Power Lunches and Vanity Plates are Alive and Well: Marcello Dines with Michael Port and Neen James

Michael Port

Neen James

Marcello Pedalino

You know you’re out to lunch with the right people when the waitress comes by three times and you still haven’t looked at your menus yet.

That kind of organic conversation and camaraderie combined with delightful weather and a gorgeous view makes you stop and say,   “I’m very grateful to be here…  life is good today.”

I took a nice top-down ride out to New Hope, Pennsylvania, last week to dine with New York Times bestselling author, Michal Port and renowned productivity expert, Neen James. Topics of discussion varied from world travel, staying fit,  and intellectual property to Harley Davidsons, concierge services, and cool apps for your iPad.

When you surround yourself with successful thought leaders, it’s impossible for some of their mojo not to rub off on ya at some point.  If you haven’t read any of Michael or Neen’s books or had the chance to hear them speak, I highly recommend it.

… p.s  When we met at Michael’s home, it was really fun to check out everyone’s license plate.  See if you can guess whose is whose.   Neen’s should be fairly easy.   🙂 

If you or a friend has a cool plate you’d like to show off, share it on the MMP Facebook wall for the world to see! -mp

Hot Town, Summer In The City: The NYC “Life Is Good” Bike Tour ’11

Grimaldi’s “Pizza Under The Bridge.” Brooklyn, NY. (John Derienzo, Tony Shaughnessy  and Mike Walter)

Once again- Tony, John and I tuned-in to our favorite radio station, WKIP (We Keep It Positive) and rode our bikes 35 miles to Brooklyn just to have a slice of Margarita pizza at Grimaldi’s.    This year- we were joined by my good friend and co-creator of the fictional feel-good frequency, Mike Walter.

The Spinnaker, from Le Peep. Randolph, NJ

It was sunny and 87 degrees in the big apple… this song kept playing in my head throughout our excursion. Everybody was outside doing their thang; running, walking, praying to trees, fixing the roads, sight-seeing, playing chess like they do in one of my favorite movies of all time, and lots of folks playing a little hooky.

As always, the highlights of the ride revolved around the food and the company.  Our friend, Terri, who couldn’t make the ride but joined us for breakfast at Le Peep, recommended  “The Spinnaker.”  It’s a delicious egg-white omelet with spinach, bacon, mushrooms, chives, cheese and tomatoYummy! The day was off to a great start.

Mike featured the trip route on his blog, so I’ll just focus on the pizza and the pics.

There’s something about Gramaldi’s home-made mozzarella, the perfect crust, and a red sauce so nice it should have a crayon named after it...  that will keep me coming back to Brooklyn on my bike year after year.

The Little Red Lighthouse @ The GWB

4 slices is usually just what the doctor ordered at the 17 mile half-way point.  But this time… John and I raced up the Manhattan bridge right after lunch…  that fourth slice wasn’t doing me any favors.   🙂    No unnecessary drama ensued, but note to self: next year you may want to wait another 15 minutes before challenging anybody to a race.  Especially someone like John, who is a ridiculously-strong rider and spins 8 days a week.

Throughout the trip… we joked, laughed and got personal.   We saw “every kind of people” and enjoyed a fun, alternative workout.

We all agreed there’s no doubt that being outside-  soakin’ up a sunny day & just livin, is a very good indication that Life- is indeed good.    See ya next year!    You are welcome to join us.   -mp


Encore Gallery:

The “Life Is Good” NYC Bike Tour Rides Again

When I saw the five day forecast on my Droid’s Weather Bug app and it showed a big yellow sun with 80 degrees  underneath it for Wednesday, I put the word out that the 2010 Life Is Good ride was on!

The 35 mile casual ride features some site-seeing, great food, entertaining conversation, stress relief and, of course…  a nice little work out.

If you want to be on the contact list for next year, let me know.   All you need is a bike and a positive attitude; …the ability to take off from work on short notice might come in handy too.

The Life Is Good Tour starts with breakfast in Randolph, NJ and then a park and ride rendezvous up in Fort Lee.   The group rides down though Weehawken and takes the path train form Hoboken to Christopher Street in NYC.   We cruise down the West Side Highway past Ground Zero, South Street Seaport and hop on the  Brooklyn Bridge.

My favorite part of the ride is our lunch break in Brooklyn.  We stop at Grimaldi’s and pick up a couple of Margarita Pizzas.  There is a reason why there’s always a line out the door. Delicious!  It was nice to see tax dollars being put to good use; workers were putting the final touches on a beautiful river-side park right down the street.   It was a perfect spot to mangiare and soak up the sunshine.

We take the Manhattan Bridge to the 6th Street Foot Bridge over the FDR and, this time,  invited ourselves to the big party picnics going on at Union Square and Tompkins Square.   The next stop is a little slice of heaven called The Tea Garden which is on the way to Madison Park.   25th Street takes us back to Chelsea Piers on the West Side and it’s a straight shot up the river to the Little Red Light House and the George Washington Bridge.   We cross the GWB and take in our final sights, sounds and smells of the city before crossing back into Jersey.

What a day.  This year, I brought my camera.

Like our new friend in the Tea Garden said… “It’s a beautiful ‘freekin’ world, man.”    🙂

Encore Gallery:

“We Are Good. Life Is Good. It’s That Simple.”

Mike brought this article below by Graelyn Brashear to my attention.  As an avid surfer and Jersey resident, I’ve always been a big fan of Manasquan.  As a big fan of the saying “Life is good,” I couldn’t help but feel even more love for the town itself and its high school athletic trainer, Kevin Hyland.

My company starting providing the entertainment for the annual Allen & Company Summer Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho back in 2000, that’s where I first saw the “Life Is Good” expression on a t-shirt and immediately transferred the positive energy into my lifestyle.


Manasquan High School students celebrate "Life Is Good" event. Staff Photo by: Thomas Costello

MANASQUAN — For two weeks, three small, hand-painted signs have hung on the wall in the Manasquan High School gym. Together, they read: “Every little thing you do comes back to you, so set the goodness in motion.”

In the hour before the final bell ended the school week Friday, that philosophy roared to life as the 1,000-plus-member student body joined teachers, administrators, alumni and others from the community in the gym for a surprise assembly built around a single theme: “Life is good.”

The event was conceived by school athletic trainer Kevin Hyland in the aftermath of the death of senior Matthew Caughey on Oct. 23.

Caughey, 17, of Spring Lake Heights, was the third Manasquan High student to be killed by a train since 2008, and the fourth student to die since last year.

The deaths rocked this borough and the small towns that make up Manasquan High’s sending districts. But as Hyland and many others see it, the tragedies don’t define the school or the people who learn and work there.

"Life Is Good." logo

"Life Is Good." logo

Hyland, who also teaches at the school, said Friday’s event was an opportunity for students.  “We wanted to give them a chance to be positive,” Hyland said.

At Caughey’s funeral, Hyland saw a Jeep touting the logo of a popular T-shirt company, “Life is good.” He couldn’t get the words out of his head.

They also resonated with David Schenke, 15, whose brother Tim was struck by a train and killed in April 2008. One late October afternoon, he and Hyland were talking about the boys who had died.

“We decided we wanted to do something good instead of just saying we miss them and stuff,” Schenke said.

Hyland and Schenke started a quiet campaign to raise funds for a feel-good party for the whole school. Matt Caughey’s sister Megan and other students and recent graduates who had lost siblings and friends joined the effort.

One of Mke's favorite "Life Is Good" T-Shirts.

One of Mke's favorite "Life Is Good" T-Shirts.

After one call from Hyland, the Life is Good clothing company, whose logo had inspired the plan, offered $13,000 worth of T-shirts and other gear to give away. In just 72 hours, Hyland and the students raised $12,000 from generous families to buy more shirts, and they started planning the pep rally to end all pep rallies.

Just after 1 p.m. Friday, students poured into the gymnasium by the dozens as three of their classmates pounded out rock tunes on a drum set and two guitars. Shirts and frisbees were launched into the eager crowd by teachers wearing matching “Life is good” sweat shirts.

By the time Hyland took the microphone, the bleachers were buzzing with anticipation. Curiousity turned to wild enthusiasm as the popular trainer and teacher drove home his point: Nobody needs to feel sorry for Manasquan High.

“Today, we want to let everybody outside these red brick walls know that we’re all right,” he said. “We go to Manasquan, and we are proud.”

Hyland had to raise his voice above the cheers to finish his speech.

“This day is about the things . . . that inspire us the most,” he cried. “We are good. Life is good. It’s that simple.”

Photo By: Andrew Mills      Surf's Up in Manasquan, February 2008

Surf's Up in Manasquan, February 2008 Photo by: Andrew Mills

Manasquan Mayor George R. Dempsey Jr., himself a graduate of the high school, read a proclamation declaring Dec. 11 “Life Is Good Day” in the borough.

Students applauded as nine classmates were given prizes for inspirational essays they’d written in the weeks before the event. The pieces recalled a host of happy things, from hometown pride to the simple pleasure of warm sand on a summer day.

Before the students donned their own “Life is good” T-shirts and walked shoulder-to-shoulder out of the gym toward waiting buses and cars, overall essay winner Inga Sinneck read her words aloud.

She had a lot to be thankful for, Sinneck said, and she explained why. Abandoned at a bus stop in Lithuania with her younger sister at age 4, Sinneck today is part of a loving, adoptive family.

“Life in itself is good, and is a gift to be treasured,” she said.

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