Friday, August 20, 2010

"At the risk of seeming ridiculous . . ."

Sometimes like this morning, I find myself trying to control my anger towards the rich and their control over the economy and how they can easily decide who and who does not prosper. The thoughts of the greed that flows in their veins make me sick. The abuses and oppression they rain down on workers everyday leaves me feeling helpless. Before long I start questioning whether my forty year of activism (which began on August 29, 1970) and the efforts of thousands more are actually having any impact on these social ills. Then I start thinking about simply giving up the fight. It is when I get to that low point I quickly re-read a letter a hero of mine once wrote and I immediately find the courage and inspiration to fight on. After reading the letter a few minutes ago, I decided to post some of it so that when you have similar days you too can find the inspiration you need to fight on by reading his words. Here are excerpts in abbreviated form of some of the words in his letter. Enjoy. "At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolution is guided by great feeling of love. It is impossible to think a genuine revolution lacking in quality. Revolutionaries must idealize this love of the people, of the most sacred causes, and make it one and indivisible. In these circumstances, one must have a great deal of humanity and a strong sense of justice and truth in order not to fall into extreme dogmatism, cold scholasticism, and into isolation from the masses. We must strive every day so that this love of living humanity will be transformed into actual deeds, acts that serve as examples, and a moving force. We must not descend to the level of small doss of daily affection." -- Ernesto "Che" Guevara (March 12, 1965, letter to Carlos Quijano, editor of Marcha).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Words We Unintentionally Misspelled That Got Us In Deep Trouble.

This morning I wrote a letter to a client that contained a typo. Wth Spellcheck I found the mistake and corrected it before I sent the letter to the client. But sometimes Spellcheck does not catch the mistake, because we may have used an actual word. What I mean is that Spellcheck will not flag a correctly spelled word and the document will go out with a word we did not intend to use. This got me to think about how simple misspelled words that are not discovered sometimes get us in deep trouble that we never intended to happen. Take me for example, I once type in an extra "m" next to the letter "r" when I intended to call someone a moron. Here is an example of what I wanted to write; "John acts like such a moron when he drinks too much." Another example, I once typed an "f" and an another time an "s" when I wanted to use the word luck. Here is what I intended to say; " John went to Las Vegas last weekend and had good luck." Another time, an old college girlfriend of my made a mistake that almost gave her mother a heart attack. When the old girlfriend received a letter from her mother asking her if she had a boyfriend in college, she meant to reply "yes, I have Steven." But she forgot the "t" in my name. How about you guys. Have you had any such experiences with simple misspelled words not caught by Spellcheck?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Top Ten Reason I Stunk at Being a Vato

Most people who know me know I grew up on a violent street in East Los Angeles. A few of you who know me know I tried very hard to be a gang member. Only one or two of you know that I actually stunk at being a Vato. So, I thought I would give all of you the top ten reasons why. Number 10. The very first time I spray-painted my name on a wall two Los Angeles County Sheriffs were standing right behind me. Number 9. I honestly thought tubes of glue were for building model airplanes and cars. Number 8. I secretly enjoyed Jazz and Rock 'n Roll music more than the Oldies. Number 7. Wearing a Pendleton shirt and a wool cap in the summer made me sweat to much. Number 6. I though it was plain stupid to spray starch on a pair of Levis and to put creases on the front of the legs. Number 5. Very time I heard someone say "Homes" I could not stop thinking about the porno star with the same last name. Number 4. I could never look cool because I had to wear a catholic school uniform and carry home books from school. Number 3. I once found keys to the neighborhood liquor store but I actually returned them to the owner. Number 2. My father always made me get a "two-line" haircut just like the one JFK had. Number 1. My first car was a 1964 MG Midget while everyone else had a Chevy.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Top Ten Warning Signs the End is Near

Number 10. We learn Corona Beer really does contain human urine but we never noticed because we drink it with a lime. Number 9. The United Nations invites Yogi Berra to speak about the future of the world and he says "it ain't what it used to be." Number 8. Airline travelers vote LAX the best airport in the world. Number 7. Drug lords win the presidency and every state governorship in Mexico; they appoint generals and police chiefs and peace reigns throughout the land. Number 6. Goldman Sachs legally owns and operates a casino on Wall Street and it is named the "Oracle." Number 5. The Los Angeles Clippers repeat as NBA Champions. Number 4. Walmart encourages its employees to join a union. Number 3. Just as we do in our elections, the chickens vote for Colonel Sanders. Number 2. A real pig wearing lipstick becomes a serious candidate for the U.S. Senate. Number 1. Aliens from outer space held in Area 51 and Roswell stage peace hunger strikes to bring attention to their overcrowded living conditions and charges of sexual abuse.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Top Ten Reasons Some Men Will Vote For Sarah Palin

10. She looks hot when she dresses in her husband's hunting clothes. 9. She catches fish with a wink and a net. 8. She'll use the power of the Presidency to get back at her nasty in-laws. 7. She quit her last job and told the people who hired her to shove it. 6. We get to see her rise up on her hind legs and act like a Mama Grisly. 5. She knows cave people lived with dinosaurs just like the Flintstones. 4. She enjoys shooting animals with a rifle from a helicopter. 3. She uses simple words even if she has to make them up. 2. She knows she is not smart and never pretends to be. 1. She has big cojones.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It only takes a moment to change your life.

This morning over coffee with family someone said it takes only a moment to change someone's life. The content of the comment was made during a discussion on how quickly a young person can go from an adolesent to an adult based on a single experience. Although I was quick to agree with the comment simply based on a common sense reaction, I later tried to recall my own one minute of life changing moment. Within a few minutes I nailed it.

Several years ago a cousin was murder on the street where I spent most of my childhood. He was my role model, my protector, and everything I envisioned a brave and proud man represented. At the time of his death I was in my early twentys. This was in the early to mid 1970's when I lived in a small town in Orange County working for an electronic factory. Three years earlier I left East Los Angeles to escape years of street violence, drugs, gangs, and boredom. I thought in the process I may find the purpose of life because I thought life had to be more than simply surviving to the next day. Then one day while visiting family I received a phone call that my cousin was being taken to the County Hospital.

When minutes I arrived at the hospital to find my cousin in post-op and heard the nurse say he would die at any second. I walked into the room alone (although I was with my father but he did not want to walk into the room) and I immediately saw my cousin on a bed with his head wapped in bandages. I later learned that his head had been savagely beaten open with a metal object. As I stood by the bed staring at my cousin a nurse suggested I touch his body before he died, which I did. Immediately upon placing my hand on his chest I felt a fast flow of energy go up my arm and into my chest. At the same moment my cousin passed-away. I quicklly turned to the nurse who had suggested I touch my cousin but he was no way to be seen.

It was at that moment that my life changed forever. I immediately became convinced that I had to commit my life to something greater than myself and to help my community and this world a better place to live. Within weeks I had quit my job, sold all my belongings and enrolled in college with the determination of becoming an attorney. Within a few months I became very active in the struggle to bring about social and economic change for working people, which I am still doing today as a labor law attorney representing some of the most progessive and creative unions in Los Angeles. Yes at that moment my life changed forever.

So, I ask you this question. What was your life changing moment?