership in a concentrated drive against injustice.

Laura Bush Speaks Out: Separating Children from their

parents at the border ‘breaks my heart.’

Laura Bush is a former first lady of the United States.

The following is my quotes of something written by Laura Bush on Father’s Day, June 17, 2018, which I read today in the “Washington Post.”

I live in a border state.  I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel.  It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.

“Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso.  These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history…

“We Americans pride ourselves on being a moral nation, on being the nation that sends humanitarian relief to places devastated by natural disasters or famine or war.  We pride ourselves on believing that people should be seen for the content of their character, not the color of their skin.  We pride ourselves on acceptance.  If we are truly that country, then it is our obligation to reunite those detained children with their parents – and to stop separating parents and children in the first place.

“People on all sides agree that our immigration system isn’t working, but the injustice of zero tolerance is not the answer.  I moved away from Washington almost a decade ago, but I know there are good people at all levels of government who can do better to fix this….”

“In 2018, can we not as a nation find a kinder, more compassionate and more moral answer to this current crisis? I, for one, believe we can.”

Laura Bush, the performers and audience at the Friday, June 15, 2018 concert at the Forum, in Inglewood California, which I attended believe AMERICA CAN NOT ONLY BE GREAT BUT ALSO GOOD.


COPYRIGHT © 2018 by Gary Smolker


SUPERCHICKS, A Fashion Statement – by Gary Smolker

“At the end of the day, it’s all about what motivates you.” Payal Kadakia Pujji, Founder & Executive Chairman of ClassPass

Style Leaves A Lasting Impression

Throw out the old male view of women and of the place of women in society.

There is a new type of woman in America – the SUPERCHICK.

She has style, the courage to be a trail blazer, and passion.

AND, she has crashed through the GLASS CEILING.

We are currently living in a post-Flower-Power-Society that has begun to be led and run by SUPERCHICKS.

I attended an outstanding educational program Thursday night April 26, 2018 at the fabulous chic Shutters on the Beach Hotel in Santa Monica, California, put on by the High Class Brilliant Suave “Leader of the Pack” Mintz Levin law firm, in which the featured speaker was a SUPER CHICK, Payal Kadakia Pujji.

The title of the program was “Trailblazers -21st Century Women Leaders.”

The program consisted of questions asked to 35 year old SUPER CHICK super chic Payal Kadakia Pujji (Founder & Executive Chairman of ClassPass) by Arameh Zargham O’Boyle, a high powered brilliant chic pleasant to be with under 40 year old Litigation Partner in the Los Angeles offices of  the Mintz Levin law firm.

Payal is an amazingly successful 35 year old businesswoman.

  1. If I remember correctly: the start-up ClassPass was started/founded five years ago by Payal, when Payal quit her job as a consultant at Bain & Co. to start ClassPass from scratch.
  2. ClassPass began as an idea in Payal’s head and it is now “worth” over 100 million dollars.
  3. I think someone said ClassPass is now worth 500 million dollars.
  4. When Payal told the top executive at Bain & Co. she was quitting to start her own company, the Bain & Co. executive told her he wanted to be an investor in Payal’s company.
  5. Simultaneously, upon learning Payal was leaving Bain & Co. to start her own company, that top executive at Bain & Co. immediately wrote and then gave Payal his personal check in the amount of $10,000.00 as an investment in Payal’s new – but not yet started – company.


When Arameh introduced Payal, Arameh said,

“Payal is a woman who had the courage to take a chance on herself.”

During the three hour program that followed, Payal gave a series of very inspiring down to earth answers (containing lots of good sound advice) in response to questions Arameh asked Payal.

In the Question and Answer period which followed, in which members of the audience asked questions, Payal gave more good advice when answering the questions posed to her.


My best guess is that 160 people attended this program: 155 women and 5 men.

All the women attendees were stunning.


All the women, including Payal, were very colorfully and stylishly dressed.

I took a picture of the woman sitting behind me in the audience before the program began.

I also took a series of pictures of the woman sitting in front of me.

I am pretty sure the woman sitting behind me (whose photograph is displayed below) was Payal.

Here is a photo of what the woman sitting behind me (Payal) was wearing.

Isn’t that a fabulous scarf?

Here is a series of photographs of what the woman in the audience sitting in front of me was wearing.

Isn’t she wearing a fabulously chic well made highly styled fantastic dress?

Lessons Learned

Payal made the following “lessons learned in her life comments” while answering Arameh’s questions:

  • You must always ask yourself: What makes me happy?
  • Passions in our lives complete us.
  • Know what inspires you; turn that passion into your business.
  • Relentlessly pursue your passion.
  • Investors invest in a person, in people, not in a business model.
  • Work with people who know who you are.
  • Who you surround yourself with counts: you have to connect with people and they have to connect with you.
  • People are responsible.
  • Give people something they want to do and they will do a great job.
  • Worry about the things that matter.
  • Don’t allow yourself to get stuck; if you get stuck nothing happens.
  • You must figure things out and go forward.
  • You must make things work.
  • Do everything you do at 150%.
  • Don’t commit unless you can give 150%; don’t take on a job you can’t give 150% to.
  • Shut off the noise that is out there.
  • Find your purpose; that will help you shut off the noise.
  • Surrender to the divine; that will make you fearless.
  • Things are connected.
  • If you do things connected to your soul [i] you will be relentless, [ii] doors will open, [iii] things will align, [iv] you will feel the energy of the earth.
  • The feeling of connection is what it is all about.
  • Only do what you know you are meant to do in your life.
  • Make sure you have everything you want to accomplish on a calendar.
  • Be ruthless in how you prioritize but don’t let your calendar run your life.
  • You have to allow your life to happen.
  • Don’t get stuck doing things out of guilt or responsibility. 
  • You must have something you have to do in your life because nothing else matters.
  • Who you are comes from what you do in the world.
  • In order to build a standout company you must build a company you are willing to work in until you die.
  • The best way to learn is by doing.
  • Learn what you are good at by doing.
  • Do what you are good at.
  • You need to understand how the world works.
  • You must do what you are really passionate about.
  • IN LIFE AND IN BUSINESS: People want to connect with genuine people; people who are authentic.
  • Who you are comes out of authenticity.
  • The biggest thing in getting investors – in getting an investor – is who introduces you.
  • If the right person introduces you to an investor, the investor is already “in” before the investor meets you or hears your pitch.
  • Success is not an end point.
  • Success is about being your most authentic self.
  • Success is about giving yourself the freedom to live the life you want.
  • Whatever she does in her life she has to do really well.
  • If something she needs doesn’t exist, it is her modus operendi to make it exist, to create it.
  • She/PAYAL quit Bain & Co. because she/PAYAL decided to go back to the root of who she is; she was determined to live on her own terms, to build something she really cared about.

Aside: Payal reported it took three years of relentless effort after she started her company ClassPass to get things right, it took three years of experimentation to get her product right and to get things to work right.

Copyright © 2018 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved

Follow me on Instagram @garyspassion

Elegance – by Gary Smolker


Everything about yesterday was special to me.

Full Moon

I attended a Passover Seder last night at a friend’s house.

Passover is a celebration of liberation from slavery: the exodus of ancient Hebrews from the bondage of being slaves, having no freedom of any kind, and being forced to do back-braking work building pyramids.

The Passover dinner I attended went on past midnight.

There was a full moon.

As I walked down the driveway from my friend’s home to the street below where my car was parked, I saw the moon and took a picture of it.


Three Women Talking

The women attending the Seder were dressed very elegantly.

I took a series of photographs of three of the women I saw there talking to one another.

I love flowers.

Style, Fashion and Refinement

I love style, fashion, and refinement.

The clothes a woman wears tells me a lot about her and a lot about where I am at the moment I am looking at her.

Floral Arrangements

Floral arrangements make a subtle statement.


Flowers in a vase create a tone in a room.

I saw the yellow flowers in the vase shown below, as I entered my friend’s house.

I immediately knew I was about to attend a spectacularly dramatic Passover Seder.

I also immediately knew that I would not be leaving that Seder – Passover celebration – that liberation from slavery celebration – before midnight.

The Seder began at 6:30 p.m.

Dinner was served at 9:00 p.m.

An Elegant Facial Tissue Container

Everything in my friend’s home is elegant.

See photograph below I took of a Kleenex Box container I saw when I visited their guest bathroom.

The box/container pictured below contains Kleenex facial tissue.

Look at the floral arrangement next to that box of facial tissue.

Attention to fine detail is what elegance is all about.

By the way, my friend works incredibly long hours, pays attention to details, is a wonderful host and a gentleman and a scholar.

Happy Passover.

Gary Smolker


Copyright © 2018 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved

Follow me on Instagram @garyspassion




“Self-Control”, A Movie Review of RED SPARROW – by Gary Smolker

Gary Smolker, Cultural Anthropologist

I am a cultural anthropologist, a professional connoisseur of beauty, an adventurer, a movie reviewer, a book reviewer, a writer, a publisher and a trial attorney.

As a cultural anthropologist I study:

  1. The human experience.
  2. People’s behavior.
  3. The state of mind of people.
  4. People’s behavior.
  5. The actions people take, and
  6. How a person’s state of mind is reflected in their actions.

I can’t say enough good things about the recently released movie RED SPARROW, staring Jennifer Lawrence:

  1. I have never seen a more realistic portrayal of the truth and the reality of what life is all about in print or on the screen.
  2. I’ve never seen a more accurate portrayal of what it takes to be a leader, of what it takes to succeed.
  3. The movie RED SPARROW is an accurate portrayal of (a) how the human mind works, (b) of the impact of mindset on human thought and action, (c) of what it takes to be a leader, (d) of what it takes to be extraordinarily successful, (e) of what it takes to beat the odds,  (f) of self-awareness, (g) of patience, (h) of how to handle a situation with grace, (i) of strategic talent, and (i) of how nobody understand anyone else.


The key to leadership and success is not strength physical strength.

The first key to leadership and success is self-control, particularly the control of pride and anger.

If you don’t have enough self-respect to swallow your pride when necessary, if you can’t swallow your pride, you can’t lead.

Mendy’s Gym

I work out at Mendy’s Gym in Van Nuys, California.

Below are photos of some of the guys I work out with at Mendy’s Gym.



The key to Jennifer Lawrence (the RED SPARROW) getting ahead in the movie RED SPARROW was not in any way about having the kind of self-control, or about having the kind of strength and disciple – or having weight lifting technique, control of muscles, and body movement know-how displayed in the photos above.

Nor was the key to the RED SPARROW getting ahead and extraordinary success against all odds the kind of self-control displayed by the fighters (Sumo Wrestlers) in the photos below.

[ASIDE] In Sumo Wrestling the loser is the fighter who gets thrown or pushed out of the ring or touches the ring drawn on the mat on which the wrestlers fight, and/or whichever fighter is first thrown down and off his feet and touches the mat.





Whenever faced with great difficulty or personal pain, the RED SPARROW funneled her painful sorrow into a great fury.

She focused the strength given to her by her fury into developing a tactic, a vision, a goal and a plan for destroying her enemy.


The RED SPARROW didn’t talk too much.

She only said what needed to be said.

She demonstrated her thoughts through her actions, not through her words.


The RED SPARROW demonstrated her thoughts through thoughtful actions.

Vision, goals and a plan are important.

Throughout the movie the RED SPARROW had a vision, goals and a plan.

Without the vision of a goal, a person can not manage their own life much less the life of others.

Strategic Talent

The RED SPARROW outsmarted everyone.

The RED SPARROW had the ability to not only have good ideas but to implement them as well.


Copyright © 2018 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved

Follow me on Instagram @garyspassion

“Mindset”, A Movie Review of RED SPARROW – by Gary Smolker

Gary Smolker, Cultural Anthropologist

I am a cultural anthropologist, a professional connoisseur of beauty, and an adventurer.

As a cultural anthropologist, I study:

  1. The human experience.
  2. People’s behavior.
  3. The state of mind of people.
  4. The actions people take. and
  5. How a person’s state of mind is reflected in their actions.

I can’t say enough good things about the recently released movie RED SPARROW, staring Jennifer Lawrence:

  1. I have never seen a more realistic accurate portrayal of the truth and/or of the reality of what life is all about.
  2. The movie RED SPARROW is an accurate portrayal of (a) how the human mind works, (b) of the impact of mindset on human thought and action, and (c) of how nobody understands anyone else.


Everyone knows (or at least should know) that women are artists.

It is crazy and expensive what women do for beauty.

Women spend a fortune on how they look.

The photo below is a photograph of a brush belt full of brushes that was worn by a lady standing in line next to me to buy a cup of coffee at my favorite local Starbucks on Van Nuys Blvd., in Sherman Oaks, California on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2018.

The lady in this photo told me she is a make-up artist.

She told me that she uses all the brushes shown in that belt to make women look beautiful.

Don’t be mislead by knowing that all women are artists.

The fact that women are artists does not mean that women are stupid, nor does the fact that women are artists mean women are not smarter then men.

The Strong Fundamental Desire to Be Right

There is a strong fundamental desire to be right, to be right about anything, to be right about everything.

The story told in the RED SPARROW brilliantly portrays how this fundamental desire leads people astray.


Copyright © 2018 by GARY SMOLKER, All Rights Reserved

Follow me on Instagram @garyspassion

Creating Awesomeness by Gary Smolker


Gary Smolker, cultural anthropologist



I’ve met many interesting people in my life and reflected on what makes them awesome.

What they all have in common is they are vibrant and magnificent human beings.



Once upon a Christmas time in 1982, while the Sultan of Bruni was having his to-be-built home in Beverly Hills, California designed by Robert Earl, AIA, Jason Fane, a friend of mine who has inspired awe in me for over 40 years, came from the East Coast to visit me and to see my office in Beverly Hills.

I called Robert Earl, AIA, the architect who was designing the Sultan’s home, to request Bob to come to his office to show and tell us his preliminary design plans for the Sultan’s home.

Bob opened his office for Jason and me, which was closed for the Christmas season, and walked us through his architectural design work in progress.


Jason is a man who has created awesomeness his entire life.

For example:

  1. When I was at Jason’s wedding reception one of Jason’s grammar school chums reported to the other assembled guests – when everyone was taking turns discussing Jason – that when Jason was in grammar school, Jason created and wrote up a schedule to improve the Manhattan Subway System which was published in the “Daily News.”
  2. The first time I met Jason (which was in an elevator in the apartment building which we lived in) Jason gave me the keys to his car. At the time we were both graduate students in our twenties attending Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York.
  3. Unlike me, at the time, Jason was doing research to determine which city in the world would be the best city for Jason to conduct business.
  4. At the time Jason had determined that Jason would be in the dynamic property management business and was figuring out which city in the world would offer the most opportunity to someone like Jason who wanted to be in that business.
  5. Jason has always been keen on using his intelligence to improve the functionality, usefulness and utility of real estate.

Jason has achieved that goal time after time during all the time I’ve known Jason, which has been more than forty years.

Below is a picture of a 46 story residential building development project Jason is now seeking permission to build in Providence, Rhode Island.

The photo below is from a recent article I read in “Architecture Here and There.”

A Planning Commission hearing is scheduled to take place on April 26, 2018.

If Jason’s development is approved it will be the largest building in Providence, Rhode Island.

Jason’s original plan was to build three towers, at a cost of one billion dollars on a piece of property owned by the government.

A governmental commission recently approved the sale of that property to the Fane Organization (Jason’s company) on which it is now proposed that a forty-six story tower will be built instead, if approved by City officials.

As presently conceived the 46 story tower will be quarter of a billion dollar real estate development.

Jason needs to obtain more governmental approvals before Jason will be allowed to put a shovel in the ground.

The next hearing in the development approval Jason’s project will go through will be before the City Planning.

That hearing is scheduled to be held on April 26, 2018.

In the same article I read in “Architecture Here and There”, mention is made of Jason building two residential towers on that property.

Below is a photo of those two residential towers taken from the same article in “Architecture Here and There.”

Jason’s proposed 46 story Tower in Providence, Rhode Island is of public significance; it was discussed on NBC 10 News, on March 29, 2018.

Below is a snap shot I took at the beginning of that news report.

I know from personal experience that Jason is immensely conscientious, extremely thoughtful, and tenacious.

Jason lives and breathes his work and is a virtuous and public spirited person.


Paul “FIG” Fegen

Below is a current photo of my good friend Paul FIG Fegen.

Paul is hard core creative.

When I first met Paul – more than 40 years ago – Paul had already conceived and developed the FEGEN SUITE;  Paul had turned the FEGEN SUITE concept into the largest individual rental space development and leasing business in the United States.

Paul was the largest sub-lessor of individual office spaces in the world with over 7.5 million square feet of office space.

Paul revolutionized the office development and office rental industry when he had 150 full-floor offices and 600 full time employees.

Paul  had a gigantic law practice at the time and was a fun person to know. He liked to entertain people who came to his office by doing magic tricks for them in his office, also he would stand on his hands when you went up and down the elevator with him and when you were in his office he would entertain you by doing acrobatic tricks.

At the same time, Paul was locally famous dating girls and throwing parties.  The Los Angeles Times did a front page article on him titled “The FIG Life – One Party After Another.”

Paul – through his own effort and creativity –  had become one of the greatest showmen in the world.

When I met him, the size of Paul’s corner office in the Penthouse suite – at 9454 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, California, if I remember correctly, was  60 by 40 feet.

Over the years since first meeting I became very fond of Paul for many reasons.

FIRST, When I was a young lawyer,

  1. Paul was one of my first clients.
  2. Paul hired me to make court appearances for him and to try some of his cases for him.

I remember trying a car accident case for Paul more than 40 years ago.

  1. The car accident occurred in Beverly Hills.
  2. Two women backed out of their driveways on opposite sides of the street and crashed into each other, rear ended each other.

The magicality and magicalness of Paul have never changed over the years I have known Paul.

Everything about Paul has always been magical:

  1. Everything  Paul did/does was/is magical.
  2. The way Paul did/does everything was/is magical.

That is still the case.

When Paul found out that I was writing a brief to be submitted to the Court of Appeal of the State of California last month, Paul immediately jumped in –

  1. Paul read my brief.
  2. Then coached me on how edit and improve my appellate brief.
  3. I made the changes Paul suggested.
  4.  As a result of listening to Paul my brief now has a magical quality.

Today, Paul is having fun applying his many talents to being the best independent free-lance card trick professional magician in the world.

Christina Molcillo


Christina Molcillo is a costume designer, set designer, party thrower, and has her own clothing line.

The name of Christina’s clothing company is Black Lotus Clothing.

Above are photographs of two of Christina’s latest creations.

The model in Christina’s hand made Mata Hari Costume is Malia Bisson.

Look at the handmade black hat the lady in the second photograph is wearing.

The black dress and hat she is wearing were designed and made by Christina.

I encountered Christina’s work product at a Gallery Opening,

Present in the gallery were sets with live models which, in combination, represented paintings that had been painted by the artist whose paintings were being showcased by the gallery.

Christina created

  1. The sets in which the models posed.
  2. The clothing worn by models, and
  3. Christina chose the models in each of the sets. – These models are very poised. Each of these models spoke to visitors who came up to speak to them.

Below are photographs I took while I was at the opening.

All the clothes and clothing in these photographs and all the sets in these photographs were created by Christina.


Leah Graham Smolker

Leah Graham Smolker is the epitome of the salesperson’s “ABC” motto in action: “Always Be Closing.”

I have three daughters.

Leah is my youngest daughter.

I find it impossible to resist when Leah advises me that Leah has planned a trip for us to take together.

Recently, Leah told me we should go to Sao Paulo, Brazil this summer, because

  1. There is a lake in Sao Paulo full of Black Swans.
  2. There are sand dunes in Sao Paulo that fill with rainwater when it rains.
  3. People slide down those sand dunes into lagoons filled with fresh rainwater.
  4. People go swimming in those lagoons.

Below are three photos Leah recently sent me:

  1. Photo of Black Swans in the Black Swan Lake in Sao Paulo, and
  2. Photo of a person sliding down a sand dune into a lagoon filled with fresh rain water.
  3. Photo of the splash created when that person landed in the lagoon.


Leah and I are planning to see sights designated by Leah this summer in Peru and Brazil.

Leah is making all the plans: making hotel reservations, making guided tour reservations, reserving seats on airplanes, etc. etc.

Last summer Leah and I ate our way through Sicily.

All I had/have to do on these trips was/is (a) show up, and (b) pay expenses.

Check out my report on the trip I took with my daughter Leah last summer, which is titled “14 Day Adventure in Sicily.”

My report on that trip – which describes what we did: Leah and I saw great art and ate great classic Sicilian food with wild abandon in Sicily – can be found at

Full Heart, All In

I strongly believe we all have a destiny and that if we do what is compatible with our destiny we achieve greatness.


I especially admire people who are “all in.”

People who are “all in” have super-hyper-awareness.

By necessity, Sumo wrestlers are “all in.”

They have to be.

Sumo Wrestling consists of two combatants trying to throw each other out of a ring and/or trying to to throw each other to their Sumo wrestling mat.

Normally a Sumo wresting match takes less than three minutes from start to finish.

Below are photos I took at a recent International Sumo Wrestling Championship Contest held in Long Beach California.


People Who Are All In

I like being around people who are “all in.”

The below photos are of a power lifter about to power lift weights attached to a bar.

I took the photos below at Mendy’s Gym in Van Nuys, California.


I work out four or five nights a week at Mendy’s Gym.

While at Mendy’s Gym, I watch world class champion power-lifters and arm wrestlers working out.

Below is a photo of Scott Mendelson, also known as Mendy.

Mendy is famous for having bench-pressed 1,000 pounds.


I agree with the statement on Mendy’s t-shirt: You can’t fake strength.

Below is another action shot I took while attending the International Sumo Wrestling Championship recently held in Long Beach, California.

You can’t fake the strength manifest in the above photo.

Natural Awesomeness


I took the above photos while looking for house plants at my local Gelson’s market on Sunday morning (April 8, 2018).

Almost everyday, I look at the plants for sale in the Floral Department of Gelson’s, before having my morning coffee at the Starbucks next door in Sherman Oaks, California.

Below is a photo of a flower I saw at my local Ralph’s Grocery Market on my way home from work, on Sunday, April 8, 2018.

I stop at my local Ralph’s Grocery Market almost every night on my way home from work and/or on my way home from working out at Mendy’s Gym.

In the world I live in, I see beauty everywhere.

Designer Elegance

In my experience something as commonplace as a purse. a handbag, or a shoe can be awesome.

Without a doubt, top high fashion designers create awesome purses, bags and shoes.

Below is a photo of a shoe I took on Saturday, April 7, 2018, while I was in Nordstrom’s Topanga (in Canoga Park, California), shopping for a gift to give a four year old girl.

I looked at the shoes for sale on the first floor in the shoe department while I was on my way to the Kids Wear department on the Third Floor.

While on my shopping excursion, I also looked at designer purses and bags which were on display on the first floor of Nordstrom’s, while I was on my way the to the Kids Wear department on the third floor.

Below is a photo of one of the purses I saw.

I saw that purse in the Valentino. boutique, on the first floor of Nordstrom’s, while I was on my way to the Kids Wear department on the third floor.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Everywhere I go, I see awesome magical marketing.

Below is a photograph of a sign on a food truck, I saw on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at lunch time, shortly after I walked out of my office, in Encino, California.

I had to pass the above photo on the side of that food truck, in order to get to the restaurant I was walking to.

That photo made me gasp, made me stop to look at everything else I could see in front of me posted on the side of that food truck.


The goal of marketing is to get attention that leads to a sale.

Something that makes you gasp will get your attention.

If what you see, hear, or smell, makes you gasp, and is relevant to you, it will open a door that will potentially lead to a sale.

The photo above is of a photo of a 1.5 pound sandwich consisting of a Polish Sausage (original Kielbasa), smoked and grilled, served with grilled onion, sauerkraut, mustard and spicy sauce.

Perhaps you are not that hungry.

Can I interest you in a hot dog, perhaps a Chili Dog?

Below is a photo of another picture on the side of that food truck.


What if lunch was this colorful and delicious every day?

The Three H’s: Honesty, Humility and Humor

The three people described above, who I personally know very well,  are honest, humble and have a great sense of humor.

Each one of them has fun, and concentrates and thinks ahead long term all the time.

Each one of them is very gutsy, is “all in” whenever they do something, and is not afraid to take calculated risks.

They are trustworthy people you can have fun with, and laugh with, and are always interesting to be with.


Life is only as good as you make it.


Copyright © 2018 by Gary Smolker

Follow me on Instagram @garyspassion

Decor, Ambience, Expectations, and Identity – by Gary Smolker

I want to have “a ha” enlightening moments, pleasurable moments.

Style and Layout of Interior Furnishing

It is my position that every room we enter is a stage setting.

The style, the layout, the wall coverings, paintings, sculpture, flowers on the table – if any –  the flooring, the furniture and the furnishings, each send a direct message to us when we enter a room.

In a restaurant, the message sent is multifaceted.  The message is –

  • a message telling us what to expect – what kind of menu to expect, what kind of selection of food to expect, what to expect of the quality (of the food, the taste of the food and creativity of the food and beverage creations we consume, if any) of what we will be eating in that restaurant and the what to expect of the beverages severed – available for us we drink,
  • a message telling us who the owner-operator of the restaurant is,
  • a message telling us who the owner-operator wants us to believe he/she is,
  • a message telling us how the wait staff will behave, and
  • a message telling us how we are to behave.

On Tuesday, February 20, 2018, my good friend Jon Warner took me to LAQHAUS, located at 11671 Victory Blvd., L.A., CA 91606.

LAQHAUS is a restaurant I had never heard of.


LAQHAUS is a one room restaurant located in that part of Los Angeles known as North Hollywood.

The minute I walked into LAQHAUS, I was blown away by the what I saw on the walls.

Below are some photographs I took of what I saw on the walls.

See photographs of what I saw painted on one of the walls, below.

The caption/statement accompanying the painting/portrait of Marilyn Monroe states:

“Imperfection is Beauty

madness is Genius

and it is better to be absolutely Ridiculous than absolutely Boring”

– Marilyn Monroe

The minute I read that comment, I knew the menu in that restaurant would be exciting, and that whatever dishes were served to me would be exciting.

I immediately knew I was going to enjoy every aspect of my experiences in that restaurant.

There were more painted quotes next to portraits of famous movie stars painted on one of the walls.

See below:

The statement accompanying the portrait of Marlon Brando/”The Godfather” states:



I love, that statement, and I completely agree with that statement.


I also love the statement next to the portrait of Robert Di Nero.

After looking at those pictures painted on one of the walls, I knew I was going to love the place.

I was not disappointed.

The Food

The food in LAQHAUS was a joy to eat.

For my main course, I had a typical North Hollywood California version of a hamburger with fries.

I had lemonade to drink.

The fries come with a selection of dipping sauces.


INGREDIENTS: This hamburger sandwich consisted of a Beef Patty (beef comes from a grass fed cow), Tillinook (spelling?) Cheddar Cheese, Bacon, Grilled Onion, Chipotle, Aioli, Tomatoes, Arugula, on a brioche bun.

For dessert I had an Oreo Sushi Roll.

The above photo of the Oreo Sushi I had for dessert at LAQHAUS was posted on Instagram @garyspassion on February 20, 2018, with the following text:

Do you like Oreos?  Do you like Sushi?

Imagine eating an Oreo crust surrounding rich creamy vanilla bean ice cream drizzled with caramel.

INGREDIENTS: Oreo/Sushi Roll, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Coconuts, Caramel.

You May Follow My Off the Beaten Track FOOD Experiences on Instagram @garyspassion

Below are descriptions/”write-ups” of two of my recent lunches, – lunch on Saturday and lunch today, posted on Instagram @garyspassion.

Korean B.B.Q. At One of my Favorite Korean Restaurants

Below is a photograph of the lunch (a Koren BBQ Short Ribs box-lunch) which I ate today (March 5, 2018).

The above photo is posted on Instagram @garyspassion on Monday, March 5, 2018 (today).

My box lunch consisted of BBQ Short Ribs, Fried Rice, Fried Beef Filled Dumpling, Fried Chicken, Seaweed Salad, Ginger, Mixed Green Salad.

The name of the Korean Restaurant and its address are provided in my post on Instagram @garyspassion.

Corn Beef on Rye at One of My Favorite Jewish Deli Restaurants

Below is a photo of the corn beef on rye sandwich I had for lunch two days ago (on Saturday, March 3, 2018).

You don’t have to be a connoisseur to be able to  SMELL really good corn beef before you taste it.

The corn beef on the rye bread in the photo above smelled so delicious, I was beside myself with joyful anticipation of how wonderful that corn beef would taste – before that corn beef sandwich touched any of the taste buds on my tongue.

You may can read my description of all my senses that were triggered when I saw that sandwich, when I smelled that sandwich and when I tasted it.

See my post on March 3, 2018 on Instagram @garyspassion.

In my post I provide the name and address of the delicatessen where I ate that sandwich and describe the entire eating experience I enjoyed in that deli.

Decor, Ambience, Expectations and Identity

Each experience – from the atmosphere in the restaurant, to the way you are treated by the wait staff, to the way the food is presented, the way the food looks, the way the food smells, the way the food tastes –  which you experience in a restaurant creates that restaurant’s identity.


Depending on conditions and circumstances the delivery of a message is 7% verbal, 38% vocal, and 58% nonverbal.

We live in a society of ambience makers and elegant people.

By looking sharp and acting sharp you fashion a sense of pride, positivity, and self-worth that can transcend circumstances as well as social perceptions.

How you dress and what you do, including where you go out to eat, expresses your individualism and your relationship to your own community and to mainstream culture.

You can fashion dignity and self-worth over and above your circmstances by looking good and being “cool.”

Experiences are the new brag.

Seek great experiences.

Be impressive: Share great experiences with others.

Bon Appetite.

Copyright © 2018 by Gary Smolker

Follow me on Instagram @garyspassion


I Study T-shirts by Gary S. Smolker

“The Man Who Grasps Principles Can Successfully Select His Own Methods” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gary Smolker, Cultural Anthropologist

I am a cultural anthropologist.

Below are copies of two photographs I posted on Instagram @garyspassion in the past two weeks and an edited summary of the comments I made in each post.

Q. As a cultural anthropologist what do I do?

A. I study people, especially the state of mind of people.

I study how their state of mind is reflected in their actions.

I am fascinated by how the sate of mind of a person is influenced by the culture that person comes from.

I am intrigued by the fact (my theory) that a person’s state of mind is reflected in t-shirts that person wears. Often people wear t-shirts which say things the person wearing it would never say out loud.

Q.  How and where do I go to get information – where do I do my field research?

A. Everywhere I go, I keep my eyes open for interesting things to think about.

For example, on February 7, 2018, I found myself in “Abraham Bagels Cafeteria”, in Encino, California, for the first time. While there, I ate a bagel lox and cream cheese sandwich.

I told the owner of the store, that his bagels were the best bagels I had ever tasted. He told me that his bagels are out of this world.

That inspired me to create a post, on Instagram @garyspassion, which I posted on February 7, 2018.

At the time I had a couple of outer-space pictures that had been sent to me in connection with a lecture I was going to attend on Friday night, Friday 9, 2018, about the existence of liquid water in our solar system.

In my post on Instagram I combined one of those pictures with various comments, including the comment that Abraham Bagels Cafeteria has the best bagels in the universe

See two photos below.

By the way, what do you know about water and oceans on planets and moons in our solar system?
Quoting from the flyer I received advertising the lecture I went to on Friday night, February 9, 2018:
You’ve heard about the discovery of liquid water on Mars.  But did you know that Enceladus, a small moon of Saturn, has geysers that spout liquid water into space contributing to the formation of one of Saturn’s rings?
Getting back to our story: I posted the top picture above on Instagram @garyspassion on February 7, 2018 with comments.  Below is a reworked summary of what I wrote/posted in that post:
Imagine you live here and you order a bagel from Abraham Bagel Cafeteria in Encino, California.  Abraham Bagel Cafeteria’s bagels are the best in the universe and beyond. ADVICE: Use evidence and rational decision-making to achieve the best results, the most good.  Appreciate the value of thinking consequentially.  People move to Los Angeles for the weather and the bagels.  The temperature here in Los Angeles at this moment (at noon) is 80 degrees.

For details see Instagram @garyspassion post posted on February 9, 2018.

People from out of the country who read my posts on Instagram @garyspassion might come away with the idea that Los Angeles is the land of bagels and tacos.

Below is a picture I took of a woman standing in line behind me at the Bank of America branch on Ventura Blvd., in Sherman Oaks, California.

I posted that photograph with comments on Instagram @garyspassion on January 30, 2018.

Below is a reworked summary of what I wrote/posted on that post.

In Los Angeles, California, Tuesday is called “Tacos Tuesday” because on Tuesdays Mexican Restaurants have special promotions.  For example, my favorite local Mexican Restaurant charges $2 per taco and $2 per beer on Tuesdays. The above photo was taken by me today (January 30, 2018) of a woman standing in line behind me at the Bank of America bank branch on Ventura Blvd., in Sherman Oaks, California. I study and follow how modern day culture is depicted on t-shirts.  I believe what is depicted/shown/expressed/communicated on t-shirts symbolically represents and celebrates on-going current day external influences in society and is a reflection of the pressures of social, economic, and political tensions and circumstances.  QUESTION: Is fashion modern or the tool of towering taste makers and indelible personalities?  Oftentimes t-shirts explore moral dilemmas and spiritual torment with unabashed painful honesty.

For details see Instagram @garyspassion post posted on January 30, 2018.

I have a lot of fun studying what is written on t-shirts.

For details see Instagram @garyspassion post posted on July 22, 2017.

For details see Instagram @garyspassion post posted on July 13, 2017.

I have a lot of fun doing field research.

Below are photos of a few more t-shirts I have studied.

Copyright © 2018 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved


Profound Performance by Gary S. Smolker

“The Man Who Grasps Principles Can Successfully Select His Own Methods” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gary Smolker, Cultural Anthropologist

I am a cultural anthropologist.

Below is a copy of photographs I posted on Instagram @garyspassion, in the past two weeks, and an edited summary of the comments I made in each post.

Q: As a cultural anthropologist what do I do?

A:  I study the state of mind of people.

I study how their state of mind is reflected in their actions.

It is my belief that the actions of people in a society define the state of culture in that society.

I am fascinated by how the state of mind of a person is influenced by the culture that person comes from.

I am also fascinated by the fact that a person’s state of mind is reflected in the t-shirts they wear, and sometimes they wear t-shirts that say things they would never say out loud.

I am intrigued by the way things people do and the actions they take reflect what is going on in society.

Q: How and where do I get information?

A: As a cultural anthropologist, I interview people on the street, complete strangers, who I don’t know, who look interesting to me.

For example, yesterday morning (Friday, February 9, 2018), I met two people (43 year old Dave and 23 year old Emmy), who looked so interesting to me that I asked them if I may interview them, take photographs of them, then post pictures I took of them and my comments about them, on Instagram and on my “Idea Exchange Blog.”

They said yes, and gave me permission to post their photographs, etc.

I then took their photographs.

I showed them the photographs I had taken of them.

They approved the photographs I had taken.

Then I interviewed them.

Q1: How did I meet Dave and Emmy?

Q2: Where did I meet them?

A1: Dave and Emmy sat down at the same table I was sitting at in a Starbucks.  I was drinking a cup of coffee when they sat down at the table I was sitting at.  That is how I met Dave and Emmy.

A2: That Starbucks is located on Van Nuys Blvd., in Sherman Oaks, California.

I told Dave and Emmy that I am a cultural anthropologist.

I told Dave and Emmy I would like to interview them because they smile a lot and they have exceptionally attractive smiles.

I showed showed Dave and Emmy a series of photographs I had taken (as a cultural anthropologist), the previous morning (in the very same Starbucks), of a young attractive woman who was sitting at a table reading a book.

Below is a photograph of the woman I met the day before.

Below is a photograph of the cover of the book she was reading.

Getting on with our story: Below is a picture [photographs I took] of Dave and Emmy.

Dave and Emmy



After I interviewed Dave and Emmy,  I then posted the picture shown below with my comments on Instagram @garyspassion.


For details see Instagram @garyspassion post on February 9, 2018

Below is a reworked summary of what I wrote/posted in that post:

Emmy and Dave (the woman and man in the photo above) have an interesting personal life story, which they told me this morning.  In my interview with them I discussed the following: Often all that stands between you and what you want want is a better set of questions and/or a smile.  If you want uncommon clarity and results, ask uncommonly clear questions and project positive energy. SMILE. If you want to build (or foster) a world class network, you need to interact in a way that earns it. PERSONAL: I was attracted to Emmy and Dave by their great smiles. Their smiles lulled me, relaxed me, charmed me and pulled me towards them. While talking to them I discovered: (1) They are both charming. (2) They are both great story tellers. (3) They have lived extremely interesting lives. Dave told me about his business.  Dave provides “hot” (attractive) bar tenders to people who are having a party and to organizations that are having an event. Emmy told me about the customs practiced by an 84 year old woman. When she (the 84 year old woman) was a young beauty in Hong Kong she would require any man who wanted to take her out on a date to first take her to a jewelry store and buy her jewelry. [By the way, I have been told by a multitude of young women: that custom is prevalent among groups of men and women they know in Los Angeles.] Emmy added that Emmy does not want to live in a gilded cage, Emmy wants to pay her own way, to earn her own money, to be able buy herself her own airplane, etc. etc.  rather than have a man buy her jewelry before they go on a date.  Emmy is 23 years old. [ASIDE: I often see this independent streak in action when I am with beautiful women in Los Angeles.] ACTION IMPLICATION POINTER: Don’t worry about your flaws.  Humans are imperfect. Worry about your character, ambitions and principles. You are the author of your own life.  The most effective people look at their life’s journey as 25% finding themselves and 75% creating themselves. You can write your own story.  Do it and don’t forget to smile.  Smiling projects positive energy.  Positive energy is contagious.  Don’t let anyone take your happiness away.  It is yours, keep it.


Below are more photos of the woman I photographed  – the day before – reading her book, a book titled “The Gifts of Imperfection.”

Talk Less, Eat More Ice Cream

On January 29, 2018, a little more than a week ago, what I saw written on truck caught my fancy.

I couldn’t resist taking a photograph of that truck.

Below is the photo I took of that truck.

The sign on that truck inspired me to post my photo of that truck with comments on Instagram @garyspassion.

For details see Instagram @garyspassion post on January 29, 2018

Below is a reworked summary of what I posted in that post.

BE THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF.  Note to single women: Life is to be enjoyed. Be a connoisseur.  Don’t think all ecstasies are the same.  You have good taste.  Each man you come in contact with my appear to be a delight.  Taste with caution.  Hook-up with a a man who comes with all working parts fully assembled.  You can’t fix the world and you certainly will be unable to fix a needy man with low self-esteem who lacks self-confidence.  NOT TO SINGLE MEN: The same rules apply: Be a connoisseur.  Each woman you come in contact with may appear to be a delight.  Taste with caution. Testosterone is not your friend.  Beware of Beautiful Sexy needly women.  Beware of women adulterated with fear.  Beware of women who need to do something/anything quickly. ADVICE: Your world is what you make it and what you create with it.  Make the best use of your time by being the best version of yourself all the time. Be positive.  Stay away from fatalistic people, fatalism, negativity and negative people.  Above all, the quality of your relationships will determine the the quality of your life.

Copyright © 2018 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved