Tuesday, December 29, 2009

You've only got three choices in life- give up, give in, or give it all you've got.

Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, shallow mind discuss people.


One Percent Improvement
By Lisa Gschwandtner
After completing 17 Iron Man Triathlons (swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 26.2 miles) and becoming a world-record holder for the Iron Man USA course, Don Fink knows the importance of training and self-motivation. At his most recent job as managing director of the Mid-Atlantic Region for the Private Banking Division of Citi-Group (where he headed up a team of about 30 professional salespeople who helped $30-million-plus executives with their investments and other financial needs), Fink says the worst thing salespeople can do is work only for the short-term.

“Some days people will be all pumped up and they come in and make a lot of cold calls,” Fink observes. “Other days they’re burned out. They aren’t in the mood to do it.”

Fink sees a strong parallel between achievement and consistency, and believes salespeople who are in it for the long run will get better results.

“Don’t have the idea that you’ve got to have this mega-big day and do 150 cold calls and then tomorrow be so burned out from it you can’t do anything,” advises Fink. “The same applies to training. Going too hard, going too long and then having setbacks is really what you want to avoid. Consistency is the key.”

“If I had to pick one thing that’s been my key to success, both in business and athletics, it’s to just focus on getting a little bit better at a time – just 1% better than where you are now,” says Fink. “And it’s also very helpful if you can figure out ways to benchmark that so you can actually gauge your progress over time. But if you focus on just getting 1% better all the time and block everything else out, the gap keeps closing, and sooner or later you look back and you realize that those 1%s have added up to substantial improvement.”

Monday, December 28, 2009

Wear Sunscreen

Wear Sunscreen
Mary Schmich

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be

The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by
scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
than my own meandering experience.
I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.

Oh nevermind. you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.

But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and
recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before
you and how fabulous you really looke.

You’re not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future. or worry, but know that worrying is as
effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday that scares you


Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts.

Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don’t waste your time on jealousy.

Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.

The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember the compliments you receive.

forget the insults. if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. throw away your old bank statements.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your
life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they
wanted to do with their lives.

some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe
you won’t.

maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky
chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.

what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can.

don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for

Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the
people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you
should hold on.

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.

live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will
philander, you too will get old.

and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you.

Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will
look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who
supply it.

Advice is a form of nostalgia.

dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen…

Deep Thoughts by Paul Harvey

Radio Personality, Paul Harvey writes...

-- We tried so hard to make things better for our
kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren,
I'd like better. I'd really like for them to know
about hand-me-down clothes and homemade ice cream
and leftover meatloaf sandwiches. I really would.

-- I hope you learn humility by being humiliated,
and that you learn honesty by being cheated. I hope
you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and
wash the car.

-- And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new
car when you are sixteen.

-- It will be good if at least one time you can see
puppies born and your dog put to sleep. I hope you
get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.

-- I hope you have to share a bedroom with your
younger brother. And it's all right if you have to
draw a line down the middle of the room, but when
he wants to crawl under the covers with you because
he's scared, I hope you let him.

-- When you want to see a movie and your little
brother wants to tag along, I hope you'll let him.
I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your
friends and that you live in a town where you can
do it safely.

-- On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I
hope you don't ask your driver to drop you two
blocks away so you won't be seen riding with someone
as un-cool as your Mom.

-- If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches
you how to make one instead of buying one. I hope
you learn to dig in the dirt and read books. When
you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn
to add and subtract in your head.

-- I hope you get teased by your friends when you
have your first crush on a girl, and when you talk
back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap
tastes like.

-- May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn
your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a
frozen flagpole. I don't care if you try a beer
once, but I hope you don't like it. And if a friend
offers you dope, I hope you realize he
is not your friend.

-- I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with
your Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle. May you
feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.
I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a
baseball through your neighbor's window and that she
hugs you and kisses you at Christmastime when you
give her a plaster mold of your hand.

-- These things I wish for you - tough times and hard
work, disappointment and happiness. To me, it's the
only way to appreciate life.

for the lovely ladies out there


...one old love

she can imagine

going back to...

and one who reminds

her how far she has come...


...enough money within her

control to move out and

rent a place of her own

even if she never wants

to or needs to...


.. something perfect to wear if

the employer or date of her dreams

wants to see her in an hour...


.. a youth she's content

to leave behind...


...a past juicy enough that

she's looking forward to

retelling it in her old age....


...a set of screwdrivers, a

cordless drill, and a black

lace bra...


..one friend who always makes

her laugh ... and one who lets

her cry...


...a good piece of furniture

not previously owned by anyone

else in her family...


...eight matching plates, wine

glasses with stems, and a recipe

for a meal that will make her

guests feel honored.


...a feeling of control over

her destiny...


....how to fall in love without

losing herself...


..how to quit a job,

break up with a lover,

and confront a friend

without ruining the friendship...


...when to try harder ... and

when to walk away...


....that she can't change the

length of her calves, the width

of her hips, or the nature of her



...that her childhood may not

have been perfect...but its



...what she would and wouldn't

do for love or more...


..how to live alone... even if

she doesn't like it...


...whom she can trust,

whom she can't,

and why she shouldn't

take it personally...


...where to go...

be it to her best friend's kitchen

or a charming inn in the woods...

when her soul needs soothing...


.. what she can and can't

accomplish in a day...

a month...and a year...

Sports Motivation

We bust ours, to kick yours

I play the game, I play it smart, my energy comes from the heart. I use my head, I use my feet. WHY? because I'm 100% Athlete..
Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out. (Robert Collier)

Life is full of risks. You can't steal second with one foot on first. (Genisis Heath)

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. (Vincent T. Lombardi)

Hero's get remembered, but legends never die ~(Babe Ruth in the Sandlot)

athlete is a normal person with the gift of an undying passion to be the best and achieve greatness.

"Are you crying?! There's no crying in baseball!" (A League of Their Own)

Courage is the discovery that you may not win and trying when you know you may lose.

Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That's what little girls are made of.

Even when you've played the game of your life, it's the feeling of teamwork that you'll remember. You'll forget the plays, the shots, and the scores. But you'll never forget your teammates.

Love the game. Love the game for the pure joy of accomplishment. Love the game for everything it can teach you about yourself. Love the game for the feeling of belonging to a group endeavoring to do its best. Love the game for being involved in a team whose members can't wait to see you do your best. Love the game for the challenge of working harder than you ever have at something and then harder than that. Love the game because it takes all team members to give it life. Love the game because at its best, the game tradition will include your contributions. Love the game because you belong to a long line of fine athletes who have loved it. It is now your legacy. Love the game so much that you will pass on your love of the game to another athlete who has seen your dedication, your work, your challenges, your triumphs... and then that athlete will, because of you, love the game.

Every team requires unity. A team has to move as one unit, one force, with each person understanding and assisting the roles of his teammates. If the team doesn't do this, whatever the reason, it goes down in defeat. You win or lose as a team, as a family

Nothing is work unless you'd rather be doing something else.

Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. (Lou Holtz)

Don't be content with average because average is just as close to the bottom as it is to the top. (Danielle Ballentine)

Sports remain a great metaphor for life's more difficult lessons. It was through athletics that many of us first came to understand that fear can be tamed; that on a team the whole is more than the sum of its parts; and that the ability to be heroic lies, to a surprising degree, within. (Susan Casey)

Some people ask me how I run so fast; I say what do you do when you hear a gun?

Ah, the glories of women's sports: the camaraderie. The quiet dignity. The proud refusal to buy into traditional stereotypes of beauty. (Sports Illustrated For Women)

When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less. (paul brown)

I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. (Michael Jordan)

Victory is what happens when thousands of hours of practice meet with one moment of opportunity.

A game begins the moment you forget you are playing

Athletes are driven by commitment. To their sport. To themselves. To excellence itself. Commitment fuels the extra mile, the final set, the last quarter, the sprint to the line. Going on when the body begs to stop.

You can either throw in the towel, or use it to wipe off your sweat.
You opponent, in the end, is never really the player up to bat, the girl in center field, or the team in the other dugout, or even the ball you must catch. Your opponent is yourself, your negative internal voices, your level of determination.

Team - you don't always have to like each other, but you do have to be able to count on each other.

Gentlemen, it is better to have died as a small boy than to fumble this football (John Heisman)

21 Suggestions for Success

21 Suggestions for Success
By H. Jackson Brown

1. Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.

2. Work at something you enjoy and that's worthy of your time and talent.

3. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

4. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.

5. Be forgiving of yourself and others.

6. Be generous.

7. Have a grateful heart.

8. Persistence, persistence, persistence.

9. Discipline yourself to save money on even the most modest salary.

10. Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.

11. Commit yourself to constant improvement.

12. Commit yourself to quality.

13. Understand that happiness is not based on possessions, power or prestige, but on relationships with people you love and respect.

14. Be loyal.

15. Be honest.

16. Be a self-starter.

17. Be decisive even if it means you'll sometimes be wrong.

18. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life.

19. Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did.

20. Take good care of those you love.

21. Don't do anything that wouldn't make your mom proud.

Bill Gate's Advice to Kids

Bill Gate's Advice to Kids

Love him or hate him, he sure hits the nail on the head with this! To anyone with kids of any age, or anyone who has ever been a kid, here is some advice Bill Gates recently dished out at a high school speech:
11 things you will not learn in school. He talks about how feel good P.C. teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept has set them up to fail in the real world.

RULE 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

RULE 2: The world doesn't care about your self-esteem. The world expects you to accomplish BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

RULE 3: You will NOT make $40,000.00/year fresh out of high school. And you won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you EARN both.

RULE 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss. He won't have tenure.

RULE 5: Flipping burgers is NOT beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping - they called it OPPORTUNITY!

RULE 6: If you mess up, it is only your fault; learn from your mistakes.

RULE 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes, and listening to you talk about how COOL you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents' generation, try delousing the closet in your room instead.

RULE 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and will give you as many times as you need to get it right. This doesn't have the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

RULE 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

RULE 10: TV is NOT reality. In real life people need to leave the coffee shop and go to work.

RULE 11: BE NICE TO NERDS!! Chances are you will end up working for one!

Someone like you.

Sometimes I wish I had never met you. Because then I could go to sleep at night not knowing there was someone like you out there. -Good Will Hunting

perfect match

don't say we aren't right for each other, the way i see it is.. we aren't right for anyone else --the cutting edge

down to one.

There Are Millions Of People In This world, But In The end It All Comes Down To One -Crazy/Beautiful


There is fate, but it only takes you so far, because once you're there its up to you to make it happen. -Can't hardly wait

think of you.

You know that place between sleep and awake, where you're still dreaming? that's where i'll always think of you. that's where i'll be waiting -Hook

Monday, December 21, 2009

why not?

"Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say why not?" -George Bernhard Shaw, however many attribute this to kennedy in his eulogy for/to his brother.

eat dinner with anybody. who would it be?

I don't know if I have a top five. But Victor Hugo and Ayn Rand would be two tablemates I'd love to converse with.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Webster Elementary

Webster Elementary, my old elementary school was on the today show this morning!


2010 Sagittarius Snapshot

2010 Sagittarius Snapshot

All Work and No Play
Sagittarius, 2010 is going to be a year in which you assess your resources and seek to expand them. Your primary focus is going to be on getting your financial situation together so you can enjoy life the way you want to. The presence of four planets in Capricorn in your Second House indicates that your practical side will kick in full gear. Romance and passion won't lag, either. The Spring Equinox on March 20 finds you at a very busy time in your life. By the middle of the year, you might have to cut back. Summer brings a little relaxation. You'll have accomplished a lot. The New Moon in your sign on December 5 fills you with new goals and ideas for the new year. The year 2011, therefore, should be an even better year for you than 2010!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

the beauty is in the struggle.

You can't always get what you want.

You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need. ~Rolling Stones

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Kennedy's: An American Institution


If a mosquito bit Jack Kennedy, the mosquito would die. —Robert F. Kennedy

I never would have run for office if Joe had lived. —John F. Kennedy, 1960

I'll take all his enemies if I can have all his friends, too. —JFK, discussing the negative implications of Bobby's Senate Rackets Committee work on his upcoming campaign, 1959

They're going to shoot my ass off the way they shot Bobby. —Edward M. Kennedy, 1969

My brothers were my dearest friends. They were just human beings — and wanted to be considered that way — but they were extraordinary. I cared very deeply about them, loved them. I miss them. No day goes by when I don't. That gap will be with me for the rest of my life. No way to bridge that. —EMK, 1985

I just received the following wire from my generous daddy — "Dear Jack, Don't buy a single vote more than is necessary. I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for a landslide." —JFK, Gridiron Dinner, 1958

I had a sit-down with my dad. He said, "Now, Teddy, you have to make up your mind whether you want to have a constructive and positive attitude and influence on your time. And if you're not interested in a purposeful, useful, constructive life, I just want you to know I have other children that are out there that intend to have a purposeful and constructive life." —EMK, spring 2009

I announced that if, if successful, I would not consider campaign contributions as a substitute for experience in appointing ambassadors. Ever since I made that statement I have not received a single cent from my father. —JFK, 1961

Do you always agree with your father? No? But you love him? Same here. —JFK

Dad rose up in his chair, his eyes wide, pointed a finger at me. I didn't know what was wrong — the old sweater I was wearing, or something. I went over to kiss him and he held up his hand and put it on my chin. It wasn't much of a beard, a couple of weeks or so. But I hadn't had a haircut the whole time. My mother threatened to shave off the beard herself right there, but I did it. We all had a good laugh afterward, and, seeing my father laugh like that at last, my mother said, "I wish we could do this every day." —EMK, 1969

Did you ever make it with my father? ... Well, that's one place I'm in first.—JFK, according to Marlene Dietrich, after having sex at the White House, 1962

We were to try harder than anyone else. We might not be the best, and none of us were, but we were to make the effort to be the best. After you have done the best you can, the hell with it. —RFK, 1965

I have no firsthand knowledge of the Depression. My family had one of the great fortunes of the world and it was worth more than ever then. We had bigger houses, more servants, we traveled more. About the only thing that I saw directly was when my father hired some extra gardeners just to give them a job so they could eat. I really did not learn about the Depression until I read about it at Harvard. My experience was the war. I can tell you about that. —JFK, 1960

Sometimes people think that because you have money and position you are immune from the human experience. But I can feel as lonesome and lost as the next man when I turn the key in the door and go into an empty house that is usually full of kids and dogs. —RFK, late sixties

I've told my children that as long as they devote some of their energies to the interests of others, my ambitions for them would more than be fulfilled. —EMK, 1985

There is always inequity in life. Some men are killed in a war, some are wounded, and some never leave the country. Some men are stationed in the Antarctic and some are stationed in San Francisco. It's very hard, in military or in personal life, to ensure complete equality. Life is unfair.—JFK, March 1962

What advice would I give to a young man interested in politics? If I just trace my own career, I went to college and then law school and I started out as just a lawyer ... at the Department of Justice. And I worked very hard and I was diligent and I stayed late at night and I made a great deal of effort, and then ten years later I was made attorney general. So I don't know whether it's just ... I think if you can get your brother elected President of the United States, that helps. —RFK, 1964

The whole McCarthy episode must be judged from the perspective of the atmosphere that has always prevailed in the Senate, where most senators are reluctant to judge the personal conduct of another. Perhaps we were wrong in McCarthy's case. Perhaps we were not as sensitive as some, and should have acted sooner. That's a reasonable indictment that falls on me as well. —JFK, 1959

I feel the Senate is where the action is, where the great issues of war and peace, the issues of human rights and the problems of poverty are being debated. And with certain important exceptions, you really can get a vote there on important matters. I would say the Senate is the greatest forum for change in our country and in the system. It's the forum that I very much want to be part of and have influence with. —EMK

There have been in recent weeks some instances in the press where statements have been attributed to members of the staff which reflect in a derogatory manner on other candidates... . While it is entirely proper to give a realistic appraisal of my possibilities as a potential Democratic candidate, staff members must take extreme care never to say anything about the other possible candidates which could be in any way interpreted as derogatory in a personal sense. All of the persons mentioned as possible candidates are friends of mine and I do not want to do anything to destroy any of these personal relationships. —JFK, staff memo, 1959; Lyndon Johnson liked it so much that he gave his staff the same order

Gentlemen, I don't give a damn if the state and the county organizations survive after November, and I don't give a damn if you survive. I want to elect John F. Kennedy. —RFK, 1960

I would say that the problems are more difficult than I had imagined them to be. The responsibilities placed on the United States are greater than I imagined them to be and there are greater limitations upon our ability to bring about a favorable result than I had imagined them to be. It is much easier to make the speeches than it is to finally make the judgments. —JFK, on the transition from the Senate to the presidency, 1962

Want more? Click here to see our full Kennedy gallery >>

It was easy — they sank my boat. —JFK, to a high school student who asked how he had become a war hero, 1959

Have a lot of natives around and am getting hold of some grass skirts, war clubs, etc. We had one in today who told us about the last man he ate. "Him Jap him are good." All they seem to want is a pipe and will give you canes, pineapple, anything, including a wife. They're smartening up lately. When the British were here they had them working for 17 cents a day but we treat them a heck of a lot better. "English we no like" is their summating of the British Empire. —JFK, letter to his parents from the war in the Pacific, May 14, 1943

Dear Folks: This is just a short note to tell you that I am alive — and not kicking — in spite of any reports that you may happen to hear. It was believed otherwise for a few days — so reports or rumors may have gotten back to you. Fortunately they misjudged the durability of a Kennedy — and am back at the base now and am O.K. As soon as possible I shall try to give you the whole story. —JFK, August 12, 1943, after his PT boat was sunk by the Japanese

It was a terrible thing though, losing those two men. One had ridden with me for as long as I had been out here. He had been somewhat shocked by a bomb that had landed near the boat about two weeks before. He never really got over it; he always seemed to have the feeling that something was going to happen to him. He never said anything about being put ashore — he didn't want to go — but the next time we came down the line I was going to let him work on the base force. When a fellow gets the feeling that he's in for it, the only thing to do is to let him get off the boat because strangely enough, they always seem to be the ones that do get it. I don't know whether it's just coincidence or what. He had a wife and three kids. The other fellow had just come around. He was only a kid himself. —JFK, letter to his parents, received September 12, 1943

Feeling fine, but after this present fighting is over will be glad to get home. When I do get out of here you'll find that you have a new permanent fixture around that Florida pool. I'll just move from it to get into my sack. Don't worry at all about me — I've learned to duck. —JFK, letter to his father, October 30, 1943

I have just had an escapade. Got a fuck and a suck in a Mexican hoar-house for $.65, so am feeling very fit and clean. They say that one guy in four years has gotten away without just the biggest juiciest load of claps. —JFK, letter to friend Lem Billings, May 1936

Just got back today from the South. It was great down there — the weather was about the best I've ever seen. An aw full lot of people were there — three girls to every man — so I did better than usual... ." —JFK, letter to his father, 1940

Do you realize the responsibility I carry? I'm the only person between Nixon and the White House. —JFK, joking with a supporter, 1960

The war bit helps in the South, but I don't think those Scandinavians care at all. —JFK, 1960

I suppose if I win — my poon days are over. —JFK, fall 1960

Want more? Click here to see our full Kennedy gallery >>

The advice of those who were brought in on the executive branch was unanimous, and the advice was wrong. And I was responsible. —JFK, after the Bay of Pigs invasion

We are probably strong enough to prevent one nation from unleashing nuclear weapons on another. But we can't prevent infiltration, assassination, sabotage, bribery, any of the weapons of guerrilla warfare... . One guerrilla can pin down twelve conventional soldiers, and we've got nothing equivalent. —JFK, 1961

Well, I think I'll open the door of the Georgetown house some morning about 2:00 A.M., look up and down the street, and if there's no one there, I'll whisper, "It's Bobby." —JFK, to Ben Bradlee, on how he intended to announce the appointment of his brother to the position of attorney general, 1960

I'm not running a popularity contest. It doesn't matter if people like me or not. Jack can be nice to them. I don't try to antagonize people, but somebody has to be able to say no. If people are not getting off their behinds, how do you say that nicely? —RFK, 1960

This chimpanzee who is flying in space took off at 10:08. He reports that everything is perfect and working well. —JFK, November 1961

I hope to travel to the moon someday. —EMK, July 1963

If we solve the Berlin problem without war, Cuba will look pretty small. And if there is a war, Cuba won't matter much, either. —JFK, to Ted Sorensen, 1962

If anybody is around to write after this, they are going to understand that we made every effort to find peace and every effort to give our adversary room to move. I am not going to push the Russians an inch beyond what is necessary. —JFK, 1962

Some people have their liberalism "made" by the time they reach their late twenties. I didn't. I was caught in crosscurrents and eddies. It was only later that I got into the stream of things. —JFK, 1960

I must say, in defense of our own country, if the United States had not emphasized the military since 1945, the shape of the globe would be very different than it is today. So that those who feel that we overemphasize it might consider the fate of freedom if we had not emphasized it. —JFK, 1961

Sick, sick, sick. —JFK, on Nixon, 1960

If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he cannot send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who will represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place? Who among us would then be content with the counsels of patience and delay? —JFK, June 11, 1963

Jesus Christ, you guys are something else. When I was elected, you all said that my old man would run the country in consultation with the pope. Now here's the only thing he's ever asked me to do for him, and you guys piss all over me. —JFK, complaining to Ben Bradlee about press criticism of one of his appointments to the federal bench, 1962

I think a person must be out of his mind if he thinks he can manage news. —RFK, 1963

Too often in the past we have thought of the artist as an idler and dilettante and of the lover of arts as somehow sissy or effete. We have done both an injustice. The life of the artist is, in relation to his work, stern and lonely. He has labored hard, often among deprivation, to perfect his skill. He has turned aside from quick success in order to strip his vision of everything secondary or cheapening. His working life is marked by intense application and intense discipline. As for the lover of arts, it is he who, by subjecting himself to the sometimes disturbing experience of art, sustains the artist — and seeks only the reward that his life will, in consequence, be the more fully lived. —JFK, 1962

It is only after you wield the powers of the presidency that you get hated. Morse, Hoffa, Al Hayes, etc., all hate me now merely because of one bill. Presidents are bound to be hated unless they are as bland as Ike. —JFK

We're really in nut country now. —JFK, in Dallas, November 22, 1963

What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero, and an uncontrolled or uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness — not the voice of the people. —RFK, speech after the death of Martin Luther King Jr., 1968

Want more? Click here to see our full Kennedy gallery >>

Hoffa's days are numbered. —RFK, February 1960

I don't know why God put us on earth. If I had my choice, I would never have lived. I had no control over it. But why should God put on earth some people who will go to the devil? —RFK, 1967

That's my brother, all guts, no brains. —RFK, after Jack fumbled during a touch-football game on the afternoon after his election as president

I won't say I stayed awake nights worrying about civil rights before I became attorney general. —RFK, 1961

After all the abuse the blacks have taken through the centuries, whites are just going to have to let them get some of these feelings out if we are all really going to ever settle down to a decent relationship. —RFK, 1968

The question was, "How about me and President Johnson?" What about it? Are you trying to start a fight or something? I said in the past that it's possible to have a coalition government in Saigon, but that doesn't mean it's possible here in the United States. —RFK, 1966

You had better pretend you don't know me. Everyone connected to me seems jinxed. —RFK, to Ted Sorensen after Ethel Kennedy's brother died in a plane crash, 1966

If you get a letter typed on stationery, seven paragraphs in length, and signed by somebody, you can be absolutely sure it's a lie. But if you get a letter which says, "I saw Jimmy Hoffa take $300 from somebody in a bar in 1947," signed "A Workingman," it's always true. —RFK, late 1950s

Anyone who suggests "dynasty" suggests as well a system of succession. This is a failure to comprehend the democratic process in our country. —EMK, 1962

I would say that the chances for a Kennedy dynasty are looking very slim. —RFK, 1967

One question that really shakes me, really shakes me — if God exists, why do poor people exist? Why does Hitler arise? I can't give an answer for that. Only faith... . Yes, I do believe in an afterlife. Religion is a salve for confusion and misdirection. —RFK, 1967

If you win, the reporters will always write about well-oiled machines and super-planning. If you lose, they will always write about hopeless incompetence. —RFK, 1964

In Massachusetts they steal, in California they feud, and here in New York they lie. —RFK, 1966

The essence of successful counterinsurgency is not to kill, but to bring the insurgent back into the national life. —RFK, 1965

I'd get out of there in any possible way. I think it's an absolute disaster. I think it is much worse to be there than any of the shame or difficulty that one would engender internationally by moving out. And so, with whatever kind of apologies and with whatever kind of grace I could conjure up, I'd get out of there in six months with all the troops the United States has. —RFK, on Vietnam, 1968

The tragedy of thirty years of war and bloodshed is over. Saigon has fallen. The American Embassy is empty and silent... . There was never a light at the end of the tunnel. There was only a long tunnel, made longer by our presence. —EMK, 1975

When I think of Bobby, I shall always see Cape Cod on a sunny day. The wind will be from the southwest and the whitecaps will be showing and the full tide will be sweeping through the gaps in the breakwater. It will be after lunch, and Bob will be stripped to the waist and he'll say, "Come on, Joe, Kathleen, Bobby and David, Courtney, Kerry, come on Michael, and even you Chris and Max — call your mother and come for a sail." One of the children would say, "What about the baby?" and the father would reply, "Douglas can come next year." They push off from the landing. The sails of the Resolute catch the wind, and the boat tips and there are squeals of laughter from the crew... . The boat heads out into Nantucket Sound. The tide is gentle — the sand shifts — the sky is blue — the seagulls watch from above and the breeze is warm. And there will be happiness and love and we are together again. —EMK, letter to the children of Robert Kennedy, November 1968

Want more? Click here to see our full Kennedy gallery >>

Do you know what it's like to have your wife frightened all the time? I'm not afraid to die, I'm too young to die. —EMK, 1968

Two hundred years from now, will people ask, "What was wrong with us?" We had exceptional prosperity, exceptional bounty, exceptional resources. Will they say, "They had the opportunity to do something about hunger, and they refused to address it"? —EMK, 1975

Every great city should be on a river. —EMK, 1965

Yet it goes without saying that I don't believe in long-range plans. We can never know what is just up ahead that might change everything. And I don't believe in the tyranny of time — that at a certain time, you must do a certain thing, take a certain step, or the opportunity will be lost forever. Some people say that 1972 is the year that I must make a move for the presidency, or 1976, or 1980. But how do I know some young fellow — some Jay Rockefeller — won't suddenly come on the scene and make everybody forget that anybody ever considered Ted Kennedy for the presidency. And so I just try to work in the areas and on the problems that were my brothers' concerns and let the future take care of itself. —EMK, 1969

Oh, come on. We Kennedys eat Rockefellers for breakfast. —RFK, 1965

I'm still in the same place — in the United States Senate. But in certain ways I feel I'm a different person. I realize that both my brothers, in addition to my parents, were the most important influences in my life, certainly in my public life. I relied on them perhaps more than I understood before their loss, not only as brothers but as friends. Their loss deprived me of the opportunity to talk with them and work closely with them on the kinds of public issues all of us have felt deeply about. The causes with which they were so closely identified have, to a great extent, become my causes, and I am attempting to carry on as best I can. —EMK, 1973

When you're a presidential contender, you always get more attention around here but less credibility. When you're not, you get more credibility but less attention. —EMK

There is a darker side to the American tradition, a violent aspect that lurks close to the surface of our national character and that is never easily controlled. —EMK, 1975

I'd managed to convince myself that she surely must have escaped, given that I had not seen her in the car. Perhaps I had misperceived while I was in the dark water. Perhaps I could wish it all away. —EMK, 2009

I just couldn't gain the strength within me, the moral strength to call Mrs. Kopechne at two o'clock in the morning and tell her her daughter was dead. —EMK, 1970

My children have been the greatest source of joy and fun for me. Having them around is a continuous reawakening, a sensitizing of my emotions — like taking the calluses off my fingers. —EMK, 1985

There's something about me I had hoped you would understand. I can't be bruised. I can't be hurt anymore. After what's happened to me, things like that just don't touch me, they don't get to me. I sincerely don't feel embittered. I learned something about the Senate, yes, but that's as far as it goes. —EMK, on losing the majority-whip race, 1971

I can't let go. We have a job to do. If I let go, Ethel will let go, and my mother will let go, and all my sisters. —EMK, 1968

Want more? Click here to see our full Kennedy gallery >>

I sometimes think we are too much impressed by the clamor of daily events. Newspaper headlines and the television screens give us a short view.... Yet it is the profound tendencies of history, and not the passing excitements, that will shape our future. —JFK, March 1962

It would be shameful ... if you let the politicians travel the safe middle ground to victory. For if they are to govern well, they need to be forced out of their safe harbors and into the storms that challenge the ship of state. Rarely can we stand at a point in history and say, before the fact, This is a turning point. We are at one of those points. But whether we really turn is up to you. —EMK, 1972

There's no question that in the next thirty to forty years a Negro can also achieve the same position that my brother has as President of the United States. —RFK, 1961

In the fall of 1959 I spoke at one of the country's most respected law schools, the professor in charge of teaching ethics told me the big question up for discussion among his students was whether, as a lawyer, you could lie to a judge. I told the professor and said later in my speech that I thought we had all been taught the answer to that question when we were six years old. —RFK, February 1960

Once you say you're going to settle for second that's what happens to you in life, I find. —JFK, 1960

Let your children know you love them ... and have a good strong back. —EMK, 1985

I remember my brother Jack at the Cape in 1961 just before he went to Paris to see de Gaulle and then to Vienna to see Khrushchev. Late in the afternoon we walked over together from his house to my father's house. There was a heavy fog coming in, and it was cool and getting dark. As we walked out across the lawn Caroline came out of my father's house crying. She came down off the porch and ran over to Jack. He sort of held her and talked to her with great tenderness. Just then the kitchen door opened up and someone called out, "Mr. President, they want you on the White House phone — they said it's important." And Jack said, "Caroline, I'll be back in just a moment. Let me take this phone call." Jack took the phone call and then we all went into the dining room together. As we sat down there was a silence at the table and I could feel that Dad for some reason was uneasy and edgy. And then he said, "Jack, I saw what happened outside. Caroline was in tears and came out. You had a call from the White House. I know there are a lot of things on your mind about meeting with Khrushchev and your trip abroad. But let me tell you something: Nothing that will happen during your Presidency will be as important as how Caroline turns out. And don't forget it." —EMK, 1973


The quotations in this article are drawn from multiple sources, including biographies, memoirs, magazine articles, archival audio and video files, and personal papers. We are particularly indebted to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston; the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum in Austin; the Paley Center for Media in New York; the American Presidency Project of the University of California, Santa Barbara; and the following authors and their works: Theodore C. Sorensen, Kennedy, 1965; Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Robert Kennedy and His Times, 1978; Dick Schaap, R.F.K., 1967; William vanden Heuvel and Milton Gwirtzman, On His Own: Robert F. Kennedy, 1964 — 1968, 1970; William H. Honan, Ted Kennedy: Profile of a Survivor, 1972; Garry Wills, The Kennedy Imprisonment: A Meditation on Power, 1981; Benjamin C. Bradlee, Conversations with Kennedy, 1975.

Read more: http://www.esquire.com/features/what-ive-learned/kennedy-family-history-0110#ixzz0ZOZVloUY

Yao Ming: What I've Learned

If you're going to learn a new language, you can't try to be perfect. You'll stop yourself from talking. You just have to let go.

Sometimes it can feel like there are a billion people on my shoulders.

Friendship first, competition second. That's a very famous Chinese expression.

In America it's: Game is game. Friendship is friendship.

Fortune cookies are a good idea. If the message is positive, it can make your day a little better.

The question of courage is something I've thought about for a long time. Tell me if I'm wrong, but courage is when a man in a difficult situation acts as if he truly believes he's right. And in the end, he is right.

When I was young, we were taught not to dunk. We were taught not to stand out from the rest of the team. It's different now. The young guys in China are new age. They want to show their stuff. But I am old-school. It was a big adjustment when I first came here to play at a camp. The coaches told me to dunk, but I would lay the ball in. Finally, the coaches made everyone else on my team run laps when I didn't dunk. I didn't want my teammates to be punished because of me. That's how I learned to dunk.

A good leader must be fair.

There was a game when I was perfect from the field. The 2001 season in China. Finals. But my team lost. So I guess it wasn't a perfect game.

I can't say exactly when it changed. But when I came into the NBA, I felt like I was challenging everyone I went up against. After a while, it felt like they were challenging me.

The alcohol in China is made of rice. It's strong. You know it's strong when you drink it. So you have an idea what it can do to you. But here, you have alcohol that doesn't taste very strong. So you think you can have many shots. You don't find out the truth until the next morning.

I haven't done much trash-talking. But last year, I did complain about a call. Nobody could believe it. So I said, "I've spent a lot on English lessons. I want to get my money's worth." The official was laughing.

My American strength coach says he liked me better before I could talk English.

We don't have a tip culture in China. If you give a tip to an old waiter, he might feel like you don't respect him. But I think the younger waiters would take it.

When I got my first paycheck playing in China, I thought, I'm making money now! I'm independent! That first month I went broke. My next paycheck was two weeks away and I didn't have anything in my pocket. That was a good experience to have before coming to the NBA.

Our first emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi. Napoleon. Roosevelt. That would make a good table for dinner.

Power means different things in different times. But the more I read, the more I think power is about intelligence.

Kobe's heart is as strong as his muscles.

Our honeymoon was in Europe. One stop was Venice. Cost fifty dollars for a ride in the gondola. There was also the romantic package. Three hundred dollars. That gets a bottle of red wine and a man playing music. But I don't really drink red wine. And you can hear the music coming from the other boats. So the fifty-dollar package seemed like the way to go.

I dream in Chinese.

One man cannot change the entire game. Support is necessary.

Sometimes my wife and I mix Chinese and English words in the same sentence. We call it Chinglish.

If I could get the fortune cookie I wanted, it would say: No more injuries.

I felt that I twisted my ankle when I fell down. If it was a regular-season game, I probably would have come out and told the trainer we need to look at it. But it was a playoff game against the Lakers. The first home game. I twisted it again in the third quarter. Then again in the fourth. I can't blame myself. No true player would want to leave the court in that situation. This was not about Chinese culture or American culture. It was about the culture of being a competitor.

The doctor told me the worst case: There's less than 1 percent chance that you can die during the surgery. That's a risk.

Sports teach you how to be quick. Injuries teach you how to slow down.

They had to change the angle of the ankle in order to release the pressure from one bone to another. There will be a lot of rehab. The best lesson my parents taught me was patience. I'm going to need it

Read more: http://www.esquire.com/features/what-ive-learned/yao-ming-0110#ixzz0ZOQepVOt

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Last Lecture ~Randy Pausch

5 Ways Europeans Live Better than Americans by Wendy Redal

Twice in the last year I’ve spent three weeks in Europe – last summer exploring several former Soviet bloc countries, most recently returning from a 2,000-mile driving trip through Italy and Switzerland’s Ticino region, the Italian-speaking corner that juts into the lakes district north of Milan.

Both times I’ve been struck, on “re-entry” (that’s always how it feels when I come back to the U.S. after a trip to another country), at how BIG everything is here at home. We drive big cars, especially in Colorado where I live, where every other vehicle seems to be an SUV. Our cars have big cup holders for our venti Frappucinos and Big Gulp sodas. We live in big houses that we furnish with big amounts of stuff we buy at big-box stores. Our big refrigerators – and often an extra freezer – are crammed full of food we purchase at big supermarkets. And, alas, we are big: as a nation, anyway. According to current data, 63% of Americans are overweight, and nearly 1/3 are obese.

Europeans clearly do things differently from us. Yet their ‘smaller’ lives seem in many ways richer and fuller. I’ve begun to notice some of those differences that we might do well to consider. Here are five that really struck me:

• Europeans walk and bike more. Whether in crowded cities like Rome or Budapest, or centuries-old rural villages, people get around on their own power. It’s easier than negotiating jammed streets, finding scarce parking, and paying $10 a gallon for gas (yes, that’s what we shelled out in Italy in June). Age has nothing to do with it: you’re as likely to see a wrinkled grandmother toting a wheeled market cart or pedaling her cruiser, a bouquet of baguettes in the handlebar basket, as you are more youthful cyclists – and they may be wearing an Armani business suit and silk tie, or a leopard baby-doll top and platforms, like a couple of stylish Roman commuters I watched weave through a jam of Fiats and Peugeots on the via Nomentana.

• Europeans use more public transit, and drive economical cars. If they can get there by train or bus, they usually do. Granted, Europe has a far better rail network than the U.S., and the same is true for buses, especially in small towns and rural areas. But when one must drive, what’s considered acceptable, especially for families, is a drastic contrast to American expectations. The Subaru Outback I and every seventh driver in Boulder own is considered a modest, practical car here – but in Europe, it’s big. In fact, so are Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas. Those are spacious, family-sized cars in Europe. They dwarf the Toyota Yaris, or the Fiat Panda, or the 2-door Audi A2 hatchback that isn’t even sold in the U.S. While the toy-like Smart Car is a novelty here, they’re all over the streets of Europe. The Europeans are getting 40, 50, even 60 miles per gallon and aren’t feeling a bit deprived.

• Europeans eat well, but eat less. Just try ordering a non-fat latte in Italy. You’d be laughed at (and you couldn’t get one). The standard Italian breakfast is a flaky, butter-laden croissant and a rich, foamy whole-milk 6-oz. cappuccino. No one spares the olive oil on a salad or a plate of fresh pasta. It’s a basic essential of Italian life. But restaurants don’t serve a pound of pasta as a single portion, either. And since everyone walks, the calories are burned while the calves stay toned for the stylish heels in which Italian women negotiate the ancient cobblestone streets of Florence. Another observation: virtually all European women wear bikinis at the beach — all ages, all body shapes, women who may be trim but have telltale belly rolls that are hard to avoid after having children. Europeans are a lot more at home in their bodies than Americans are. They don’t obsess about diets, and they are more comfortable and more gratified in their own skins.

• Europeans choose community over convenience. Though Britain is becoming an exception, in Europe, you don’t see people dashing off with their coffee in a paper cup. Most fast-food stands, like the ubiquitous neighborhood bars in Italy that serve a quick panini, espresso or glass of wine, do not offer disposable plates or cutlery. When I asked last summer at a casual plaza café in Croatia if I could get an impulsive espresso to go, not wanting to hold up my fellow travelers, the barista made a studied appraisal of me and asked, “Madame, are you really in so much of a hurry?” I tried to explain about delaying my companions, and he said simply, ‘They will wait.” They would, in Croatia. They would sit down together, and chat, and not be in such a rush.

• Europeans are more relaxed. At times it was irritating to find so many businesses (outside the main tourist districts, anyway) shuttered between 1 and 4 p.m. And if you didn’t eat lunch by 2:00, you couldn’t find an open restaurant until 7:00 or 7:30. The always-on, always-open nature of American commercial culture is simply not the norm in Europe, even in the sophisticated cities. In the oppressive heat of Rome in late June, it was easy to see the practicality of the ‘siesta’ tradition. A sluggish, heat-induced pall hung over the whole city, and those who were smart retreated behind thick stone walls to rest and rejuvenate. On Sundays, nearly everything is shut. Europeans learn to plan ahead so they can enjoy their culturally mandated – and embraced — leisure time.

Here’s to living more, with less.

Monday, December 7, 2009



If everything we attempted in life were achieved with a minimum of effort and came out exactly as planned, how little we would learn-and how boring life would be! And how arrogant we would become if we succeeded at everything we attempted. Failure allows us to develop the essential quality of humility. It is not easy-when you are the person experiencing failure-to accept it philosophically, serene in the knowledge that this is one of life’s great learning experiences. But it is. Nature’s ways are not always easily understood, but they are repetitive and therefore predictable. You can be absolutely certain that when you feel you are being most unfairly tested, you are being prepared for great achievement.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Your Destiny

You have the power to control your own destiny. You may not feel at all comfortable with that, or want to own up to the responsibility it implies, yet it is true nonetheless.
You may complain that there are so many powerful and overwhelming outside forces acting upon you that nothing you do will matter. Yet everything you do matters to the highest degree in creating your own destiny.
It may seem that fate has dealt you a certain hand, and that there is no way for you to change that fate. You can, however, change everything about your own perspective and the way you respond.
For your destiny is not about what comes to you. It is about who you choose to become.
Your destiny is not really about what happens to you. It is built and fulfilled by the things that you cause to happen, by what you do with the precious life you have.
It happens in every moment, with every choice, with every thought and every action. Always, you are creating your own unique destiny.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tiger Woods.

Funny how you can have everything and still leave your morals at home...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


What Is Courage?
Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.
- Ambrose Redmoon

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain

Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.
- John Wayne

I like the definitions of courage above, which all suggest that courage is the ability to get yourself to take action in spite of fear. The word courage derives from the Latin cor, which means "heart." But true courage is more a matter of intellect than of feeling. It requires using the uniquely human part of your brain (the neocortex) to wrest control away from the emotional limbic brain you share in common with other mammals. Your limbic brain signals danger, but your neocortex reasons that the danger isn't real, so you simply feel the fear and take action anyway. The more you learn to act in spite of fear, the more human you become. The more you follow the fear, the more you live like a lower mammal. So the question, "Are you a man or a mouse?" is consistent with human neurology.

Courageous people are still afraid, but they don't let the fear paralyze them. People who lack courage will give into fear more often than not, which actually has the long-term effect of strengthening the fear. When you avoid facing a fear and then feel relieved that you escaped it, this acts as a psychological reward that reinforces the mouse-like avoidance behavior, making you even more likely to avoid facing the fear in the future. So the more you avoid asking someone out on a date, the more paralyzed you'll feel about taking such actions in the future. You are literally conditioning yourself to become more timid and mouse-like.

Such avoidance behavior causes stagnation in the long run. As you get older, you reinforce your fear reactions to the point where it's hard to even imagine yourself standing up to your fears. You begin taking your fears for granted; they become real to you. You cocoon yourself into a life that insulates you from all these fears: a stable but unhappy marriage, a job that doesn't require you to take risks, an income that keeps you comfortable. Then you rationalize your behavior: You have a family to support and can't take risks, you're too old to shift careers, you can't lose weight because you have "fat" genes. Five years... ten years... twenty years pass, and you realize that your life hasn't changed all that much. You've settled down. All that's really left now is to live out the remainder of your years as contently as possible and then settle yourself into the ground, where you'll finally achieve total safety and security.

But there's something else going on behind the scenes, isn't there? That tiny voice in the back of your mind recalls that this isn't the kind of life you wanted to live. It wants more, much more. It wants you to become far wealthier, to have an outstanding relationship, to get your body in peak physical condition, to learn new skills, to travel the world, to have lots of wonderful friends, to help people in need, to make a meaningful difference. That voice tells you that settling into a job where you sell widgets the rest of your life just won't cut it. That voice frowns at you when you catch a glance of your oversized belly in the mirror or get winded going up a flight of stairs. It beams disappointment when it sees what's become of your family. It tells you that the reason you have trouble motivating yourself is that you aren't doing what you really ought to be doing with your life... because you're afraid. And if you refuse to listen, it will always be there, nagging you about your mediocre results until you die, full of regrets for what might have been.

So how do you respond to this ornery voice that won't shut up? What do you do when confronted by that gut feeling that something just isn't right in your life? What's your favorite way to silence it? Maybe drown it out by watching TV, listening to the radio, working long hours at an unfulfilling job, or consuming alcohol and caffeine and sugar.

But whenever you do this, you lower your level of consciousness. You sink closer towards an instinctive animal and move away from becoming a fully conscious human being. You react to life instead of proactively going after your goals. You fall into a state of learned helplessness, where you begin to believe that your goals are no longer possible or practical for you. You become more and more like a mouse, even trying to convince yourself that life as a mouse might not be so bad after all, since everyone around you seems to be OK with it. You surround yourself with your fellow mice, and on the rare occasions that you encounter a fully conscious human being, it scares the hell out of you to remember how much of your own courage has been lost.


trip ideas

15 Life-Changing Trips
We reached out to our network of trusted tour operators to create custom itineraries for T+L readers that promise to transform travelers and destinations alike. They’ll have you seeing the globe in a whole new way.

By Yolanda Crous, Jaime Gross, and Darrell Hartman, Travel+Leisure

Volunteering: Rio De Janeiro

Why Go: Few travelers get to do more than scratch the surface of this city of disorienting contrasts, where a golden coastline and buzzing night-life districts abut gritty, overcrowded favelas—home to about 20 percent of Rio’s 6 million residents. This 10-day trip from U.K.-based operator Hands Up Holidays gives volunteers a deeper look at the city and a chance to make a difference.

The Trip: An experienced voluntourism outfitter, Hands Up Holidays excels at balancing unexpected sightseeing expeditions (sunset on Arpoador Beach; hiking in the wetlands of Marapendí; Portuguese-architecture walks) with four days of volunteering in the city’s favelas. Tours of the popular nightlife district Lapa and the bohemian Santa Teresa neighborhood, where a boutique hotel of the same name is your base, add a level of luxury to days spent in the favelas of Vila Canoas, Pereirão, and Rocinha. There, you’ll help residents paint street murals, or spend your time teaching English, art, and soccer (depending on your skills). Hands Up also takes volunteers to visit Project Morrinho, an arts and culture nonprofit, to see a replica of the famous “mini favela” that was built from bricks and other recycled materials by local youth and displayed at the 2007 Venice Biennale as a way to raise awareness of the city’s impoverished districts.

The Details: T+L Transformation Vacation by Hands Up Holidays; 201/984-5372; http://www.handsupholidays.com; Dec. 9–18, 2009, March 3–12 and June 9–18, 2010; from $3,250, double, excluding airfare.

4 More Trip Ideas

Volunteering: Hawaii

The Operator: Habitat for Humanity (10 days)

The Trip: Build a house for a family in Kauai.

Highlight: Cabin accommodations in lush Kahili Mountain Park. 800/422-4828; http://www.habitat.org; Dec. 6–15, 2009; $1,510 per person.

Volunteering: Mexico

The Operator: Ritz-Carlton, Cancún (1 day)

The Trip: Restore furniture and a garden at a school in a Mayan pueblito.

Highlight: Intro Mayan language lessons are included. 52-998/881-0808; http://www.ritz-carlton.com; Year-round; $115 per Ritz-Carlton, Cancún hotel guest.

Volunteering: Cambodia

The Operator: Pepy Tours (7 days)

The Trip: This itinerary (by tuk-tuk and bicycle) pairs voluntourism with stays at inns and lodges.

Highlight: A field trip to Angkor Wat with schoolchildren. 914/458-4262; http://www.pepytours.com; Dec. 27–Jan. 2, 2010; from $100 per person per day.

Volunteering: Kenya

The Operator: Micato Safaris (12–18 days)

The Trip: Spot lions, then plant trees at a community center in Nairobi.

Highlight: Learn how the center’s advisers save lives through AIDS education. 800/642-2861; http://www.micato.com; Year-round; from $7,670 per person.

Cultural Odyssey: Vietnam

Why Go: More than two decades after Vietnam embraced free-market principles, the pace of development here is dramatic. But even as new stores and restaurants open in the cities and luxury resorts line the coast, traditional Vietnamese culture remains just beneath the surface. Asia Transpacific Journeys, a 2009 T+L Global Vision Awards winner with over 20 years experience in the region, is the ultimate guide to the country’s history and culture.

The Trip: This journey takes you to some of Vietnam’s greatest landmarks—old Hanoi; the Perfume River—along with lesser-known places such as the hill-tribe villages and markets of the northern highlands. From exploring the royal palaces of Hue, the former imperial capital, to venturing into the Viet Cong tunnels of Cu Chi, Asia Transpacific will give you the full historical tour. But what makes this trip truly extraordinary is the opportunity to engage with residents and hear their perspective on the country: you’ll meet artisans and relatives of the former royal family, participate in a cooking class with local chefs, spend time with an American Vietnam War vet who has dedicated his life to removing land mines, and attend dinners and recitals in private houses. After 17 days in Vietnam, you can opt to continue to Rangoon, Burma, and the village of Twante to see the Asia Transpacific Foundation’s award-winning clay water-filter project first-hand.

The Details: T+L Transformation Vacation by Asia Transpacific Journeys; 800/642-2742; http://www.asiatranspacific.com; March 5–21, 2010; $5,395 per person, excluding airfare; $300 per day for Burma extension.

15 Life-Changing Trips (continued)
4 More Trip Ideas

Cultural Odyssey: Santa Fe and Taos

The Operator: Classic Journeys (5 days)

The Trip: An exploration of the pueblos in the American Southwest.

Highlight: See Anasazi cliff dwellings and adobe architecture. 800/200-3887; http://www.classicjourneys.com; May 30–June 4 and Sept. 19–24, 2010; $2,595 per person.

Cultural Odyssey: Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize

The Operator: MesoAmerica Travel (14 days)

The Trip: Trek through national parks and pre-Columbian sites.

Highlight: See Mayan hieroglyphs at the Copán ruins in Honduras. 504/557-8447; http://www.mesoamericatravel.com; year-round; $2,550 per person.

Cultural Odyssey: Provence

The Operator: Tauck Culturious (8 days)

The Trip: Southern France through the eyes of Cézanne and van Gogh.

Highlights: The Mediterranean views and a chance to sketch a masterpiece. 888/840-1852; http://www.culturious.com; year-round; $3,490 per person.

Cultural Odyssey: Japan

The Operator: Butterfield & Robinson (8 days)

The Trip: Bike rural Japan and meet bonsai tenders and kimono makers.

Highlights: Drink with a tea master and relax in an onsen. 866/551-9090; http://www.butterfield.com; May 12–19, May 26–June 2, and Sept. 30–Oct. 7, 2010; $9,459 per person.

Eco Escape: Glacier National Park

Why Go: Next year, America’s fourth-largest national park—more than 1 million acres running along the Canadian border—celebrates its 100th anniversary. But this milestone isn’t the only reason to head there now: it’s estimated that the park’s glaciers will vanish by 2030 because of climate change. Austin-Lehman Adventures, voted the top tour operator by T+L readers in our 2009 World’s Best Awards, guides travelers through this evolving landscape—and helps them better understand the forces altering it.

The Trip: Accompanied by Austin-Lehman’s expert wilderness guides, you’ll spend six days in the park hiking through cedar forests, biking alongside alpine meadows and 10,000-foot-high mountains, and sleeping in timber lodges that date to 1913. Half-day walks pass through the Two Medicine area (site of the 30-foot-high Twin Falls and mountain-shadowed Two Medicine Lake) and the North Fork area, home to mountain lions, bighorn sheep, black bears, and moose. Austin-Lehman guides will teach you about the local ecosystem and how to travel light, while professional outdoor photographer Dennis Coello, who also joins the trip, will instruct you on how to shoot both the park’s wildlife and its panoramic vistas, including those iconic, millennia-old glaciers.

The Details: T+L Transformation Vacation by Austin-Lehman Adventures; 800/575-1540; http://www.austinlehman.com; July 25–30, Aug. 1–6, Aug. 8–13, and Aug. 15–20, 2010; $2,498 per person, excluding airfare.

4 More Trip Ideas

Eco Escape: Western Canada

The Operator: GAP Adventures (14 days)

The Trip: Take a greatest-hits tour of British Columbia and Alberta’s rugged wilderness.

Highlights: Stay in a tepee and a mountain lodge. 800/708-7761; http://www.gapadventures.com; July 11–24, Aug. 8–21, and Sept. 12–25, 2010; $2,699 per person.

Eco Escape: Peru’s Amazon River

The Operator: Earthwatch (15 days)

The Trip: Help scientists gather data via riverboat.

Highlight: Play researcher for a real-life conservation effort. 800/776-0188; http://www.earthwatch.org; Nov. 16–30, Dec. 4–18, 2009, and Jan. 1–23, 2010; from $3,750 per person.

Eco Escape: Madagascar

The Operator: Geographic Expeditions (13 days)

The Trip: Journey to the world’s fourth-largest island for wildlife seen nowhere else.
Highlight: One word: lemurs. 800/777-8183; http://www.geoex.com; June–Oct., 2010; $7,300 per person.

Eco Escape: South India

The Operator: Sierra Club (15 days)

The Trip: Spend time birding and searching for the Bengal tiger.

Highlight: Talk tigers (and elephants and leopards) with Indian environmentalists. 415/977-5522; http://www.sierraclub.org; Jan. 10–25, 2010; from $4,975 per person.