Happy New Year!!
Wish you and your families a wonderful new 2017 filled with laughter and love.
I read many stories and articles, and watched TV and videos in 2016. Some stories were inspirational, memorable or informative that they stuck with me. While some stories made me ponder the world. And then there are those stories, photos, and little video clips that just made me smile or laugh. To celebrate the end of 2016 I have included sixteen (and a few more 😉😊) wonderful articles, stories and images of events that happened in 2016. I hope you enjoy these uplifting stories and that at the end of this post you will have learnt something new and have a smile on your face 😊. This post is long, but the stories are fast reads, and I’ve included links to the original articles so you can read the articles in their entirety. So grab a cup of tea, sit back, relax, and enjoy a fun read 😊.
Sixteen Memorable Stories of 2016:
1.Hillary Clinton Makes History from NYTimes.com Hillary Clinton Makes History as the first woman nominated for the presidency by a major party in the United States.
From New York Times: “Mrs. Clinton’s nomination — bringing women, barred first by law and then by custom, to the pinnacle of American politics — is to be celebrated as inspiration for young Americans, and as hope for women in nations and cultures that deny them the most basic opportunities. It is further proof that opening doors to women elevates and strengthens our nation, “Hillary Clinton Makes History as the first woman nominated for the presidency by a major party in the United States. From New York Times
Though Hillary Clinton didn’t win the electoral votes needed to win the Presidency (she did win over 2.7 million popular votes over Donald Trump), Hillary Clinton showed young girls across the country that YES! EVEN A GIRL CAN RUN FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! For this history making nomination, as a woman I want to thank Hillary Clinton for making it onto the ballot and for giving us the opportunity to vote for a woman of a major party to be President of The United States of America.
2. A Messiah for the abandoned sick from BBC.com This article is about a 60-year-old man named Gurmeet Singh who visits the abandoned patients’ ward every night at a free community hospital in Patna, India. He brings food and medicines that the hospital cannot provide to these poor patients. Gurmeet Singh is not a wealthy man by any means nor is he a doctor; still he sets aside money with the help of his five brothers who put away 10% of their modest monthly earnings in a donation box at home to pay for Mr. Singh’s patients. Mr. Singh has been providing his services for 20 years now. He hasn’t been on a vacation or stepped out of Patna for the past 13 years because he says he cannot abandon the abandoned.
3. Tragedy Made Steve Kerr See the World Beyond the Basketball Court from NYTimes.com Are you a Warriors basketball fan? If you are, then you know that a lot of credit can be given to Steve Kerr, the Head Coach of the Warriors basketball team for taking this raw, energetic team of young players and molding them into a stealth winning machine. If one didn’t know Steve Kerr’s family background, he would seem like an unlikely source of understanding on the situation in the Middle East and empathy towards other cultures especially the Muslims of the world. But once you read this article you can see how his family background has played a big part on his outlook on politics, religion, and life in general. Once you read about his childhood and how he was raised, you get a better understanding of his coaching style, which is interspersed with many life lessons for his team. This is a deep and thought-provoking article on a man who seems on the surface like any other sports coach, when in fact his life story is marred by terrorism, family loss, and an international outlook.
This wonderful interview with Steve Kerr, the Golden State Warriors basketball Head Coach is eye-opening, and contrary to what I thought about sports figures – “What does a sports coach know anyway about politics and the world.” This article showed a side of sports that is much deeper than just playing a game, it shows that coaches and players come from different walks of life, circumstances, religious backgrounds and ideology, and they do have opinions that they would like to express on and off the field – and it’s okay for them to do that – it’s their right to freedom of speech.
Steve Kerr has risen to prominence in recent years due to the young and energetic Warriors basketball team he has lead to championships. He has even had the honor of meeting President Obama. Did you every wonder what kind of background Steve Kerr comes from? Would you ever guess that his background is in part rooted in the Middle East? Would you guess that his birthplace is actually Beirut, Lebanon? Would you ever think that Steve Kerr’s Father’s family has been Americans living abroad in the Middle East region for almost 100 years? This article paints a captivating family history, is engaging and enlightening.
“Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and look at it from a bigger perspective. We live in this complex world of gray areas. Life is so much easier if it could be black and white, good and evil.” Steve Kerr.
In the article Kerr gives insights into his life with his father who was the President of the American University in Beirut in Lebanon and who got assassinated during a revolt in Beirut in 1983. Steve talks about his Father’s international life and the fond memories he has of visiting the Middle East as he was growing up. He talks about the Middle East with understanding and openness to the cultures in that region that many of us lack. To quote Steve Kerr: “It’s really simple to demonize Muslims because of our anger over 9/11, but it’s obviously so much more complex than that. The vast majority of Muslims are peace-loving people, just like the vast majority of Christians and Buddhists and Jews and any other religion. People are people.”
Kerr talks about his experiences growing up in both America and traveling to Lebanon during his formative years and how his Father, Malcolm Kerr was always a true believer in humanity and peace. To quote from the article Malcolm Kerr’s foreword he wrote in a collection of essays called The Arab-Israeli Confrontation of June 1967: An Arab Perspective: “The truly civilized man is marked by empathy…By his recognition that the thought and understanding of men of other cultures may differ sharply from his own, that what seems natural to him may appear grotesque to others.” Malcolm Kerr the President of the American University of Beirut (Father of Steve Kerr, Warriors basketball coach).
There is a lot of discussion this past year about the symbolic protests by sports figures like Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback to not stand for the national anthem over the killing of unarmed black men by police officers. I was one of those Americans who was against Colin Kaepernick for protesting in such a raw manner against the national anthem. But after hearing discussions from both sides, I have come to a better understanding on the issue and the stance taken by Kaepernick – there is no right answer, but I do agree it is every American’s right to dissent if they choose to. If the Supreme Court can rule that it is okay to burn the American Flag, Colin can choose not to stand for the National Anthem. Among those voicing his opinion on this matter is Steve Kerr in this article: “Doesn’t matter what side you’re on the Kaepernick stuff, you better be disgusted with the things that are happening. I understand people who are offended by his stance. Maybe they have a military family member or maybe they lost someone in a war and maybe that anthem means a lot more to them than someone else. But then you flip it around, and what about nonviolent protests? That’s America. This is what our country is about.”
Read this outstanding article in its entirety on how Steve Kerr has become the go-to voice in sports on issues of a larger meaning that affect this country. Check it out on NY Times online Tragedy Made Steve Kerr See the World Beyond the Basketball Court from NYTimes.com
50 Reasons to Love the World from BBC Travel: After reading Steve Kerr’s empathetic perspective on the Middle East I thought this article is the perfect follow-on story. The world is indeed a beautiful place and one day we will all learn to accept our differences in color, religion, culture, monetary status, and ideology and live in peace together. Here are 50 Reasons to love the world the way it is today from people who have fond memories of the places they have visited all over the world. 50 reasons to love the world!
4.106-Year Old Virginia McLaurin Dances With Joy at Meeting First Black President from USA Today and NBC Nightly News Hitesh forwarded this video to all of us, and I saw it on the evening news as well. 106-year-old Ms. McLaurin dances with joy at meeting first black president, President Obama. Ms. McLaurin is quoted as saying “I didn’t think I would live to see a colored president because I was born in the South and didn’t think it would happen. I thought I would never live to get in the White House. And I tell you, I am so happy. A black president! A black wife! And I’m here to celebrate black history. Yeah, that’s what I’m here for.” At this age she said she stays young and vibrant by always moving and volunteering 40 hours every week as a Foster Grandmother at the local Foster Care Center.
5. Tanzania’s Rift Valley. The Children’s Village. CBS news.com Mom with 94 Children and Counting! I saw this story on TV show 60 minutes. This is about an American woman named India Howell and her Tanzanian business partner Peter Leon Massy who have become the legal guardians of nearly 100 children in a remote village in Tanzania. For the last 10 years, children in need of care who are orphaned, abandoned or abused have found refuge in a mountainside village called the Rift Valley Children’s Village. India Howell describes her village and the kids who live there in this very compassionate way, “…My kids aren’t orphans. They’re not up for adoption. They never have been and never will be, because they’re home now.” This is a heartwarming story of two cultures – American and Tanzanian working together to make the world they live in a better place. Tanzania’s Rift Valley. The Children’s Village. CBSnews.com
6. Why Namibia’s lions take prey from farms run by racists. BBC.com This is a fascinating story. Predators like lions and leopards have increased in numbers in recent years in Namibia because of the success of Namibia’s conservation efforts. These wild animals however are unfortunately causing increasing problems for ranchers and livestock farms, as some of these wild animals prefer to eat well-fed beefsteak for dinner rather than catch tough chewy wild venison. And it seems farms owned by racists are targeted more by these lions and leopards. You wonder, how in the world do lions know if a farmer is racist or not? How can they selectively target just those farms owned by racists and prey on their livestock? Read the article to find out the answer to this curious animal behavior. Why Namibia’s lions take prey from farms run by racists
7. President Obama says: This is what a feminist looks like. From Glamour Magazine My friend Stella forwarded this article that was published in Glamour magazine in mid-October. It is a great read. President Obama voices very eloquently in this article how treating women with respect is a non-gender specific issue, and how change has to come from both men and women. President Obama looks at how far women have come in the last 100 years, and how we can be proud of what we have accomplished to date. He also discusses how having daughters has made him look at the world through their eyes, to see what opportunities they have at their feet, and how Michelle has done more than her share to take care of the family. This is an easy to read article, very relateable, and very current in addressing the issues and perceptions women face today in the workplace and in society.
To the First Lady, With Love. Four thank-you notes to Michelle Obama. NYTimes.com This article titled To the First Lady, With Love. Four thank-you Notes to Michelle Obama, Who Has Spent the Past Eight Years Quietly and Confidently Changing the Course of American History is written by four authors who share their opinions of the First Lady Michelle Obama and the role she has played in influencing the way America perceives women in the role of First Lady. “Michelle Obama embodies the modern, American woman, and I don’t mean that in any platitudinous or vague way. Rarely can someone express their many identities at the same time while seeming authentic…If feminism’s goal is equal opportunity and choice, Michelle makes me feel like every choice is available. You can go to Princeton and Harvard, you can rap with Missy Elliott, you can be a mother and a lawyer and a powerful orator. You can champion the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, while also caring about fashion. You can dance with Ellen and also fearlessly remind people, on live television, of the reality of your position…” Rashida Jones.
Love them or hate them, one thing most Americans will agree on is that the Obamas have lead this country with grace and dignity. We sure are going to miss them.
8. I got these amazing pictures from Hitesh during one of his business trips. This is the email I got from Hitesh when he was in London on business, “Check this out. I walked by this building in London. Read the sign on the left in the photo.”
On that same business trip Hitesh sent this text message and these photos, “In Geneva. Heading to a town called Lutry by train for a customer dinner. This is the view from my room in Lutry.”
9.The origin of the apple from BBC.com You’ve heard of the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Ever wonder where the apple first grew in the world? I always thought that apples originated in the western hemisphere because it is so much more popular in the European countries and in America. But as it turns out, apples originated in Central Asia. Go figure! From Central Asia the apple seeds got imported all over the world. Guess which country in Central Asia? In Kazakhstan. This is a fascinating article on the wild apple forests that grow in the interior valley of Kazakhstan, and the hundreds of varieties and flavors of apples that can be found here, all yet un-discovered until recently that is. This article also gives a brief history of how apple seeds were exported all over the world.The origin of the apple
10. Why I Would Raise Chickens from Gatesnotes.com This article was so timely for me. I had been talking to my friend Georgina about possibly raising chickens in my yard, especially as I had an enclosed area that I could raise them in – my vegetable patch that is. But after doing extensive research on how to raise chickens in a home garden, I tabled the idea. It’s a lot of work! It’s more work than having a pet, because you can’t put chickens in a pet hostel or have a pet sitter come and take care of them when you go on vacation.
What I found out is that raising chickens is an investment of time. Chickens have personalities, and just like people they get along with each other or they don’t. You have to watch for behaviors that cause distress in chickens, which can prevent them from laying eggs. You have to make sure the flock is happy and gets a good night’s sleep in a warm sheltered coop. You have to make sure their pens are cleaned so that the chickens have a clean and safe home. There are so many other chores that are required to make sure you have a happy family of chickens. You can’t just buy chickens and let them loose and hope for a great number of beautiful eggs. Raising chickens is like having a happy family home. I try my best to do that for my family, and I have to do the same for another family too? That is definitely a lot of work.
So when I came upon this story Why I Would Raise Chickens about raising chickens on Bill Gates’ blog, it got me intrigued. This is a wonderful article on how chickens provide so much well-needed food, income and a sustainable form of business in the poorer regions of the world. Who knew chickens are such positive animals to have around for so many people? Check out the article in its entirety Why I Would Raise Chickens
A follow-on article by Melinda Gates to the Bill Gates story on chickens and starts off like this: “Chickens in America have it rough. They’re the symbol of cowards. They’re the butt of corny cross-the-road jokes. Every kind of mystery meat is supposed to taste exactly like chicken. But if you ask a woman in a developing country about chickens, she’s likely to show a lot more respect. That’s because a chicken can mean the difference between a family that merely survives and one that thrives.”
This is a cool article by Melinda Gates about the great value that the humble chickens have for women in developing countries. Interestingly, chickens are very similar in character to women. Recent research on chickens has proven that contrary to what we think of chickens, they have the ability to empathize with chicks in distress, they form strong bonds with each other, and have the ability to express emotions like grief, fear, enthusiasm, friendship, and anxiety. Because chickens are small, they like to stay close to home, and in many cultures they regard chickens as a woman’s animal. However, despite their small size, chickens provide far-reaching income for women and their families in the developing world. Women who sell chickens and earn money from raising chickens are more likely to reinvest the profits in their families. This is an informative and enlightening read. The Small Animal That’s Making a Big Difference for Women in the Developing World
Bill & Melinda Gates Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom. From Geekwire.com. One more Gates related article that caps it all. When President Obama awarded Bill and Melinda Gates with the Presidential Medal of Freedom this year for all their humanitarian work, this is what he is quoted as saying: “These two have donated more money to charitable causes than anyone ever. Many years ago Melinda’s mom told her an old saying: ‘To know that even one life has breathed easier because you lived, that is success.’ By this and just about any other measure, few in human history have been more successful than these two impatient optimists. ”
It’s about time Bill and Melinda Gates received this award!! I thought they received this award ages ago, especially given how much they have done for people all over the world for over a decade now. All their humanitarian work to make people’s lives better deserves this award and every other award all combined!
Obama Awards His Last Medals of Freedom. From nytimes.com The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor. Other recipients of the medal this year included artists, sports figures, and scientists. Well-known names such as Ellen de Generes, Robert de Niro, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Robert Redford, Cicily Tyson, Bruce Springstein, and Michael Jordan were some of the recipients of this years award. President Obama attributed the success of these personalities in this way: “It’s useful when you think about this incredible collection of people, to realize that this is what makes us the greatest nation on earth…Not because of our differences, but because in our differences we find something in common to share. And what a glorious gift that is.” Obama Awards His Last Medals of Freedom. From nytimes.com
11.How to Bond With Your Little Nieces: When my brother Kiran visited me for a quick weekend trip with his little girls it took a little time for them to warm up to us. It was easier for my girls to connect with these little ones. But how does our guy Hitesh bond with our little nieces? He figured out an ingenious way to get them to bond with him, take a look at this video. Oh, and you are seeing double 😀😀.
This is how POTUS Bonds with Little Kids: Here are a couple of links of our President Obama and how he bonds with little kids. Obama and Kids. from Medium.com This next link is a video clip on the fun ways that President Obama connects with little ones. The last little kid is hilarious! Watch the little guy in the Superman costume call President Obama POTUS! It’s positively funny😀😀. That’s POTUS – Obama’s Funny Moments from youtube.com
12.Teenagers teach seniors technology from sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com is a story I saw while watching CBS Bay Area. It resonated with me because I saw my kids and my Dad in this story. He is always asking Anjali and Rani for tech advice and tutorials. That is what teenager Sruti Vishwabhan saw as a need in her community, a need for Seniors to learn how to use technology so they were better informed, better connected socially, and could participate in the larger technology conversation. Sruti started a club at her High School in Almaden where teens go out to the community centers in the South Bay and teach seniors how to use the computer, the Internet, and the ipad. She started the club at the Almaden Community Center where it was so well received that other Community Centers across the South Bay have adopted the program. Sruti is a senior now and is going to college but she has passed the baton on to other teens in her school to continue the club. Teenagers teach seniors technology from sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com
13. The Nerd Farmer: A Powerful Conversation on Schools, Poverty, and Race from gates notes.com The Nerd Farmer: A Powerful Conversation on Schools, Poverty, and Race is another Gates Blog post that got me thinking about education this time and the issue of race in this country. This article is about Nate Bowling, Washington State’s Teacher of the Year. Mr. Bowling uses Star Wars trilogy to explain the Civil Rights struggles in American history. Pretty neat, right? Wouldn’t you like to be in his class! I watched his video and how he used the Star Wars trilogy to make the history of civil rights relatable to today’s youth who have not experienced all the race struggles of the previous generations. The analogy was pretty neat and memorable. Mr. Bowling calls his style of teaching creating the “Nerd Herd.” To quote Mr. Bowling: “Never underestimate the power of nerddom.” Check it out, it’s a fast read. The Nerd Farmer: A Powerful Conversation on Schools, Poverty, and Race
14. Wish We All Could Be Californian from nytimes.com opinions page Wish We All Could Be Californian from California Today NYTimes.com is an awesome short article that explains how despite in California so many different cultures, people of color, and nationalities live together, how it is a wonderful example of a pluralist society in America today. Pluralism is defined by Marian Websters Dictionary as “A situation in which people of different social classes, religions, races, etc. live together in a society but continue to have their different traditions and interests. It’s the belief that people of different social classes, religions, and races should live together in a society.”
The article starts off like this: “San Francisco — THIS is going to sound very California, but here goes… All my life, I’ve seen strangers on California beaches — bearded bodysurfers drinking local Bourbon, Republican volleyball players eating vegan energy bars — trade warm glances that say, “I salute your lifestyle choices and respect your privacy.” After the election, those furtive nods implied nausea, terror and a compassion born of confidence that others felt much the same. Within that compassion, I sensed the emergence of something new in California public life: an awareness that we Californians are bound together as one people by the shared values of our increasingly tolerant and pluralistic society.” Brian Rea.
The article describes how Washington State and Oregon are kindred spirits to California on the West Coast. Wish We All Could Be Californian
Online readers of NYTimes.com vote California Governor Jerry Brown as Californian of the Year. When NYTimes online asked their readers to vote for the Californian of the Year, Governor Jerry Brown won by an overwhelming majority. In this article reporter Mike McPhate asks author Chuck McFadden who wrote the book Trailblazer: A Biography of Jerry Brown, what makes Jerry Brown such a popular figure in California. Chuck answered the question in this article as follows: “Jerry Brown is the son of a governor; he grew up in privileged circumstances; he is, by any measure, a member of the elite. Yet he somehow manages to be a populist. He says things the people want to hear, but retains his idealism — a remarkable combination of traits that makes him very popular. For three and a half years, he studied to be a Jesuit priest; after his first two terms as governor, he spent six months in Japan studying Zen; he sprinkles Latin phrases in his speeches and refers to St. Ignatius and Buddhism; he has always been an unabashed intellectual, unusual in a politician. Californians like politicians who are out of the ordinary — witness the elections of movie stars Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s doubtful someone such as Brown could be elected governor in, say, Iowa. But in California, he will have wrapped up 16 years as governor in 2018. Quirky state — quirky governor.” Check out this article for a list of other personalities nominated to be Californian of the Year, and to read more on our favorite politician Governor Jerry Brown. Online readers of NYTimes.com vote California Governor Jerry Brown as Californian of the Year.
15. Woman Who Lifted a Village from BBC.com This is a story of a woman named Shantha who with no formal education or experience, lifted an entire village in India from poverty by empowering the women around her. Because of her tenacity, her willingness to start small and work her way up and her initiative to want a better life for herself and her children, Shantha plowed forward despite her lack of education. She took a volunteer job at a local government office to gain experience of working in an office and she used her position to network with government workers and business people with the hopes that it would lead to better opportunities. The volunteer job exposed her to a wider world beyond her immediate family and community.
Though no job was offered her, she did learn of a microfinance initiative for small-scale projects and with the help of her colleagues she developed a business plan and won a stipend to start her own women-owned small business – in this case it was to buy cows to make milk-based foods. She tried to recruit other women in her village to be part of her group, but had a hard time recruiting them, but she didn’t give up. Shantha persisted in convincing women to start taking ownership of their own lives and successfully recruited 20 women in her village (some who were abused by their husbands and were afraid to leave) to become part of her small business. Shantha’s success has encouraged other women in her area to follow suit. Shantha’s son Manikandan says of his Mom “I remember how hard my mother worked to start the women’s group. If my mother had not started this group… I doubt I would have finished high school. But because she took these initiatives, I was able to go to engineering school and graduate. And now I work as a technical officer at a reputed company.”
Now Shantha tutors other women in neighboring villages on how to start a home business and how to get loans from banks and government programs. Woman Who Lifted a Village
16. Lastly, if you are like me and have been enjoying all the holiday festivities and eating more than normal, you will relate to this sign I saw hanging at our local Philz Coffee shop. 😀😀
🍹 Happy New Year! 🍸