NFL Player Giving 79 Students His Base Salary

As I was reading this story of Braylon Edwards, I was wondering how we make this type of giving the norm rather than the exception.

From Yahoo
As a Cleveland Browns rookie in 2005, Edwards announced he'd give $10,000 in scholarships to 100 area eighth-graders if they could graduate high school with over a 2.5 GPA and 15 hours community service. Of the 100 who were afforded the opportunity, 79 met the criteria and have begun their first year of college.

He barely made enough money to support these children.

The 79 students were provided with laptops and other supplies to help them out when they arrived on campus.

"I'm supposed to give people a chance like I was given a chance," Edwards said.

Edwards hasn't played for the Browns in two years. He's a member of the San Francisco 49ers this season and is earning a $1 million base salary for the year, just about what he'll pay those 79 students he promised to help years ago.

Young, Inexperienced...Confident.

“You are young and inexperienced, but you should somehow create an aura of confidence and authority” - Esa-Pekka Salonen, L.A. Philharmonic on Gustavo Dudamel at 23, in his first time conducting a professional orchestra


Jaaack Stephan!

My grade school friend Fred used to repeat the line from this classic LA area commercial every time he came across this tall white kid named Stefan.

My first memory of Stefan was him singing "oh bladee oh bladdah..." Every time I encountered him, he would be full of these noises; I always thought it was weird, but nifty.

He was the older brother of one of my grade school classmates, and I kept thinking that if I was his height, I'd surely be on my way to basketball stardom.

I later would go to the same all-boys Catholic high school that he went to. High school being a place of hierarchies and cliquey associations, we didn't talk much, but he was always a reminder of a slice of home.

Every once in a while I see him at our elementary school's functions, and we chat it up a little. He's been a winner on jeopardy. He worked as a video game tester. Occasionally, he checks my grammar on Facebook.

But if there's one thing I know this guy for, it'll usually come back to this man's talent for soundmaking:

You Can Feel it All Over

Sharing this video because I just like the song. The actual shots...some of them seem real, others, not so sure. But the song drives it and the shots are a great complement to the emotion of the song.

Subway Dance Party

Since I've been Metro rider, and I've listened to Joe Metro from Blue Scholars over and over, and have posted on public space in Los Angeles...

Dare to Fight!?

The public space.

Look at Yourself After Watching This

Says the video description on Youtube.

Phrases that come to mind: thankful, and making the best out of what we have and are given.

Metta World Peace

...Formerly known as basketball player Ron Artest.

He officially got his name changed today, which means that the back of his jersey, which on the Lakers jersey usually is emblazoned a player's last name we'd read "World Peace" instead of "Artest."

Quite the message to imbue in our mindsets as we watch games, I like it.

From the LA Times:

Anyone now making his acquaintance will be meeting Metta World Peace. Those on a first-name basis can call him Metta, while those a little further removed can buy jerseys with his last name of World Peace stretched across the back.

World Peace's publicist, Courtney Barnes, said his client had been contemplating the switch for years, "but it took many years of research and soul-searching to find a first name that was both personally meaningful and inspirational." Metta is a Buddhist term that means loving kindness and friendliness toward others.

I first heard of Metta World Peace as Ron Artest from the college St. John's. He was a wacky player, but I knew I was a big fan already. Then, the post-Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls drafted him, and he became a favorite player of mine, even in the days when this team was winning 15 games.

He established himself as a tough defender, a bit of a Kobe stopper. He sort of become known as the guy who broke Michael Jordan's ribs.

I was pretty sad when we traded him.

Then it started to seep out to the world that he was quite talented. He became established in the playoffs and his defensive prowess was something seen by more people.

It also started to seep out to the world that he was kind of crazy. There was a story that as a rookie he applied to Circuit City to get an employee discount. He apparently used to drink hennessy during halftime at Bulls game.

Then it almost became an established fact that he was crazy: he became known for his role in a brawl during a game in Detroit.

He was suspended an entire season without pay, which I thought was harsh. He was dismissed as a malcontent, a crazy, a label I didn't really like, cause I'd followed him for a while.

No matter, in retrospect.

He's slowly but surely built up his reputation again, first in Sacramento, then in Houston, and now as the infectiously happy championship-winning Los Angeles Laker.

And now World Peace.

Patch Adams: Being a Prick to Get Things Done

One dialogue I've always remembered and has shaped my attitude towards graduate school: you don't need to be a prick to get things done.

Best embodied and lesson made most memorable by the movie Patch Adams, based on the real-life medical school experiences of a doctor by that name.

In one scene there's a heated exchange between the easygoing, heavy-joking, radical-thinking Patch Adams and his uptight, born-to-be-a-doctor roommate, Mitch.

Patch: Why don't you like me? You're a prick, and I like you.

Mitch: Because you make my effort a joke. I want to be a doctor. This isn't a game to me! This isn't play time! This is serious business! I have it in me to be a great doctor!

In order to do that I have to sacrifice if I want to be better.

Patch: Better than me, hmm?

Mitch: I will save lives that could otherwise not have been saved. Now I could be like you and go around laughing and have a good time haha, but I prefer to learn. Because the more I learn the more likely I will have the answer at a crucial moment and save a life.

You say I'm a prick? You say I'm a prick? You know maybe I am. But you ask the average person when death comes knocking at their door whether they want a prick on their side or some kindergarten teacher who's gonna kiss their ass.

Because when that day comes, I want the prick! And so will you.

Patch: You know I forget how young you are Mitch, that you think you need to be a prick to get things done. You actually think that that's a new idea.
The scene in question begins at 45:22 in the video below.

Dennis Rodman

One of the most misunderstood pro athletes ever.

I first knew him through my basketball cards. I knew he was part of the Bad Boy Pistons that rivalled my beloved Chicago Bulls. I knew that he shared a birthday with my grandma.

I also knew that when the Bulls got him in October 1995 for freekin' Will Perdue, I knew the Bulls were going to be good.

How good?

They won a record 72 games.

I always remember how at 6'8, 210 lbs, he was able to render useless a 23-year old 7'1, 300 lb Shaquille O'Neal.

The video and song below represents his style of play: ugly, but pretty goddamned effective. We always expected him to make the dirty, but key plays. To a certain extent, I play kinda like him, except chopping off a little over a foot of height and various piercings and tattoos.

Recently, he was inducted into the basketball hall of fame.

He gave an intensely emotional speech, coming down from a bit of a wild, yet enigmatic public persona.

Paulino Alcantara

As a Filipino who came very late to soccer and likes the big bad Barcelona squad in the Spanish "la liga", it's quite something to know that the all-time leading scorer is a Filipino!  Paulino Alcantara!

Derrick Rose's First MVP Speech

22 years old and the Most Valuable Player award, the highest individual honor in the NBA, and a heartful shout-out to his mom at 5 minutes into the video.

I hope to do this with all the important folks in my life some day.

Stephen Colbert's Northwestern Commencement Speech

Key Quotes:

  • Thankfully, dreams can change. If we all stuck with our first dream, the world would be overrun with cowboys and princesses.
  • If you do get your dream, you are not a winner.
  • Now there are few rules in improv...You are not the most important person in the scene. Everybody else is. And if everybody else is more important than you are, you will naturally pay attention to them, and serve them...No one is leading, you're all following the follower, serving the servant, you cannot win improv.  And life is an improvisation.  You have no idea what's going to happen next and you are mostly just yanking ideas out of your ass as you go along.
  • And like improv you cannot win your life...
  • In my experience, you will truly serve only what you love, because service is love made visible.  If you love friends, you will serve your friends. If you love community, you will serve your community.  If you love money, you will serve your money.  And if you love only yourself, you will serve only yourself...and only have yourself.  So no winning.  Instead try to love others and serve others, and find those who will love and serve you. 

Guile's Cowardly Speech

I loved Guile's theme song and how noble it sounded. In my later years of studying US history, the theme song reminded me of FDR.

The choppy video below contains neither nobility, the theme song, or FDR.

Greatest Speech Ever

I don't know if it's the "greatest speech ever", but the images are stark, and the content is worth listening to.

A Community Wedding

If there's anyone that's a strong voice of the younger Filipino-American generation in LA, it's Johneric. He hosts the Tuesday Night Cafe projects, and his business, Park's Finest, is taking off.

If there's anyone that's a ninja within the Filipino-American generation, it's Christine. She runs the organization PEOPLE's Core, an environmental justice group, and does kali.

I've known Christine and Johneric for over 6 or so years, I met them thru a friend from Santa Cruz named Desiree. I know them mostly thru activism. They've done workshops on anti-imperialism and community-building.

They got married last November, as captured in this video below.

It was as inclusive a wedding as I ever got into. Like everyone I knew went. My godsister Cheryl, even hosted. They had their reception at the Griffith Park Friendship hall.

Christine + Johneric | Same Day Edit from Loyd Calomay Films on Vimeo.

Incidentally on their wedding day, I'd taken the bus from the San Fernando Valley to the wedding in East Hollywood. I landed in Griffith Park wondering when the next bus was going to come.

While waiting at a bus stop for about 10 minutes, zipping past me in the right lane, a bald man was yelling at me.

"Hey you going to the wedding? Hurry up and get in!"

"Oh shit yeah."

Driving the car, the lady who founded the Tuesday Night projects.

I got in and we ushered Johneric into his wedding.

Kindness Over Genius

I caught whiff of this piece by Kelly Tsai during an open mic, and I was blown away. Her message is something that grabbed me as a graduate student in this world of hyper-competition: what's important and rare to find isn't how smart people are, what's important and rare is to find someone who is genuinely kind.

Once Tongue Tied

A spoken word piece by Adriel Luis about women and their "ethnic make-up" with scenes from Pocahontas. It was mixed by some guy taking an education class named Sam Figueroa.

"Come Home Then"

Reading about students' reflections on their math experiences by Yolanda A. Johnson.

Johnson talked about how in pursuit of her doctoral degree, she called her dad. Her dad said nonchalantly, "come home then." The quote stayed on her mind.

Johnson explained, "come home, then" meant come home to the "safety net", a zone of comfort. The zone of comfort is a place of love and acceptance, but perhaps not a place for development.

Through those simple words, her dad inspired her to do the opposite. He was encouraging her, "Don't talk about it, be about it."

In the end she got her Ph.D and so wrote about this in retrospect.

The Interrupters

Below is a movie about gang and violence interventionists working in the city of Chicago for a program called Ceasefire.

The program's philosophy is that "violence is like a disease", which means that the people suffering from it "need to be treated."

I have watched a shed load of movie trailers. A shed load. And always with a cynical eye. But this is the first time I have ever applauded a trailer. (A trailer!) - perspicaciouscritic

I had the chance to watch it in its limiting showing.

I'm not a big movie watcher, but for me the two hours rolled and rumbled. Maybe it was a combination of a good documentary-making and the message that needed to be sent to audiences.

The program Ceasefire has their critics. Some would maintain that they're promoting gang membership. Or they'll be accused by community members of snitching to law enforcement.

From what I know, they've shown to be effective to the point where prisoners have heard about the program from inside their jail cells. Statistically, they've managed to slow down the killings and ease the tensions between folks.

For me the documentary showed that a lot of violence is fueled by a thirst for revenge, a fire that once raging isn't easily controlled no matter the situation. The revenge could be fueled by anything, for territories or for a person simply bumping into another person. The anger expressed over the "petty" situation is likely the result of a build-up of unexpressed anger over their various situations.

Through their networks and being "in the know", the Ceasefire workers, the Interrupters, found ways to step into those hostile and volatile situations. They relied on their street cred, and their own experiences with violence; they were just out there talking, chilling, mediating, preventing such drastic action.

The Random Black Girl Singin' the Soul

A social commentary on the business of musicals, with the singer, Patina Miller enacting all those stereotypes of black women.

Social commentary done right --- not necessarily attacking one thing or another, but expressing the experience, kicking in doses of humor.

Is It Ever too Late to Go to Medical School?

I ran into this topic last year while in the 1st year of my own grad school program.

If you don't know what reddit is, it's a community where LOTS of users make snarky one-liner comments in response to questions and links.  It's also a place where helpful comments can be made.  On occasion.

Comments, taken from folks who report being M.D.s and medical students:

Well, if you go into medicine now you'll be an M.D. by 36. If you don't, you'll still be 36. - soxfanpdx
No, is was not especially difficult to get back into things. In fact, I personally think being "older" when starting med school was advantageous in that regard. I entered med school with both a sense of urgency and the realization that I was doing what I wanted to do. Both of these things made the long hours of study easier. Also, I was recently married when I began, so I had lost the urge (for the most part) to spend my nights at bars/clubs/meeting people, which was a huge advantage over the younger students who were still on the tail end of the partying years.

In the end, I treated med school like a job, with homework. Lecture from 9-12, study at school until 4-5, come home, take a break, prepare for the next day from 7/8-10 and review what I needed on the weekends. Med school is work, but it's doable. - niridia
When I was an intern, I had three—three—co-residents who were older than fifty. They had all begun medical school in their late forties.
One had bummed around East Asia for a few years, teaching English, and then settled with her husband in the states as an Eastern Medicine practitioner.

Another had worked in medical labs her whole adult life.
The third had a PhD in chemistry and worked as a teaching professor for twenty years before deciding to go into medicine. - adoarns
My best friend in my med school class, I'm currently a 2nd year, is 45.
I apologize if you've mentioned it somewhere else in this thread but where do you stand as far as your prerequisite courses? If you didn't take them during your first time through undergrad then you have to factor in at least 2 more years getting the prereqs and then the mcat.
That said, go for it. My aforementioned buddy was an english professor, nothing to do with medicine at all and he did the same thing you are thinking of except he started getting the prereqs at like 41 years old.
Good luck, if you believe you can do it, you will. - markuscreek24
Of course there were negative comments.  Mostly about being a nurse or some kind of assistant to cut down on costs.  You can read more at the link.

Concerns for cost both time and money, the answer to the question posed above seems to be: non.

Business: Give Money Away?

So, here's an idea of drumming up business in this faltering economy.
This is the first time I have read a blog and of course the first post of any kind. As a 36 year old plumber I have been fired from every plumbing company I have ever worked for. All of them fired me after about a year. The reasons have all been the same, they asked my opinion about their problems and I told them the truth. It seems every company always has some sort of problems they deal with but never know the answers. The last job I had was running a new hospital project and after 9 months I was asked by management to get rid of half the plumbers and replace them with non-plumbers to drive down cost.

The short story is I said no way, it’s illegal and I want no part of it. I then said if they go over my head I will turn them in to the state dept. of health. Well, I was fired….With the economy the way it is no jobs are available. So with a family of 4 and a new house and $300 in checking I started my own plumbing company. Anyone who cares to listen here is what I have to say. Weeks went by with no customers calling and I didn’t know what to do.

We were out of money and my wife gave me a choice of getting a wal-mart type job or get out. That night I freaked out and was up all hours of the night just thinking and thinking. Then it came to me. My problem was simple, I was going about this backwards. Money is a stupid motivator, customers are the real motivator. So here is what I did. I went to a printer and had them print up a 1000 $50.00 gift cards on heavy paper stock all of them with code numbers. The next thing I did was go door to door and meet people one at a time. Ya, it was crazy at first but the people were blown away, they loved it. As of right now I am the number one plumber in a town of about 40,000 people and am looking to hire another plumber.

So whats the secret? Give people what they want. All these years I was right, most people let money motivate them and that creates poor decision making. I let the customer decide. The economy is tough so just give the customers what they want, money. People were so blown away they thought it was a joke. Think about it for a moment, have you ever heard of a business come to your door, shake your hand, and while looking in there eyes tell them you would like to earn the business and by they way here is a fifty dollar gift card that can be used anytime for any plumbing service they need.

When it’s all said and done I wished I would have done this years ago. I enjoyed the article about Mark Cuban but I think money is just a poor motivator, money is the result of good business practice. My wife by the way thought it was crazy to give $50 to everyone I meet, she was wrong, but now she is my biggest fan. That $50 is nothing when you consider a customer spends thousands during the course of a life time, not to mention they spread word of mouth business like fire. Mike my next question is how do I give out $50 gift cards for writing a bunch of posts.

That One Bob Guy...

And Why He Can

I dunno, I always laugh at this one.

He's embodies a combination of ordinary yet privileged, a distant demeanor perhaps conflated with pretention, which makes him the source of random, hidden microaggression.

The Story of William Kamkwamba

William Kamkwamba is a boy who had nothing but a bunch of spare parts, an old library book on electricity, and proceeded to bring electricity to his village via windwills.

I first came across the story of William Kamkwamba when I heard about this event showcasing these activist-type short documentaries called World Pangea Day. I posted my favorite shorts on my original blog.

Yeah, yeah, you probably heard him talk on TED, and now it's just so cool, trendy, and sophisticated to know who William Kamkwamba is.

Today, he's 22, and a student at Dartmouth here in the United States.  He continues projects to bring electricity to villages in Malawi.

He updates his blog regularly at:

Oscar Pistorius

A runner named Oscar Pistorius with prosthetic limbs could be the first amputee to compete in the Summer Olympics.

There has been much argumentation about whether it's fair or not. Some people thought/think that it would give him an unfair advantage (i.e. the prostheses would make him run faster).  I read this explanation by a doctor.

He highlighted one major disadvantage to having prosthetic limbs.
Even odder are the claims that runners on prosthetic limbs aren't as subject to injuries, given that they are missing feet, ankles and sometimes knees as well. Tell that to anyone that's ever been to a prosthetics clinic and dealt with the numerous complications of fit and form the imperfect technology leaves us with. There is endless tinkering to get things right. The statistics bear this out: Paralympic athletes endure nearly 60% more injuries than able-bodied runners.
What I most liked was a comment on the "normal" body in society.

Every "unadulterated" athlete has different biomechanical properties. Some have longer limbs, denser bones, slipperier tendons and double joints. The speed with which your body can clear the acid byproducts of metabolism and carry oxygen to your mitochondria are affected by cardiovascular training to be sure (confirmed), but there is a basic inequality set up by our very genetics.

In an 2008 NBC Sports promotional video, "Michael Phelps: Perfect Body," Bob Costas took this line of thought to an uncomfortable new level, describing the swimmer's physical features like his long upper body that forms a "sculpted V shape" and his "flat backside" as if he were a prize thoroughbred and praising his "superior genetics." The Olympics have always had this connection to body worship in a way, if only with fewer pan and zoom effects. Costas was in well-trod territory. At least our modern games are not performed in the nude.

Bob Ross and the Joy of Painting

The last post was full of innuendo, probably because she's a female. It'd be barely acceptable to make the same comment towards a man named Bob Ross as an upstanding member of the mostly-straight male brigade, but the point is, it's acceptable.

Like one of the comments below.

imagine him reading harry potter to you while you drink a hot chocolate.
im 19 and i know that would be magical - Mikeybetts

Lita and Massage Clips

Lita's voice.

The first time I heard her, I mentally gave myself up to her.

I wanted to have her kids.

You see why?

She has her website here, which does look kind of infomerical-ly. But I noticed that in watching several of her youtube clips, she actually responds to people.