This was too cute not to share--Happy Thursday!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
John A. Shedd
Friday, April 17, 2009
Susan Boyle Stuns Crowd with Epic Singing
Evidently, most everyone around the world knows about Susan Boyle and her amazing performance on Britain's Got Talent. If you remember, I posted Paul Pott's audition, and this is a similar situation.
Susan walked out on the stage, and was judged so quickly and harshly by her appearance that it made me cringe. Susan is 47, lives with her cat, and told an interviewer she has never been kissed. As she came across the stage, laughter erupted from parts of the audience, and a random person whistled (sarcastically). I think that whistle is what angered me most.
But none of this flustered her, she was cheeky and completely herself.
And then, she began singing.
I cannot believe that this voice, this amazing voice, has not been discovered before. She sang for a charity in 1999, and cut a CD of Cry Me a River that makes me weep and so envious of the pure talent this woman possesses.
I have to wonder, was she not "discovered" because of the same reasons people judged her on the night of her audition? Was she swept aside and judged by appearance alone? Because her voice is not just a good voice, it is magical and pure.
Susan's life will never be the same--and thank God for that. I wish for her to succeed in a way that makes any memories of judgment and disrespect disappear. We are the lucky ones to enjoy her gift.
And I hope the man who whistled in that audience has learned a thing or two about beauty. It may not appear in front of you in the package you expect. It may surprise you, capture you, and grasp your heart from places you never imagined.
It is a lesson for us all.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I came to see this video through my friend Judith, and I cannot explain the effect this had on me. To see these musicians from all over the world connecting, to see their faces, their talent--I was just so caught up in it.
I had to find out where this came from and how it came to be. This video was produced by The Playing for Change Foundation, which has such a beautiful mission: To build and connect music and art schools around the world.
In case no one has noticed, art, drama, and music programs are being cut from school curriculums at an alarming rate. I joined the Americans for the Arts last year as I heard more and more about this school or that school cutting these programs.
Many people have said that schools will never cut the sports programs, but the arts always hit the chopping block. I believe this to be true, but I wouldn't want any sports programs to be cut for the very reasons I want to fight to keep the arts and music in our schools. Every child is unique and different, their talents may lie in one area or many. But sometimes that one talent, whether it be painting or throwing a football, is their saving grace. It is the one thing they feel to be their own, and if it's not to be their future, it may be the thing that gives them just enough pride and self confidence to succeed at anything else they want to do.
We also need to educate and raise our children to be well rounded, to expose them to all opportunities so that their view of the world becomes richer, and their contributions to the world become more varied and enlightening. Even if the arts is not a career, a child exposed to the beauty of music or the love of art will appreciate the world in a much deeper way.
I speak from experience. I was an excellent student growing up, excelling in language arts, the subjects where I could express myself and write. I was, however, terrible at math and science. I was and am a creative person, and if I had not had art, music and drama classes in school, I believe wholeheartedly that I would have wondered where I would fit in the world. If there had been none of these classes, I would have believed I was an outcast instead of a unique person with different talents.
This beautiful foundation, Playing for Change, makes me want to drop everything and get on board, go build these schools and inspire children to chase their dreams. We need more foundations like this one. The world's children need them most of all.
Go to the website, join, buy things. Support this organization!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
As I was straightening up my bedroom last night, I came across a few magazines that were months old, still in my nightstand drawer. One of them was an issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, a past issue, Oprah smiling at me from a brightly covered cover. I started thumbing through it to see if there were articles I wanted to keep, or if the recycling bin would get another addition.
I ended up pausing on a section called Chance Encounters-Do You Believe in Fate? and started reading. The small essays that followed had me transfixed, each telling a more beautiful story than the last. All of the essays touch on different types of fateful encounters, one is about meeting a soulmate, others about small, meaningful twists in life, that had an incredible impact.
I have always believed in fate, even though I have misread moments in my life, thinking they were fate, when perhaps I just wanted them to be. But there have been real, honest moments when something so unquestionably fated has happened to me that I get chills thinking about it even years after the fact.
Two of the essays in the magazine in particular touched me, and also gave me those same chills at the unbelievable moments of fate that led these writers to know that a circle had been completed, and they were exactly where they were supposed to be. It was fate.
On a summer day years ago, I was hitchhiking on I-95 through Maryland—you could do that back in 1975—after spending three months thumbing through South America. The beefy guy who pulled over to pick me up (they did that back then, too) wore red Pro-Keds. I remember this vividly because my eyes kept drifting to them. For the record, I had long hair and was wearing a llama-hair poncho and black canvas Chuck Taylors. The driver just happened to be going to Columbia, Maryland, not far from where I attended grad school. I was 23, majoring in sarcasm, minoring in theater. Offstage, I played everyone but me, whoever that was, holding myself in with a reserve that no girlfriend could breach. If I got too close to revealing any feelings, I'd interrupt myself in midthought and stammer to a stop. Talking in conundrums, hiding behind equivocation, I made myself untouchable.
I found a certain direction in my job driving a city bus in Columbia. Every afternoon I steered through the same suburban streets and ended up in the same suburban mall. My bus was often empty: In this new town everybody had a car. I drove alone and liked it. There was no need to perform, because I was totally anonymous.
One afternoon a girl got on outside the community playhouse. She was a high school senior with clear, dark eyes and an appealing tangle of black hair. She swung onto the bus with an easy grace. I'd been reeling off nonsense lines to myself from the play The Bald Soprano: "I prefer a bird in the bush to a sparrow in a barrow… The car goes very fast, but the cook beats batter better."
"What are you talking about?" she said. Her smile was crinkly; her eyes, knowing; her voice, sly and swooping.
"Rather a steak in a chalet than gristle in a castle."
"Is that your idea of a pickup line?"
I could tell immediately that she was my kind of girl: sharp, nervy, and, critically, postmodern. All she lacked was 25 cents. I paid her fare. By the time she got off the bus, I had her name (Maggie), her phone number, and a date. A quarter went a long way in those days.
A few days later, as I arrived at Maggie's house, I noticed a well-stuffed man in a well-stuffed chair. He was wearing red Pro-Keds. He was, of course, Maggie's father. Not all that long after, Maggie asked me if I wanted to get married. I said, "Great idea." While swilling a dollar bottle of champagne in plastic cups, we gleefully told Old Red Keds we were getting married and then hitching to Guatemala. He didn't share our glee. "Do you know the Mann Act?" he snapped. "That's the 1910 law that bans the interstate transport of females for 'immoral purposes.'"
"No," I deadpanned. "Could you hum a few bars?"
We got married anyway, on May 28, 1976, the day after Maggie's high school graduation. For years afterward, her three younger sisters would greet their dad when he got home by asking: "Daddy, did you pick us up a hitchhiker?"
Three decades and two beautiful daughters later, I haven't met anyone else I'd rather be around. Maggie still surprises me, still shakes me out of complacency, still makes me laugh. She's not sentimental; she sensible, decent, and much smarter than me. She showed me how to feel comfortable in my own skin, to embrace ordinary happiness. Which is pretty extraordinaryTightly Knit: An African Odyssey
By Katie Arnold-Ratliff
As a teenager, Jacqueline Novogratz donated a favorite sweater to charity. Eleven years later, a stunning coincidence in Rwanda illustrated how intertwined our lives on this planet have become.
*In 1976, a boy at Novogratz's high school cracks a joke about her breasts, highlighted by the tight sweater. Humiliated, she vows never to wear it again, and gives the sweater to Goodwill.
*Like many articles of donated clothing from the United States, the sweater most likely travels to Mombasa, Kenya, after it is fumigated, bound in a 100-pound bale, and sold to a secondhand clothing distributor who in turn sells to local citizens across Africa.
*Novogratz graduates from the University of Virginia in 1983 and lands a job with Chase Manhattan Bank, reviewing loans at banks in troubled economies. On a business trip to Brazil in 1985, she befriends Eduardo, a homeless boy in Rio de Janiero. But when she brings him to the hotel restaurant, the manager turns him away. Novogratz wonders, "What will it take to build a society where everyone has doors of opportunity?"
*Novogratz proposes that Chase implement a loan program for low-income families as well as struggling banks. Her bosses reject the plan, so she leaves to join a nonprofit in Africa that finances small businesses. In early 1987, she travels to Kigali, Rwanda, to help establish a microfinance enterprise for poor women.
*While jogging one afternoon, she spots a young boy on the road. He is wearing a familiar-looking sweater; it is made of blue wool, with zebras at the foot of a snowy mountain. She stops him, turns down his collar—and sees her name written on the tag. It's the sweater she donated 11 years earlier. The encounter convinces her that all of us are interconnected: "Our actions—and inaction—touch people every day across the globe, people we may never know and never meet."
*In 2001, her sense of purpose renewed, Novogratz founds the Acumen Fund, a nonprofit that encourages entrepreneurship as a means to combat global poverty. To date, the Acumen Fund has helped a company in India provide clean water to more than a quarter million rural residents; an agricultural products designer bring drip irrigation systems to 275,000 small farmers worldwide; and an African malaria bed-net manufacturer that employs more than 75,000 people produce 10 million lifesaving bed nets each year.
*Novogratz writes about her visits to the companies she's helped finance, posting entries on the fund's website (AcumenFund.org). The entries evolve into a book about her experiences, The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World, which will be published in March. She plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Acumen Fund. "Rather than seeing the world divided among different civilizations or classes," she writes in the prologue, "our collective future rests on embracing a vision of a single world in which we are all connected. We all play a role in the change we need to create."
Read more chance encounters here.
articles and photos courtesy of www.oprah.com
Saturday, April 11, 2009
I saw this story a few days ago, and was curious and startled by the premise. In Spain, there is a deep fear of public humiliation, and personal honor is very important. So bill collectors there have devised an unusual way to get their money out of their debtors. They either send out their own agents in costumes or hire actors for the deed, and these costumed collectors descend upon the homes or businesses of those owing money, and publicly harass and expose them. They may not even speak, and only follow them from their homes to other places. Or they might loudly proclaim the nature of their arrival.
By Lisa Abend
Thursday, April 9, 2009
It has taken me a few days to be able to post about this story. Things like this make my blood boil--senseless fatalities, stupid actions, all by people old enough to know better.
This past Saturday, here in NC, a twenty-year-old man, Tyler Stasko, and a FORTY-FOUR-year-old woman, Carlene Carol Atkinson, decided to race on a public road at a little after 6pm. Of course, the race got out of hand, and the car Stasko was driving plowed into the car of a woman innocently driving out of her neighborhood. She, her two-year-old daughter, and a thirteen-year-old boy who was riding with them were all killed.
I have read comments from readers of the articles about this case that feel passionately about the punishment the drivers should receive, and several people have commented that the intent was not there. No one intended to kill anyone. Excuse me, but if you are driving a 3000 pound vehicle at top speed on a public road at 6pm in the afternoon, you lose the option to claim no intent as far as I am concerned. If you are over the age of six, you know that this is dangerous, stupid and could cause your death or someone else's. By the age of 20, and certainly by the age of 44, you can well grasp this concept.
Here in the Charlotte area, it seems we have a problem with street racing, and I think it's time we started treating these incidents for what they are: serious crimes; and when innocent people die because of these actions, it is MURDER, plain and simple.
Another piece of information that contributes to my strong feelings about this case are that Stasko already had a traffic violation under his belt, for failing to stop at a stop sign and having no operator's license. But Atkinson had 16, yes SIXTEEN speeding tickets already behind her. AND she left the scene as soon as Stasko crashed, not waiting to see the aftermath, or take responsibility for her part in it.
Nothing will bring back the victims. But we shouldn't wait for one more senseless tragedy before we get tough on these crimes.
Investigators seize 2nd car suspected of racing
Driver in fatal wreck jailed
Woman linked to wreck has 16 tickets
photo courtesy of www.charlotteobserver.com
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Those of you that follow my blog know how much I love Matt Logelin's blog, and how I have watched him the last year through his amazing journey. His beautiful daughter Maddy is thriving due to his strength and love.
How fitting that Oprah is going to have them on her show! Their story is made for her show, and I can't wait to watch! I am a huge Oprah fan, and I am looking so forward to watching her interact with Matt and Maddy. I know this appearance will also bring publicity and donations to the foundation Matt started in his wife's memory.
The air date for Matt's appearance is next Monday, APRIL 13th!! Be sure and tune in.
photo courtesy of www.mattlogelin.com
I am not just a cat person or a dog person, I love them both equally. The video above shows one of the main reasons I love cats, though. Even as kittens, cats will stalk objects, people, dogs, or other cats, with great seriousness. I have always loved to watch my cats creep around a corner to sneak up on me, each other, or a random sock. There is such a playfulness about it, and I never know what they will do next to entertain me.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Kudos Jack Windolf, it's a step in the right direction.
After all, even a cursory analysis of the evolution of executive compensation over the past few decades is enough to bring out one's inner Karl Marx. By now, the statistics are pretty well-known, but let's review them one more time: in 1982, the average CEO made 42 times as much as the average worker; by 1990, they were making 107 times as much as their employees, and by 2007, 275 times as much. This meant, incidentally, that the average CEO made more in one workday than the average employee made all year.Some studies have suggested that employees don't begrudge their bosses the extra pay as long as the company is doing well. However, even by that metric, CEO compensation has grown out of control. With companies lining up to take government bailouts, it is worth asking exactly what companies are getting for their money. One can only imagine the feelings of AIG's rank-and-file employees, and the attitude among low-level workers at Merrill Lynch must be downright mutinous.
Maybe other CEO's should take note.
article courtesy of dailyfinance.com, picture courtesy of thedailyjournal.com
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
100 things not to say in a job interview