We live in an age of unprecedented options. Choice is difficult because it also means sacrifices must be made.
How do you make a choice to exclude someone from a list of people who have made the world a better place?
It is no easy feat, but I’m up to the task. Here goes …
Imagine being the parent of a child who has a severe form of cerebral palsy, is a quadriplegic and can’t utter a single word. Imagine what it’s like to get out of bed every morning to face your reality.
You probably don’t know this man’s name, but you’ve undoubtedly seen him and his son, Rick, in the news more than once.
Dick Hoyt and his son completed 72 marathons and 257 triathlons together, while forging a trail for disabled inclusiveness. Why would anyone do that? The answer is easy:
“When I’m running, it feels like I’m not disabled.” (Rick Hoyt)
Meter and Groove
The backbeat of one of the world’s greatest rock bands of all time.
A self-made man who never took a music lesson (and regretted it, much like Aretha Franklin), whose first love was jazz.
“It is a life that I have always, in a Hollywood kind of way, loved. The smoky night club, 4 o’clock in the morning, 52nd Street, (Charlie) Parker playing. When I first went to New York with the Stones, the first thing I did was to go to Birdland and that was it, I’d seen America. I didn’t want to see anything else. We got to Birdland and the rest of it was just waiting to go home.” (Charlie Watts)
Birdland was named after jazzman Charlie Parker, whose nickname was “Bird”. Despite financial scares and COVID troubles, Birdland still exists. If you go there, you’ll see all the greats in black & white photographs that fill every wall in the Club. Clint Eastwood, a musician in his own right, made a great biopic about Charlie Parker in 1988; starring Forest Whitaker as Bird, I recommend it highly.
Only just a few days ago, on December 21st, the lawyer who successfully argued Roe v Wade died at age 76.
It is hard to believe that Sarah Weddington was only 26 years old when she performed this incredible Supreme Court feat. One of the most famous American court cases of the last half century. No small potatoes.
“It was basically that there was a right of privacy that made it possible for women to make the decision about whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy.” (Sarah Weddington)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg said it well:
“I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.”
“Revising Roe” is a 2018 Netflix documentary everyone should watch.
News of Ms. Weddington’s death comes as the Supreme Court is about to hear yet another challenge to that very ruling. If you are the parent of any daughter, you may want to consider which state you choose to live in afterwards. Weddington remained firm in her belief that privacy should never be a state-by-state right.
And if you’re not up to date on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who was a fierce proponent of abortion rights, this documentary is a must:
On a more light-hearted note and, as we all know, Betty White died, on the very last day of 2021, at age 99.
“Betty White is one of the few people who walks into the room and you know her. You’ve known her all your life.” (Carl Reiner, American actor, comedian, director, screenwriter and author)
We all have fond memories of Betty. Mine are for her role as simple-minded Rose Nylund in The Golden Girls and blunt, man-lusting Sue Ann Nivens in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. But what I didn’t know, until recently, is how progressive a woman Betty White was in her day:
- She was one of the first female Hollywood producers
- She was one of the first women to ever be nominated for an Emmy
- In the mid-1950s, she hosted a daily talk/variety show, insisting that NBC allow her to hire a female director and an African-American performer, Arthur Duncan, as a regular cast member. When southern TV stations threatened to boycott the Show, Betty stood up and said: “I’m sorry. Live with it.” And she then gave Duncan more screen time
“Why do people say “Grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.” (Betty White)
Well said, Ms. White.
Netflix is presently streaming a summary of this important contributor to American broadcasting: “Betty White: First Lady of Television”.
Black is Beautiful
This renaissance man championed streetwear and hip-hop culture in luxury fashion, among many other accomplishments. Hats off to Louis Vuitton for seeing the opportunity to forge into uncharted territory with its first Black menswear creative director.
“We should forget the center. The edge is where the action is.” (Virgil Alboh)
Here’s an inspiring talk by The Man, given to architecture students at Columbia University. Watch all of it and you will be changed:
Here is a sample of Mr. Alboh’s other talent as a DJ:
There is so much more about Virgil to show and tell and discuss … but we will let the future define itself, instead of laboring on the past. This incredible American immigrant would have wanted that. They say the good die young; he was one of them, consumed by raging cancer at only 41 years old.
This is my melange. I hope it has inspired you to do more and be better in 2022. You are the master of how. Over to you.
Now challenge yourself and your friends to our Heaven-Bound Movers and Shakers Quiz of the Day, by downloading Quizefy from the app store if you haven’t already done so, then see how much you know and Strut Your Smart. Our Heaven-Bound Movers and Shakers Quiz is only available today, then it disappears. We’ll be back again every Tuesday with a special blog posted at www.quizefy.com, along with a new trivia quiz on the same topic as the blog. Don’t forget to follow Quizefy on social media, so we can remind you of the upcoming blog and quiz content.