Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Quote: Howard Thurman

Don't ask what the world needs. Rather ask -- what makes you come alive? Then go and do it! Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.

Motown star comes back to public stage as city councilwoman

Martha Reeves sang the hits like Dancing in the Streets and Heat Wave. But after some forty years in the record business, at age 64, she wasn't getting the amount of work she was accustomed to. It was quiet, too quiet. So she ran for and won a seat on the Detroit City Council (2005). Her platform: cut crime, build tourism. She credits Motown etiquette coach Maxine Powell, who many years earlier taught her to build a life outside of music, because when the money and fame are gone, you need something else. So she did, keeping her roots strong in Detroit, and now it paid off.

How is the new life as a neophyte working politician? Hard work. To keep pace, she takes copious notes in council meetings, and reads even more. (Her desk is stacked high.) Still, there are bumps in the road, such as when a local newspaper reported that several of her commercial properties had code violations (she fixed the problems).

Her term runs to 2010. Will she run again? Maybe, maybe not. But as a result of her new job, and the attendant publicity, her concert bookings have picked up again.

A blind man becomes history's greatest traveler

A British naval officer in the early 19th century, James Holman lost his sight at 25. He was granted a pension whereby his only duty was to attend church twice each day, but he found this intolerably boring. He set off for France -- alone -- to seek a cure. As he traveled, he regained a sense of dignity and wholeness. "I see things better with my feet," he said. A new book, A SENSE OF THE WORLD: How a Blind Man Became History's Greatest Traveler, by Jason Roberts tells his story. An excerpt:

He was known simply as The Blind Traveler--a solitary, sightless adventurer who, astonishingly, fought the slave trade in Africa, survived a frozen captivity in Siberia, hunted rogue elephants in Ceylon and helped chart the Australian outback. James Holman triumphed not only over blindness but crippling pain, poverty and the interference of well-meaning authorities (his greatest feat, a circumnavigation of the world, had to be launched in secret).

Once a celebrity, a bestselling author and an inspiration to Charles Darwin and Sir Richard Francis Burton, the charismatic, witty Holman outlived his fame, dying in an obscurity that has endured--until now. (from A SENSE OF THE WORLD

Basketball coach overcomes paralysis

Tennessee Tech basketball coach Mike Sutton was felled by GBS in April, 2005. His immune system turned on itself, and within days he was paralyzed, only able to blink his eyes. He said he felt like he was being buried alive. After months of hospitalization, then rehab, he was able to return to his post by December 2005. He was aided by a special wheelchair, walker, and assistants. His dedication was a powerful inspiration to players. One year later, his contract was extended for another four years.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Tennis player overcomes herniated disks -- with a nine-year layoff and a comeback to tennis

At 23, one year out of college, Marc Howard, a former Yale tennis captain was told he would never play tennis again. Two herniated disks in his lower back would prevent any running.

For nine years, he carefully obeyed the doctors’ dictum: no tennis. After he nearly lost a finger in a circular saw accident, he used the idea of playing tennis as a motivation to make it through painful months of healing and physical therapy. He had to play again, he says; it became a mantra.

One year later, he could hold a racquet. At first he played for 10 minutes, then 20, then 30. While his back was stiff, it didn’t feel any worse after his hitting sessions. Soon he was playing twice a week.

Tennis provided Howard, a college professor, with an escape from the dull ache he felt in his fingers, and it was good treatment for his hand. And for his back; it got stronger and stronger the more he played.

He became assistant tennis coach at Georgetown University, and plays club tournaments in Europe on clay on his summer vacations.

An amazing turnaround from a life sentence. He told the full story in January 2007 TENNIS magazine.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Quote: Vince Lombardi

"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." Vince Lombardi