Posted Ilan Lakritz, contributor from The City of Los Angeles
As you have all probably heard (or purposefully ignored), NBA players rejected the owners’ latest offer. At this point, it is almost a certainty that David Stern will cancel the entire season as the players prepare to file an antitrust lawsuit against the NBA.
While this is unfortunate for many obvious reasons, the owners and David Stern’s incessant defamation and fabrication have reached new heights. How badly have their actions reflected on them?
Well, players just announced that attorneys Jeffrey Kess and David Boies, who worked on OPPOSITE sides of NFL labor negotiations, will represent them in their class-action suit. Kessler released the following statement to the Associated Press: “The fact that the two biggest legal adversaries in the NFL players dispute over the NFL lockout both agree that the NBA lockout is now illegal…speaks for itself.”
Since the lockout was initiated 138 days ago, owners and players have tirelessly bombarded fans with continual image campaigns. Owners have branded players uninformed, unorganized and greedy, while players have less assertively assumed the role of victim.
These messages, tailored directly for the fans, aim to amass support in this ever-dividing issue. In turn, it is up to the fans to determine the way we evaluate the aforementioned news.
Regardless of your inclination, thousands of protestors occupying cities across the country should serve as a reminder to the value of self-determination. While there are 30 less teams today than there were a year ago, there are still two sides very hungry for your support. So be a fan, pick a side.
10.30.13 at 6:36 pm | Twitter has enabled us to read news headlines. . .
9.3.13 at 5:35 pm | We are going to be spending a lot of time at. . .
6.25.13 at 1:54 pm | Unfortunately, our confidence issues do not end. . .
4.22.13 at 8:29 pm | As for the bouncers and promoters whose only form. . .
4.12.13 at 5:40 pm | We weren’t built to sit at our desks or scroll. . .
2.5.13 at 1:33 am | He tried to cut himself off immediately. He even. . .
12.22.11 at 12:31 am | People often joke that a New Year's resolution is. . . (63)
12.2.12 at 11:23 pm | Leah passed away due to a sudden stroke. I. . . (12)
2.5.13 at 1:33 am | He tried to cut himself off immediately. He even. . . (9)
November 12, 2011 | 10:49 pm
Posted by Nicole Behnam
“A friend is one of the nicest things you can have, and one of the best things you can be.” -Douglas Pagels
“Bestie,” “Partner-In-Crime,” “Other Half”—choose your preferred outdated cliché. We all have at least one, and if you’re lucky, you have at least one who maintains every characteristic that is crucial when it comes to being a good friend. In my Interpersonal Relations class at USC, an entire chapter was devoted to the topic of friendship.
Our friendships, according to the textbook, are indispensable sources of pleasure and support. Close friendships involve constant acceptance, support, enjoyment, caring, knowledge, trust, equality, and authenticity. Surely, not all of our friendships are comprised of all of these characteristics, which is normal. According to the book, here are some positive components of friendship to be thankful for:
Respect. We usually admire our friends and hold them in high esteem.
Trust. We are usually confident that our friends will behave benevolently towards us.
Responsiveness. Friends provide attentive and supportive recognition of our needs and interests.
Capitalization. Friends usually provide respond eagerly and energetically to our happy outcomes, sharing our delight and reinforcing our pleasure.
Social Comparison. We compare our beliefs and abilities to those of our friends in order to understand ourselves better.
Social Support. This comes in various forms, including affection, advice, and material assistance. Some people are better providers of social support than others are, and the best support fits our needs and preferences.
The first three components are crucial. The latter three are bonuses.
At this point in my life, I am grateful to have found the friends that I have. Without their support and recognition, my accomplishments would not feel as rewarding. I also love knowing that I have been a friend to many, that I have encouraged my friends to achieve, celebrated with them when they succeeded, and supported them during times of need.
And like every other human being, I have learned from the friendships I have lost.
A few months ago, my friend sent me a link to an article titled “Six Types of Toxic Friends and How You Can Deal with Them.” I began reading, and immediately, I thought to myself: “Wow, how wonderful it would be if we could all surround ourselves with only positive, caring friends—and eliminate the negative, unsupportive ones.”
It sounds harsh, but I can assure you that it isn’t. I’m not suggesting that you drop any and every friend who has ever made a mistake or offended you. Forgiveness plays a huge role in the maintenance of friendships, but there are some people who may cross the line—one too many times.
Something to think about: If you eliminated every person who has ever made a mistake from your life, you would have no friends left. Accept sincere apologies and believe that people can change for the better.
How to identify an unhealthy friendship:
Do you have a friend who consistently questions you or doubts you, to the extent that you begin to judge yourself? A friend who labels you or uses semi-abusive words like “idiot” or “crazy” in a cruel, non-joking context? Let these types of people deal with their insecurities on their own.
At the same time, make sure you are being a good friend to people. Be supportive because you never know what somebody is going through. Watch your language, not just profanity. Be sensitive to people’s feelings. Be the friend you want to have.
“Bad People?” They don’t exist. The people you think are bad are merely victims of unfortunate circumstances. There is no need to judge them, but there is a need to distance yourselves.
If you constantly notice your “friend” making statements characterized by comparison, jealousy, or doubt, get out now. Frankly, some forms of criticism are simply not constructive.
People can be supportive and loving, but they can also be cruel and condescending. I prefer supportive and loving.
Here’s an UrbanDictionary-type example of what a statement from a supportive friend sounds like, and what a statement from a condescending friend sounds like. Sense the tone:
Sarah: I’m so happy! I just passed the California Bar Exam!
Supportive Friend: Sarah, my love, I’m so proud of you! You’re going to be such a wonderful and successful attorney!
Condescending Friend: Sarah, hun, you passing the Bar Exam is great and all, but are you sure you want to be a lawyer? I feel like you’re better with kids than adults. Maybe you should just be a mommy and not practice law.
As my friend Joseph once advised me: Cut the fat out of your life.
Here’s the link to the article, by the way.
November 10, 2011 | 11:44 am
Posted by Nicole Behnam
I am more than familiar with the persecution Jews have faced historically. My parents sent me to private Jewish schools since kindergarten. Chronologically, in first grade, I learned that Jews were once slaves in Egypt. It sounded horrific, but they were freed so I paid no further attention to that topic.
In second grade during Purim, I learned that the Jews were persecuted by Haman, but to be honest, it was more fun running around in funny costumes and eating the triangle-shaped pastries, so I didn’t care to delve deeper into the subject.
In fourth grade, however, I heard about how a man named Adolf Hitler killed 6 million Jews. And for the first time, I was not distracted by the happy ending or holiday associated with the Jews’ freedom. For the first time in my life, I was terrified by a story.
Even when I was in fourth grade, the Holocaust was disturbing on a number of levels. As I got older, the Holocaust affected me even more. In high school, I went on a trip with 6 Holocaust survivors and visited the death camps where most of them witnessed their family members brutally murdered by Nazis.
And two weeks ago, I walked through the interactive exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance with my dad. The experience was eye-opening, to say the least.
What stood out to me was their display of “The Hitler Letter”—a letter that changed the world. I read the letter several times as my dad went ahead and looked through short biographical displays chronicling the lives of individual Holocaust survivors.
I hate to use laudatory adjectives when describing Hitler, but he really was an evil genius. He was charismatic, intimidating, and very, very powerful. His political savvy helped him expel, segregate, and methodically destroy a majority of the Jewish population in Europe.
For the third time, I read the letter, and though I didn’t agree with any of Hitler’s statements, they must have been pretty convincing in 1919, six years before the publication of his book, Mein Kampf:
Everything which makes men strive for higher things, whether religion, socialism, or democracy, is for [the Jew] only a means to an end, to the satisfaction of a lust for money and domination. His activities produce a racial tuberculosis among other nations.
Essentially, Hitler is claiming that a Jew only values money, and that every expression of good or act of kindness is executed in pretense, as a front, or as a means to acquire more money than he already has. It’s unfortunate and upsetting that so many leaders were ignorant enough to believe this diabolical nonsense, but I can see why an uninformed leader would want to corroborate with Hitler’s despicable attempt to scapegoat the Jew.
Here’s some more nonsense from the letter:
If the danger represented by the Jews today finds expression in the undeniable dislike of them felt by a large section of our people, the cause of this dislike is on the whole not to be found in the clear recognition of the corrupting activity of the Jews generally among our people, whether conscious or unconscious; it originates mainly through personal relationship, and from the impression left behind him by the individual Jew which is almost invariably unfavorable.
How ironic that Hitler’s impression left behind HIM is utterly and invariably unfavorable in the eyes of every human being with a soul, with a mind, and with a heart.
Of course reading the letter is disturbing, but I urge you to visit the museum, to read the letter in its entirety, and to familiarize yourselves with the voice of cruelty, because it will never die out—but the least we can do is speak out against evil. Look what happened when we didn’t.
November 7, 2011 | 2:19 pm
Posted by Nicole Behnam
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” -Winston Churchill
A group of six girls made a unanimous decision on Thursday, November 3 to sign up and raise awareness for The Heroes of Hope Race for Research, an organization that raises money for pediatric and adult brain tumor and cancer research and support at UCLA’s department of Neurosurgery, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles/USC Keck School of Medicine and the Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Team Big Smiles, the girls named themselves, set their standards high and decided they wanted to raise $10,000. On Sunday, November 6, Natalie Kashefi, Michelle Nabati, Melody Nabati, Jennifer Nourafshan, Melody Shakibkhoo, and Stacy Shakibkhoo gathered on Dockweiler State Beach in Playa Del Ray to participate in the 4th Annual Heroes of Hope Race for Research.
“We came up with the team name Big Smiles because you need happiness and a positive outlook to help you believe that everything in any given situation will turn out for the best,” said Melody Nabati, a hopeful team captain.
The team raised over $7,000 since the announcement of their campaign just 3 days before the race.
“No one thought we would even raise close to that in such a short amount of time,” said Nabati. “We started emailing friends, family, and colleagues, and sure enough, in just 48 hours we raised close to $7,000 for the UCLA Neurosurgery Department.”
Team Big Smiles came in 3rd place for the highest amount donated by a fundraising team. Nabati came in 2nd for the highest amount donated by an individual. In total, the race raised $119,000, twice as much as it raised last year.
“All of this really shows how friends and family members are there for you in times of trouble and need. They are the first ones to come out and show their support,” said Nabati.
Click here to make a donation to Team Big Smiles.
November 4, 2011 | 2:38 pm
Posted by Nicole Behnam
“The reason why I don’t reveal myself is because I don’t do this for the fame and glory. I’d rather be recognized for what I do, instead of who I am.” -Blogger, Her0inchic
As of today, I have bookmarked an equal amount of news sites and blog sites on my Google Chrome browser. Three and three, to be exact. A few years ago, however, I was laughing at my friends who signed up for LiveJournal. I just didn’t understand what the point was. I had a diary and I had a scrapbook. LiveJournal would have obliterated the confidentiality of my diary.
But now the blogosphere is much bigger than LiveJournal and Wordpress. Tumblr accounts have captured the attention of many of my Facebook friends. I know this because 400 people can’t possibly take the same exact picture of a Bob Marley poster and use the Mobile Uploads feature on their phones to showcase their MPS (Mobile Photography Skills).
I prefer Huffington Post, Yahoo! News, and Jewish Journal (no joke) when I want to read the latest news.
A great news blog is The Daily: TheDaily.com. Though I usually rely on Huffington Post first, I bookmarked The Daily because they don’t include much news that I find elsewhere. I feel “worldly” when I skim through their posts.
For inspiration, I always turn to Her0inChic.com. Heroin chic was a look popularized by mid-1990s fashion, characterized by pale skin, dark circles underneath the eyes, and protruding bones. The number zero is used instead of the letter o, because in physics, the zero-point energy is the lowest possible energy that a quantum mechanical physical system may possess and is the energy of the ground state of the system.
The blogger, her0inChic, really does stand out to her readers, who constantly share, re-share, and leave laudatory comments on her posts. They seek motivation and draw strength from the stories of heroism and beautiful quotes that this blogger scrupulously picks out. “You are not alone.” This is the primary message executed by Her0inChic.
For a good laugh, check out imgfave.com. This blog is where most of the comics from Someecards are shared, and where funny pictures that your friends are posting can be found. Not surprisingly, this blogger also pulls inspiration pictures from Her0inchic’s website, and vice versa. It’s a beautiful, reciprocal, blogospheric arrangement.
November 1, 2011 | 10:35 pm
Posted by Nicole Behnam
“Information on the Internet is subject to the same rules and regulations as conversation at a bar.” -George Lundberg
Like most of my friends, I’m extremely selective about what I choose to post on my Facebook page. Even when I write to my friends, I meticulously read over the post before I decide to brand myself on their walls. I want to make sure I wrote the correct variation of the word “your,” the word “their,” and the word “too”—even I make those mistakes sometimes. And I’m a language stickler.
When it comes to my profile pictures, I’m even more of a nitpicker. Though I rarely upload new ones, I’ll ask some of my friends questions like “Is this default-worthy?” or “Should I crop it?” before I upload a picture that will be displayed on an icon wherever I comment or click the “like” button. I ask not because I want to make sure I look absolutely beautiful on Facebook, but because I want to ensure that I don’t send the wrong message… to anyone.
I learned a few years ago that employers and even schools look up prospective applicants on Facebook and other sites. I don’t think my last employer would have hired me if he looked me up and was greeted by a picture of me in a bikini at my friend’s pool party. The red cup in my hand could have been filled with pure H20, but the setting would have suggested otherwise.
People judge. There is nothing we can do about this. I don’t want to judge anybody, but sometimes I do it too. And even though I don’t like to judge out loud, when somebody writes something offensive, or posts a picture that I find distasteful or insulting, I can’t help but develop an aversion.
For this very reason, I urge you to be meticulous about what you post—your pictures, your status updates, and even your wall posts. Adjust your privacy settings, but don’t be surprised when your ex-boyfriend logs onto his friend’s account, only to find that your last status update was a YouTube link to the song “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child. Expect to be judged for that too.
By the way, “Survivor” is outdated. It’s acceptable for your “Moving On” iTunes playlist, but if you want to be more relevant, try “Someone Like You” by Adele.
October 28, 2011 | 6:06 pm
Posted by Nicole Behnam
“You can’t make any one person your world. The trick is to take what each can give you and build a world from it.” Sarah Dessen
I was embarrassed to hold up my copy of “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi when I would read it in public. The title makes it sound like a self-help book—it’s a business book. And, frankly, I was reading… alone. But after the first few chapters, I made a realization, and ultimately, a decision that shaped the framework of my thoughts from then on: I wanted to meet as many people as possible, make as many friends as possible, and utilize as many connections as possible.
It may sound like a coldly-calculated attempt to establish a reliable network for myself. I can assure you, though, that it went far beyond that.
“Never mix business with pleasure,” they repeat like a mantra. But this mentality is wrong, and I refuse to live by it.
All of my friends are, naturally, my connections. They formulate my “network.” And the benefits of our friendships go far beyond reciprocal arrangements and favors. We exchange thoughts, stories, ideas—these are the components of friendship. We learn together; we grow together, and we can rely on each other when we need something. This is the benefit of having a “connection.”
I also enjoy network growth. For example, I will facilitate a relationship between Andrea and Diana if I know that they will benefit from each other as friends or as connections. Each of my friends is unique. Everybody has a different talent, a different opinion, and most importantly, a different set of life experiences from which the rest of us can learn.
Each friend is, figuratively, a resource; a set of chapters that comprise the book they are still writing, and the story they are telling. A story that you and I can learn from.
“Poverty isn’t only a lack of financial resources,” says Ferrazzi. “It is isolation from the kind of people that could help you make more of yourself.”
Sure, we can be independent, but we can’t do anything alone—we certainly can’t succeed alone. And even if we did, what good would it be if we couldn’t celebrate our achievements with our friends?