Random Thoughts for August 17, 2014

There was a lot going the past week, it’s hard to do individual posts, so it’s best to summarize here.

Robin Williams

On Monday, Robin Williams took his own life at his home. It was later in the week, it was announced Williams was battling early stages of Parkinson’s disease.

On the entertainment front, Williams was a ball of joy. Either as a comedian, a guest on the talk show, or the main attraction in a comedy, Williams wanted to make you laugh and with his frantic mind, you have no idea where he was heading (read the behind-the-scenes of Mork and Mindy) and that was what Williams wanted: to see his mind and come join the ride. I know many tributes will include probably his most famous role as the teacher in Dead Poets Society. I have two favorite roles. The first is Good Morning, Vietnam, playing DJ Adrian Cronauer during the Vietnam War, for obvious reasons. The other was The Birdcage, where Williams plays a drag club owner to help his son getting married to a daughter of a political family with the help from his partner, Alan, played by Nathan Lane. Williams was funny, but restraint. There were over the top moments, but were not over the edge.

Robin also discussed his struggle with depression and see so many tributes people discussing their struggles with depression. There’s some research that discourage this, but some want to know how to battle this. We don’t know what is the best solution, but it is a consensus that when someone has depression, we should be there to support, by any means necessary.

Ferguson, Missouri

It all started with a police officer shot down Michael Brown. There has been two different versions of how Michael Brown was killed. The Ferguson police said Michael Brown was trying steal a gun from the officer and the officer acted in self-defense. Witnesses say Michael Brown surrendered, raise his hands up, got down to his knees, and then the officer shoot him. From the recent events the past week, we trust the Ferguson citizens more than the police department. We did know Michael Brown did something, but was it worthy to be killed for his actions, that seemed to be minor? Ferguson citizens, which 2/3rds of the population is black, thought the police, which the department is 94% white, took it way too far. This has resulted in looting; police in army gear; confusion not only in Ferguson, but in the state of Missouri (see Jay Nixon); and chaos that journalists are getting arrested for no reason. How does a small town get all that army gear? The modernization of the cop from friendly and upright citizens like Barney Fife are no more and evolved to essentially a soldier programmed to see any wrongdoing and take action.

We’re all upset by this because it has race and class overtones, but we’re also mad because we can see and hear what the Ferguson police are doing to their citizens in an instant. From the looks of it, the Ferguson police department are still stuck in the 1960s, while everyone is watching in shock and horror. Ferguson’s response is left to be desired.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

No, I have not participated in the ice bucket challenge because no one has challenged me, yet, but it has become a viral phenomenon and the ALS Association announced it raised over $11 million during that time. Most enjoy doing the challenge, while some are either sick of it, some think it serves no purpose, or few think we’re focusing too much on one cause. Two thoughts here: 1) $11 million was raised in less than a month serves the Ice Bucket Challenge’s purpose and 2) if you read or watch Pete Frates‘ story, you understand why it has become viral. This is Marketing 101 for nonprofits: find someone with a unique story to tell and let them and/or their friends do the work for you. Frates had a great support system. They pay it forward it to others, who are well-known athletes we admired, and it has spread. Now, people have more knowledge about this cause. Also, it’s appropriate since it’s the 75th Anniversary of Lou Gehrig announced he has ALS. He would be confused at first with why people dumping ice cold water on themselves, but happy they are doing this to b ring awareness to ALS. Of course with all this money, it’s how ALS spends it that’s more important and with a huge support of people behind the cause, the ALS Association better not screw this up.

That’s all I have. Back to your regular posts hopefully this week, unless something happens that is beyond my control or I actually have work to do.


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