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The Pot Plank and Presidential Politics

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The Marijuana Policy Project came out with its report card for 22 presidential candidates and hopefuls this week and the headline is that no one is sticking their neck out very far when it comes to the legalization of marijuana or the loosening of federal pot laws. Admittedly, this is not the biggest issue on anyone’s presidential platform but as more states jump on the bandwagon, voters will be demanding a pot plank as the 2016 race gets underway.

Republican Rand Paul stands out in the crowd for supporting the rights of states to establish marijuana policy and also for being a voice for decriminalization, legalized medical marijuana and access to banks for marijuana businesses. The MPP voter guide sends him to the head of the presidential class with an A-. On the other hand, the MPP gives Republicans Chris Christie and Rick Santorum an F for saying they will enforce federal laws to crack down on states that have charted their own course in legalizing pot.

Democrats Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb are taking a wait and see approach to the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in Colorado and other states. They get B grades from the MPP. Republican Rick Perry also gets a B for supporting state rights to establish their own policies and working to reduce pot penalties in his home state of Texas.

Republicans Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina get C+ grades for accepting the right of states to create their own policies despite opposing the legalization of the drug for any kind of use. New York Republican George Pataki, who also opposes legalizing marijuana for all purposes, still gets a C for saying he’ll keep the federal government from interfering with states that vote to legalize pot, as long as it stays away from kids and doesn’t upset neighboring states. Republicans Donald Trump and Lindsay Graham get C’s for supporting only medical marijuana. Republican Bobby Jindal gets a C- for only supporting limited medical marijuana and would be candidate John Kasich gets a C- for not even supporting that.

Continuing the “gateway drug” narrative has earned Democrats Martin O’Malley and Joe Biden a C- and D respectively. Republicans Scott Walker and Ben Carson also get D grades for not giving up on the theory. Florida Republicans Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio and Arkansas Republican Mike Huckabee, who oppose the legalization of marijuana for any purpose, get D’s as well.

According to Marijuana Policy Poject Communications Director Mason Tvert “voters should know which candidates support rolling back prohibition and which ones are fighting to maintain it. People are becoming increasingly wary of the federal government’s role in our nation’s marijuana policy.” Indeed, the disconnect between state and federal laws has been one of the biggest challenges dogging the young industry. “If states are to be our nation’s laboratories of democracy, our next president needs to respect their right to experiment,” Tvert said. “They should be committed to basing marijuana laws on science and evidence instead of ideology and politics.”

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Gone to the Dogs

My friend, Niza Knoll, has an art gallery in the Santa Fe Arts District in Denver.  Knoll Gallery is a fantastic array of creativity and is emerging as one of the best galleries in Denver (in my humble opinion.)  Each year Niza does a juried exhibit featuring art on dogs.  Gone to the Dogs 3 opens this Friday, August 19, and runs through September 17.  I asked Niza why she does this particular exhibit each year.

“I grew up with dogs and always loved their company when I came home.  They give us unconditional love.  They fill an empty spot in my life.  I like being needed.  It always fascinated me that a creature so different than us can connect with our feelings and moods and be able to live with us.  I have always connected more with people that like dogs or cats so I thought it would be fun to share my love for this amazing creature with others.  It really has been lots of fun and I have met some great dog lovers.”

A couple of springs ago I was fortunate to have an exhibit at Niza’s gallery and I had a couple of dog photos that I took on display.  The chihuahua on the sidewalk was taken at Union Square in San Francisco, California. I loved how this pampered pooch was in complete lockstep with her owner. She was a little diva of a dog.

The other photograph was taken in Talkeetna, Alaska.  Talk about a dog and master looking alike. What characters!

Hope you can make it to see Niza’s show.  Her gallery is at 915 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, Colorado, 80204.  The Denver Dumb Friends League will be there with adoptable dogs so maybe you’ll come away with art and a pup to love.

For more information on Vicky Collins visit Teletrends Television Production and Development.

To see more photographs visit Vicky Collins Photography.

 


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How to Live Forever

Want to live to be a thousand years old? It’s not far fetched at all if you ask theoretician and geneticist Aubrey de Grey. He believes within the next 25 years there is a 50/50 chance we’ll have the technologies to extend human life indefinitely. I learned of Aubrey and his ideas in 2005 and immediately pitched the story to NBC’s Today Show. They were intrigued. With the help of correspondent Kerry Sanders and the London bureau, we went out and interviewed Aubrey in a pub in Cambridge. When we finished the story we sent it in to the show. It was promptly killed. Too out there for a mainstream audience. Plus it didn’t help that Aubrey looked like Methuselah.

Aubrey de Grey at his SENS Foundation laboratory in Mountain View, CA.

Fast forward to 2011 and there Aubrey was in the news again.  This time I pitched the story to HDNet’s World Report. The program is always looking for stories that deal with interesting issues and are not widely told. This time correspondent Willem Marx met up with Aubrey in a pub in Cambridge and also went punting with him on the Thames River. For my part, I finally got to meet Aubrey at his SENS Foundation laboratory in Mountain View, California. He is tall and wiry and moves like someone with no time to lose.  He lovingly strokes the beard which hangs almost to his waist. I asked him if his distinctive look helped or hurt him as he went out in the world trying to win over scientists and venture capitalists to support his work. He said it helped because people looked at him and saw a guy who is not materialistic in the least. It’s very clear to them that he is not doing this to get rich.

Through his SENS Foundation non-profit, Aubrey and the scientists who work with him are creating an intersection between research on the biology of aging and regenerative medicine. By doing experiments with the building blocks of cells they hope to someday develop treatments that repair the damage caused by aging, and restore people to a state where they are biologically younger than they were when they started. In other words, people could live out their entire lives as healthy as young adults. Five years ago, the scientific community considered his ideas kind of kooky but now the research is catching up with his theories and Aubrey is gaining credibility. “This is not science fiction anymore, this is science forseeable,” Aubrey proclaims.

Of course the implications are mind boggling but Aubrey brushes them off. “People always say hang on. If we stop the problem of aging we’re going to have a whole lot of other problems. We’re going to have overpopulation or dictators who live forever, or how will we have the pensions, or won’t it be boring. If I want to be flippant, I say those are problems I’d like to have, thank you very much. Ultimately I don’t see people who want to get cancer or Alzheimer’s disease or cardiovascular disease or Type 2 Diabetes or any of these things we are going to prevent by curing aging. I don’t meet people who want any of those things so I find it frustrating when people take the view we’re going to create the problems and refuse to adopt any sense of proportion about this and accept the problem we have today is a big one, a problem that kills 100,000 people every day, most of them after a long period of ill health and disease and debilitation and dependence and decrepitude. It’s pretty clear that the problem we would solve is quite a big one, and yes, the transition to a post aging world is going to be a big one, and the more forward planning we do to make it less turbulent the better, but the transition to the industrial revolution was pretty turbulent too, yet there aren’t many people who believe the industrial revolution was a mistake.”

If you want to learn more about Aubrey de Grey and his work and vision tune in to HDNet’s World Report on Tuesday, May 17th at 9 p.m. ET/7 p.m. MT.

For more information on Vicky Collins visit Teletrends Television Production and Development.


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A Westerner Ponders Arranged Marriage

One of the most interesting things I read in the newspaper while in Delhi was the matrimonials in the Sunday Times of India.  The section consisted of page after page of personal classifieds by families unapologetically seeking the perfect made to order husband or wife for children whose time has come to make a love connection. Some of the ads were very specific.  They spelled out criteria of caste, looks, religion, region and education.  Some ads were placed by families that spent a fortune sending children to the finest colleges and universities in India and abroad.  On the market were Drs., MBAs, and Ph.Ds who studied in prestigious schools in the U.S.A. and U.K. and now were ready for a mate.  Some families who were shopping for love were less particular.  Caste no bar meant that a boy or girl would marry outside of the caste.  In several ads families were requesting “homely” girls.  “Why would anyone want a homely girl?” I asked.  “In America a homely girl is plain and unattractive.”  “No,” my friends informed me.  “A homely girl is one who wants to stay at home.  Not a career woman.”  Do people really meet their soul mates through these ads or is it just families marrying other families, putting medieval rituals ahead of the happiness of their children?  “It is a tradition,” a young man I met in Jodphur told me.  “Those are for people who are desperate,” one of my colleagues said.

Finding a mate in India is definitely a family affair and most marriages are still arranged.  It is easy to impose our western values on India and decry this practice, but India is a country where family comes first and that means who children spend their lives with seems to be everybody’s business.  So in a country with 1.2 billion people it might just be more practical to launch a marketing campaign, especially when you consider the drama involved when young people try to find Mr. or Mrs. Right or Singh or Patel themselves.  Names are not included here to protect the innocent.  Some of the people I spoke with are hiding things from their parents (and as I’ve found out people actually do find and read blogs.)

A young army captain I met on a train told me how he found his wife escorting a friend’s sister home on a bus from the south of India.  They fell in love and wanted to wed but her parents refused to have her marry a man in the military.  Mind you this was a charming, intelligent, handsome man who wrote poetry, for goodness sakes.  He decided to send her father letters every day to prove he was worthy.  Dad finally brought the case before the entire extended family (and it was a very large one) and the council of in-laws gave their consent.

Another couple I know went through alot of drama with parents as they tried to marry.  He pursued her for many months and could not get her off his mind.  She took a great deal of convincing and played very hard to get.  At one point he told his parents it was over.  When she popped up again in his life his parents refused to even consider her.  They eventually married but I am told there was tension at the wedding and there still is a cloud over their union today, mostly because they broke tradition by moving into her families house after the marriage rather than moving into his families house.  Parents have a say in this too, it seems.

As we walked through the old city of Jaisalmer, a man I met told me about the love of his life who got away.  She was a woman from California who was there for three years doing social work.  They lived together and he wanted to marry her.  His parents refused and when he honored their wishes, she left.  That was six years ago and he has lost track of her now, but still longs for the relationship.  He is unhappy in his arranged marriage.  He says his wife is very selfish and treats his children badly.  They are now separated.  He asked me “Do you think I made a mistake, giving her up for my family, or should I have given up my family for her?”  I told him I thought he would have had regrets either way.

My Muslim rickshaw driver in Jaipur told me that he was dating a Hindu woman for a couple of years.  They were having a great time and his family didn’t mind at all.  But her family did so mom and dad forced them to break it off.  He says he doesn’t care what faith someone is.  All people are the same and as long as they treat each other well and make each other happy nothing else should matter, but obviously her parents did not agree.

A colleague of mine has been dating a young man for six years and intends to marry him but her parents don’t even know him because they will not approve.  When a family friend told her parents he noticed her with this boy at a bus stop a few years back they tightened the screws.  Another colleague’s parents seldom let her out of the house alone after about 8:30 p.m. in the evening making it nearly impossible for this 19 year old to have a relationship.

Western women would certainly never put up with all this meddling from parents, but the good news is even as fundamental traditions have stayed the same, the practice has evolved and women say arranged marriage can work.  A young mother and IT professional I met on the train back from Jaipur to Delhi was telling me her marriage was arranged.  Her parents placed an advertisement in the matrimonial section of the Times of India and that’s how she met her husband.  But instead of being passive in the process she was highly involved and could have walked away from the arrangement at any time.  Her husband could have walked away too.  They didn’t, and after a brief courtship, she is now happily married and living with her husband and first born child in the United States.  Arranged marriages are still the way most people hook up in India (even the Prince, grandson of the Maharajah of Jodphur, will have an arranged marriage when he weds.) Matrimonial websites like http://bharatmatrimony.com and http://shaadi.com are booming, but in this day and age, more young people are asserting themselves in their love life, especially those who are educated and don’t need to settle for less.

If someone hasn’t already thought of this, I think a great idea for a Bollywood musical would be an Indian adaptation of “Fiddler on the Roof.”  If you recall Reb Tevye had three daughters and as each one chose a husband they made choices that made their father progressively more uncomfortable.  Each daughter followed her heart and Tevye had to adapt.  I think that really sums up what’s going on in India today as many young people work around their parents or at the very least, alongside them to find partners.  Of course, arranged marriages can turn out badly.  If the wrong partners are found people can be miserable or abused.  That happens when we self select our partners too.  Still, choosing a spouse continues to be a family affair in India and for what it’s worth maybe having mom and dad involved can be helpful.  Maybe working backwards, marriage then love, can be possible.  Just look at the statistics.  Although divorce is starting to be a bit more prevalent among the upper classes of India, on the list of countries with the highest rates of failed marriages (America is #1) India isn’t even on the radar.

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com.


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Earth Day: From Farm to Table at Yosemite

During the Clinton Administration there was a move to green up the national parks.  One of the mandates was to source food locally.  Today one of the most successful examples of this is Yosemite National Park.  All the concessions are run by Delaware North and it has chosen not to go with commodities but rather to buy the produce, meats, eggs and dairy from local growers within a 150 mile radius of the park who use organic standards.  Yosemite’s restaurants and concessions use the goods exclusively. 

The relationship between Yosemite and small growers is reaping a harvest of good.  Yosemite is helping support small businesses so that they can be sustainable.  Yosemite also features them on their menus and educates the public about their contributions.  Visitors to the park are able to have a connection to food and “eat their view.”  The restaurants are able to offer menus with the freshest seasonal products at lower costs because they are not passing along shipping to the guests.  For example this past spring The Ahwahnee had a four course prix fixe menu with seasonal food for $45.  If they had used commodities the same menu would have cost $65 to $70.     

When Percy Whatley became the executive chef of The Ahwahnee he realized he could save money with commodities but chose not too.  He had lived off the land when he was young and helped push the park to go organic.  With him as a catalyst, the park has come to realize the importance of buying locally and serving food from farm to table.  Yosemite buys from larger growers like TD Willey in Madera but they also work with small growers and customize menus so they can purchase product that they have available.  For example Brenda Ostrum of Mountain Meadows Farm in Mariposa plants more varieties of heirloom tomatoes requested by Yosemite and Seth Nietschke of Open Space Meats in Hornitos says the chefs work with him to buy what he has available.  TD Willey agreed to plant fennel and fava beans at Yosemite’s request and Percy buys it all.  The relationship is very symbiotic for Tom and Denness who plant 75 acres and are finding more and more pressures that are driving medium sized growers out of business.

It has also been a huge boost to small growers who are finding the economy difficult at the moment.  Clients are buying less so to have an anchor client like Yosemite is good for their farm economy and also the economy of their communities.  Brenda Ostrum who started farming around the same time Percy took over The Ahwahnee says that what makes small farms viable is support of the local community and people like Percy.  She has only 5 acres for her eggs, chicken and tomatoes.  Seth has only 40 to 50 head of cattle and employs two people.  They are sustainable in part because of Yosemite’s mission.  Farmers are proud to be associated with Yosemite and believe this is a natural marriage.  Yosemite is on the cutting edge of this trend and visitors benefit because they are able to not only enjoy pristine wilderness but also the unique flavor of the region.

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com.


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Greyhound Bus to Vancouver

This blog was born so that I could post to my friends, family and anyone else interested from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Now on the eve of 2010 Olympics, as I prepare to board an airplane for British Columbia, I find myself blogging again and reflecting on the only other time I was in Vancouver. I was 10 years old and my great uncle Jacques, who lived in Canada, was getting married. My great grandmother, Daisy Peraya, would not fly on a plane so four generations boarded a Greyhound Bus in Long Beach, California and spent the next 36 hours heading up the coast to Vancouver.

I am certain that this is where the seeds of my wanderlust were planted. I loved looking out the windows at the rugged coast and pulling into Oregon and Washington bus stations at 3 in the morning.  I was mesmerized by the people along the way with character written on their faces and smoke coming out of their mouths.  More than anything else I loved talking to the teenage girls in the back row. They regaled me with the stories about running away, sex, boyfriends and bad behavior. I was flattered that they would tell me secrets only older kids knew.  I aspired to be free just like them. 

I don’t really remember much about the wedding. My most vivid memory of Vancouver was going with a 17 year old distant relative/hottie named Boris to the Pacific National Exhibition. The PNE was a huge provincial fair and I developed the biggest crush on Boris as we were hurtling down the largest roller coaster I had ever dared to ride.   I literally “fell” in love.  I’m certain the Olympics in Vancouver will be another great adventure and I will do my best to share them on this blog.

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com.


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On The Shoulders of Giants

Vicky Collins and Larry Hatteberg

In the room were the legends of photojournalism.  Darrell Barton, Larry Hatteberg and the memory of Bob Brandon.  There were also hundreds of others who had been influenced and inspired by the man we gathered to remember.  I did not know Bob Brandon.  I worked with him only once.  When he died in December 2009 I was struck by the outpouring of accolades for him.  I had no idea he was so inconic and respected.  I went to his memorial service to learn more about this master storyteller.

They say a man is known by the company he keeps and among Bob Brandon’s closest friends is a man who, more than any other, has influenced the storyteller I am today.  I met Larry Hatteberg when I came to Wichita, Kansas in 1981 to be a news producer at KAKE TV.  Prior to that I was a production assistant at KRON TV in San Francisco.  Part of my job description was to make coffee.  I had never produced a show.  I was as green as could be.  At one point Larry told me I reminded him of Jane in “Broadcast News.” 

I made so many mistakes in my early days as a producer but one of the smartest moves of my career was to study how Larry Hatteberg crafted stories.  Larry taught me to write to pictures and natural sound.  He showed me how to be intimate with subjects and respect them.  Even if he was interviewing a dirt poor farmer for “Hatteberg’s People” he never condescended and always listened carefully to what they had to say.  Every person he met could inspire and teach us how to live a better life.  And when he edited he laid the pictures and sound down first then added the words to finish the piece.  Larry did this in a two minute story or a documentary.  Pictures always led.

The enduring legacy of Larry Hatteberg, Bob Brandon and Darrell Barton is they set the standard for television storytellers and continue to raise others up to be the best they can be.  They teach and inspire and the room today was full of their students.  While we all socialized, Ben McCoy, one of the finest photojournalists I know, came up to Larry to shake his hand.  We all stand on the shoulders of giants.  I’ll never know what Larry Hatteberg saw in a scrub like me.  Maybe he recognized talent that I didn’t see myself.  I will forever be grateful that he let me hover over his shoulder and watch him work.  He continues to be one of my greatest mentors and today I finally told him so.

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com.


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Ode to Ode Magazine

I got a call from a lawyer the other day. “How are you?” I said. “Better than you will be,” she replied. Turns out she was calling on behalf of Ode Magazine to tell me they could not afford to pay their bills and I would not be getting compensated for my contribution to their magazine. They wanted to be up front with me and with everyone else who was beating down their doors to get paid for their work.  I wrote an article on touring Brazil’s favelas for their spring travel issue. It was the first time I’d written an article for a magazine and I was very proud.  They asked for 1500 words and said they’d pay fifty cents a word.  The story ended up being 900 words but they’d pay me $750 anyway.  They warned me it would take a long time to get paid.  Eight months later I was starting to feel my story would not have a happy ending.

I’d like to say I’m angry or even disappointed by Ode’s failure to follow through but more than anything I’m sad.  This was a really good publication and the editors had wonderful intentions to create a smart magazine for “intelligent optimists.”  They were responsive and seemed to work very hard from their offices in the Bay Area and the Netherlands.  But the economy is killing Ode Magazine just as it’s ushering in the demise of so many publications.  Ode can’t even afford to file for Chapter 11 so it can reorganize.  Short of a funding miracle, Ode Magazine will most likely die a quiet death.  The magazine is trying to raise $50,000 in the next ten days to stay afloat. 

By the end of the year we’ll have written the obituaries of Metropolitan Home, Fortune Small Business, and Conde Nast’s Gourmet, Cookie, Modern Bride and Elegant Bride.  Other magazines bit the dust before them.  They were victims of a declining advertising market where ad sales, according to one report, were down almost 12% since 2008, while the cost of printing continues to skyrocket.  Newspapers are taking it on the chin even worse than magazines as we’ve seen with the deaths of the Rocky Mountain News, the Seattle Post Intelligencer, even the Christian Science Monitor.

More established publications have been able to downsize, outsource and cut costs but it seems Ode Magazine, even with its good intentions, might not be able to outrun the bad economy.  There are many others besides myself who are not getting paid for their work.  For me, it is the very first time in my career.  The money would have been nice but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter that much.  What matters is that a really good magazine is running out of time and another voice will be silenced.

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com.


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Yosemite: From Farm to Table

During the Clinton Administration there was a move to green up the national parks.  One of the mandates was to source food locally.  Today one of the most successful examples of this is Yosemite National Park.  All the concessions are run by Delaware North and it has chosen not to go with commodities but rather to buy the produce, meats, eggs and dairy from local growers within a 150 mile radius of the park who use organic standards.  Yosemite’s restaurants and concessions use the goods exclusively. 

The relationship between Yosemite and small growers is reaping a harvest of good.  Yosemite is helping support small businesses so that they can be sustainable.  Yosemite also features them on their menus and educates the public about their contributions.  Visitors to the park are able to have a connection to food and “eat their view.”  The restaurants are able to offer menus with the freshest seasonal products at lower costs because they are not passing along shipping to the guests.  For example this past spring The Ahwahnee had a four course prix fixe menu with seasonal food for $45.  If they had used commodities the same menu would have cost $65 to $70.     

When Percy Whatley became the executive chef of The Ahwahnee he realized he could save money with commodities but chose not too.  He had lived off the land when he was young and helped push the park to go organic.  With him as a catalyst, the park has come to realize the importance of buying locally and serving food from farm to table.  Yosemite buys from larger growers like TD Willey in Madera but they also work with small growers and customize menus so they can purchase product that they have available.  For example Brenda Ostrum of Mountain Meadows Farm in Mariposa plants more varieties of heirloom tomatoes requested by Yosemite and Seth Nietschke of Open Space Meats in Hornitos says the chefs work with him to buy what he has available.  TD Willey agreed to plant fennel and fava beans at Yosemite’s request and Percy buys it all.  The relationship is very symbiotic for Tom and Denness who plant 75 acres and are finding more and more pressures that are driving medium sized growers out of business.

It has also been a huge boost to small growers who are finding the economy difficult at the moment.  Clients are buying less so to have an anchor client like Yosemite is good for their farm economy and also the economy of their communities.  Brenda Ostrum who started farming around the same time Percy took over The Ahwahnee says that what makes small farms viable is support of the local community and people like Percy.  She has only 5 acres for her eggs, chicken and tomatoes.  Seth has only 40 to 50 head of cattle and employs two people.  They are sustainable in part because of Yosemite’s mission.  Farmers are proud to be associated with Yosemite and believe this is a natural marriage.  Yosemite is on the cutting edge of this trend and visitors benefit because they are able to not only enjoy pristine wilderness but also the unique flavor of the region.

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com.


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How David Beats Goliath

Malcolm Gladwell, author of “The Tipping Point,” “Outliers” and “Blink” has an article out this month in The New Yorker.  It’s called “How David Beats Goliath” and with his deft storytelling and character development Gladwell makes the case for effort over ability.  He tells about Vivek Ranadive and his basketball team of 12 year old girls in Redwood City, California.  To overcome a lack of talent they mastered the full court press.  It wasn’t pretty, with flailing arms and lots of jumping around, but the the relentless defense kept the other team from organizing and they would get crushed every time.  Lawrence of Arabia did the same thing against the Turks.  Instead of playing the game their way and attacking them in Medina where they were fierce, his shabby group of Bedouins, came in from the hostile desert in the east and acted like a bunch of insurgents, hitting the Turks and their railway every day.  The Redwood City girls and Lawrence of Arabia both used unconventional strategies and won the war.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/11/090511fa_fact_gladwell

I care about this story because I am the mother of a talented high school basketball player who is having to step up his game as the opportunities to make a team narrow and the competition gets tougher.  Despite his strengths on the court, and there are many, he still needs to focus on fundamentals like shooting and dribbling.  I’m trying to impress upon him how important attitude is and the willingness to work harder than everyone else if you really want something.  I’ve reminded him that those who are making moves aren’t doing so because they are better than him but because they are hungrier and are working harder.  The lesson doesn’t only hold true on the basketball court but in school and the workplace and everywhere that people need to play smart to stay competitive.  Underdogs lose when they try to play by the giant’s rules.  But when they reinvent the game in unexpected ways they often triumph.  I loved this article because of its simplicity.  Attitude over talent.  Effort over ability.  David over Goliath.

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com.