Archive for July, 2011

If a Ball Bounces In the Forest . . .

July 15, 2011

I dedicated an earlier post to the Rube Goldberg-like contraptions that have sprung up in popular culture. Well, you can add this Japanese ad to the list. The ingenuity and creativity of human beings never ceases to amaze me.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes description of the ad from Engadget, a web magazine with obsessive daily coverage of everything new in gadgets and consumer electronics.

Sharp isn’t apt to sell but 15,000 of its Touch Wood SH-08C handsets, but after watching the ad below, you can bet there (more…)

A Free Ride Through Free Throws

July 14, 2011

Maturity. Generosity. Compassion. Empathy. Class. Allan Guei has all that in spades at eighteen years old. The above ESPN video interview with Guei showcases Guei’s character while the Yahoo! Sports story below describes Guei’s heroic act.

The event – a foul-shooting contest for top academic students at Compton High School in Los Angeles – was created with a simple premise: Organizers wanted to show the kids at Compton how to create community spirit with college scholarship money as the incentive.

Following a tear-jerking gesture from the winner – it appears the true lessons learned were by the adults.

The kids in Compton are more than alright.

Three months after winning the $40,000 top prize, Allan Guei donated all of (more…)

Who Needs Fingers to Play the Piano?

July 13, 2011

Imagine feeling that you were born to play the piano, even though you lived in such a small town that you had never seen a piano until you were sixteen years old.

Now imagine you were born without fingers on your right hand.

Now imagine how nineteen-year-old Zheng Guigui must have persevered to overcome enormous obstacles in order to find herself on (more…)

Paul Bunyan Land Lives On!

July 12, 2011

Paul Bunyan and me (I'm the one in the white shirt!)

Hurry and get to Paul Bunyan Land before it closes for the season!

I had almost completed my eighty-mile trip up to the Brainerd Lakes area to visit some friends last night when I noticed some inconspicuous road signage flanking what looked like a dirt path on my right. I glanced over as I passed and couldn’t believe my eyes. It was Paul Bunyan Land!

Here's what you see when you first enter Paul Bunyan Land

When my sister and I were kids, Paul Bunyan Land was on a par with Disneyland. There were rides (Tilt-a-Whirl!), carnival food, and chickens in glass booths who played the piano or shot basketballs. But the best part by far (more…)

Sign Up for Heroic Stories!

July 11, 2011

Yes, I know, your e-mail in box is full enough. I still say you should sign up for Heroic Stories, a free e-letter filled with wonderful stories of people being kind toward each other. Here’s a sample:

by Leslie Ligon of Colorado

Years ago, when Colorado was going through hard economic times, I lost my job and it took me six months to find another. My unemployment ran out, I had no income coming in, and I was behind on my rent.

Eventually I was evicted from my apartment, and my 7-year-old daughter and I were living in the car with everything we could fit in it.

We sold everything that wasn’t absolutely essential and used that money to buy food. We washed up in gas station bathrooms, and I tried to find well-lighted parking lots to sleep in. Even though it was still fall and hadn’t snowed yet, the nights were very chilly.

I got my daughter to school daily and put in more applications, giving a friend’s phone number for call-backs. I told my friend my phone was disconnected, but not that we were living in the car. I didn’t tell anyone that we were living in the car, out of embarrassment I guess.

After about two weeks, I found a job. I went to see the friend whose phone I’d been using, visiting her at the video store where she worked.

She told me I looked really tired, had big bags under my eyes, and asked what was going on. I told her the true story, and added that when I received my first paycheck in two weeks, I’d be able to rent an apartment.

I didn’t know that a young man was (more…)

Marvin Gaye Goes Legend With the National Anthem

July 10, 2011

I never thought one of my favorite songs would be The Star-Spangled Banner. But I find myself playing this Marvin Gaye version over and over again. It’s soulful. It’s mesmerizing. It’s electrifying.

In a first-person account, Todd Mintz described what it was like to be present for Gaye’s performance at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game. He wrote:

As Marvin was delivering that very first line, I felt like I was struck by lightning. I knew with certainty that I was witnessing something very special—a watershed cultural event that would be talked about many decades into the future.

Click on the audio player below to listen to a five-minute segment from the February 7, 2003 edition of NPR’s All Things Considered that goes behind the scenes with interviews from (more…)

Piano Prodigy Frank “Sugar Chile” Robinson

July 9, 2011

Why have I never heard of this kid? At the age of seven (seven!), Frank “Sugar Chile” Robinson lit up the 1946 film, No Leave No Love, with a jaw-dropping performance of the blues song, Caldonia. He was a national sensation until he quit touring at fourteen so he could go to school like normal kids. He retired from show business at the ripe old age of eighteen, although decades later, he surprised his fans with his first public performance in years.

Click here to read Frank’s amazing life story. Here’s an excerpt:

Born Frankie Robinson in Detroit on 28th December 1938, the youngest of seven children born to Clarence and Elizabeth Robinson, neither of (more…)

Almost Home

July 8, 2011

I loved this poignant and powerful  song the first time I heard it. I love the quality of Craig Morgan‘s voice and the lyrics are expertly crafted. It’s an excellent reminder that every human being, no matter how down and out, has a story and is worthy of respect. Whatever someone’s choices are today, they (more…)

John Manley on Stillbirths, Suicide and Reincarnation

July 7, 2011

John Manley

After years of grieving for his stillborn daughter, my friend John Manley, an author of metaphysical speculative fiction, stumbled upon a concept that at last healed his pain and brought him peace. Whether you agree with his conclusion or not is beside the point. What is important is to find a spiritual or religious path that feels like home to you, and actively work toward crafting a worldview that helps you make sense of the world.

Here, in three parts and in John’s own words, is his story.


On Easter Monday, 2005, around 9 AM, I received a phone call. “Mr. Manley, your wife is going in for an emergency c-section…”

It was too soon. Months too soon.

The hospital (where Nicole had already been admitted) was over 45 minutes away. By the time I arrived, it was all over. All efforts at resuscitating our newborn baby girl had been fruitless.

I’ve never been more upset over anything in my life.

Nicole and I went through a number of child loss books. Most of them too bloated for my liking and often off the mark from how I believe the universe operates. But one of those books, however, noted a survey that said that parents who believe in reincarnation recover far more quickly from the loss of their children.

Reincarnation, for me, has always (more…)

Your Intuition Is Smarter Than You Are

July 6, 2011

John, Nicole and Jonah Manley (photo by Mindy Gough)

My friend, John Manley, a fellow member of Self-Realization Fellowship, told me a powerful story about the importance of listening to your intuition. It gave me chills as he was telling it to me.

But first, a little background on John, who is an author of metaphysical speculative fiction. About a decade ago, he had been living in an SRF ashram in California for a couple of years. Determining that the monastic life was not his path, he moved back to his hometown of Toronto. He stayed there for two months before heading off to Italy for two years to study art. Every week, he attended an SRF meditation group in Toronto. On the day of a special commemoration service for Babaji, the first in the SRF line of gurus, he got off the subway and headed toward the center. Here’s what happened next, in his own words:

I saw a woman ahead of me and thought, Oh, I know her. I’ve seen her at the meditation group. So I came up to her and said, “Are you going to the Babaji ceremony?” She said, “The what?” She had never heard of Babaji. I said, “Oh, sorry, I thought you belonged to the meditation group I go to.” She said, “What meditation group is this?” I said, “Oh, it’s nothing.” She said, “No, I want to know about it.” So I told her about it as we were walking. As we neared the center, I pointed it out and said, “This is where it is. Sunday mornings they have a service if you ever want to come by.” I said goodbye and went in for the Babaji ceremony. She continued on her way to work.

Two years later, when I got back from Italy, I came to the center and there she was. Her name was Nicole. She had taken initiation and was a full-fledged member. She told me that after she had met me, she was very interested in what SRF was all about. Soon after, at a doctor’s appointment, her doctor said, “I have this book I think you’d like to read.” It was Autobiography of a Yogi. She thought, Something’s going on here. A few weeks later she (more…)

A Father and Daughter’s Second Chance

July 5, 2011

Forgiveness meets acceptance meets wisdom in this powerful story of healing between a father and daughter. The story, written by Patty Rose of Livermore, California, appeared in Guideposts. May you know the peace and joy of healing any relationships in your life that are in need of it.

She left home at 18, certain she’d never see her father again. Suddenly, with the help of God’s grace, she was caring for him like he’d never done for her.

Patty Rose and her father

The phone call came one cool winter day. It was the manager of the trailer park where my father lived. “Mrs. Rose, something is seriously wrong with your father,” he said. “Would you come down here and check on him?”

It had been a long time since I’d seen my father, and I wasn’t in any hurry to change that. I had left home years ago and never looked back. I married a good man and (more…)

The Walk

July 4, 2011

My dad, Kent Bolsta, and me

My dad, Kent Bolsta, and me

“The Walk” by Sawyer Brown never fails to move me, especially given that my dad took his own walk into a nursing home, where he eventually succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease. No matter (more…)

Your Vastness I Glimpsed

July 3, 2011

Life becomes simpler and more joyous when you surrender to divine will and ask to serve as an instrument of God, humble and steadfast. Vowing to live so that when others see and hear you, they see and hear God, is a tremendously liberating choice. Petty concerns and worries drop away and peace becomes your dearest friend.

Realizing that God is just behind every breath you take and every thought you think is an epiphany of epic proportions. Paramahansa Yogananda conveyed this realization brilliantly in this brief but powerful poem.


Your vastness I glimpsed
In the skies of quietness.
Your joy I tasted
In the fountains of (more…)

MS Mountaineer Lori Schneider Takes a Leap of Faith

July 2, 2011
Lori Schneider on Mount Everest

Lori Schneider on Mount Everest

On May 23, 2009, fifty-two-year-old Lori Schneider became the first person in the world with multiple sclerosis to summit Mount Everest. Lori is also the first person with MS to complete the “Seven Summits” by scaling the highest peak on each continent.

I video-interviewed Lori twice before in earlier posts. Click here to watch our first interview. Click here to watch our second interview.

Lori may have completed her Seven Summits goal but her mountaineering days are far from over. On July 10, she will be leading a Leap of Faith Adventure to Tanzania, Africa. Fourteen adventurous men and women with Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease will (more…)

Everyone Is Fighting a Hard Battle

July 1, 2011

Kindness, by definition, requires humility, purity of intent, and a willingness to put another person’s needs before your own.

Humility must accompany all our actions, must be with us everywhere; for as soon as we glory in our good works they are of no further value to our advancement in virtue.
Saint Augustine

An act of kindness tainted by your ego’s desire for recognition or reward will karmically (more…)