P.C.Pop with Pablo

Posts Tagged ‘Oprah’

Emerging Stronger

In health, life, Malavenda, Music, Pablo Malavenda, Philosophy, Pop Culture, Uncategorized, wellness on April 29, 2012 at 9:15 pm


What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller

(Stronger, 2011 – Clarkson).


I believe in signs — and this week little signs were popping up everywhere. Eventually it hit me like a hammer. Here’s my story.


Sign 1:


I rarely listen to pop radio — maybe once every six months or so.  Because I am a music snob, I either listen to my iPod or NPR. Yesterday while driving across town, for some reason, I needed to hear music and hit search on the radio till I found music. The first song was the latest mega-hit by Adele, which is enjoyable. Honestly the rest of the songs have been long forgotten except the last song.  As I was pullin’ up on our house, I saw my wife and daughter; so, I cranked up the tunes and pulled in the driveway.  The song was Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson. My daughter gave me that “Dad, you’re such a dork” look but I was amused as was my wife.  This morning on my way to the gym, I turned the key in the ignition and the radio came on, still tuned to the pop (schlock) radio station.  The song was Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson — AGAIN.  What the heck? Although I think American Idol is evil to the core, I do admire Kelly Clarkson; and this song isn’t half bad.  It is a bit cliche but it is a catchy pop song with a great hook with the chorus; and it is enjoyable in a mindless sort of way.  My daughter loves Kelly Clarkson (it could be worse) so I listened a bit closer; and although it is an angst infused love song of sorts I was struck by the “…stand a little taller…” line. Yes — this is the first sign — a message being sent to me to get me through this week. I immediately needed to hear Kanye West’s Stronger.


Work it harder, Make it better,
Do it faster, Makes us stronger,
More than ever, Never over,
Our work is never over.

Now that don’t kill me
Can only make me stronger

(Stronger, 2007 – Kanye West).


History


The saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” is from Twilight of the Idols by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. Friedrich Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) was a German philosopher, who was a writer, poet, and commentator on philosophy based on the foundation of values and morality as well as religion and culture of his times. His outspokenness and critiques made him so famous that he decided to publish the equivalent of Nietzsche for Dummies in 1888 entitled Twilight of the Idols.  This book was divided into several sections to make it easy to understand the most important work of Nietzsche (according to Nietzsche).  The first section the Preface set the tone by including a maxim from Roman author Aulus Gellius. The quote which Nietzsche referred to as his motto is “Increscunt animi, virescit volnere virtus” which translates into

“The spirits increase, vigor grows through a wound.”

Wow…this could be the next song by Ms. Clarkson or Mr. Kanye — or better yet their collaboration.

This section of Twilight of the Idols was aptly called Maxims and Arrows.  In Maxims and Arrows, Nietzsche shares profound statements in short-form — a list of incredibly thoughtful, mind-boggling, tidbits of philosophies by which to live. Although Nietzsche was being ironic, sarcastic and mocking in many of his entries, today we revere them in a literal manner. Number eight of the Maxims and Arrows is “Aus dem Leben der Schule des Krieges: Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker” which means: Out of life’s school of war:

What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.

This famous saying has been paraphrased in several different ways, sometimes with “Whatever” or “That which” instead of “What” and “slay” or some other verb in place of “destroy.”  Today, we state “What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.” {And it is quite ironic that Nietzsche uses the word “Idols” in his title and Kelly Clarkson was the first winner of American “Idol.”  False gods for sure.}


Song composers and screen writers love Nietzsche.  Some mentions of Nietzsche and this famous maxim (or is it an Arrow?) in movies, music, and  entertainment news are as follows:

  • Conan the Barbarian (1982) – quote shown in opening credits
  • Steel Magnolias (1989) – stated by Clairee played by actor, Olympia Dukakis
  • The Dark Knight (2008) – a variation stated by the Joker played by actor, Heath Ledger. Joker’s line: “I believe whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you…stranger.”
  • The General’s Daughter (1999) – “Whatever hurts you makes me stronger” stated by Elisabeth played by actor, Leslie Stefanson
  • Little Miss Sunshine (2006) – Uncle Frank (played by actor, Steve Carell) looks at the banner with a drawing of Nietzsche and says, “Nietzsche, huh?”
  • Music artists who used Nietzsche as inspiration include Pink Floyd, Marilyn Manson, David Bowie, Radiohead, Dust Brothers, Mobb Deep, Manowar, Black Sabbath, the Doors, Slayer, Metallica, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Fall, Pantera, Fear Factory, The Dandy Warhols, Judas Iscariot…and of course, Kanye West and Kelly Clarkson.
  • Mel Gibson in an interview with the Telegraph (2010) reflecting on what he had learned through his humiliating experience that “It changes you and makes you one tough m*th*rf**k*r. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s really that simple.”
  • Angelina Jole’s tattoo on her hip is a Nietzsche-like Latin quote “quod me nutrit me destruit” which means “What nourishes me also destroys me.”

But seriously; Nietzsche was on to something.  All of us have (or will have) to deal with tragedy, although you may doubt that it really “makes you stronger.”  No matter what’s going on in your world that makes you feel like it can’t get worse — I guarantee there is someone worse off.


Sign 2:


Last week a travelling Broadway production of Young Frankenstein (pronounced Fronkensteen) came to town.  It was a pretty good show if you enjoy silly, sophomoric, fart, horny, pee-pee humor — but it is what it is.  During the show I recalled with amazement how many stars were in the movie version including Gene WilderTeri GarrCloris LeachmanPeter BoyleMadeline KahnKenneth MarsRichard Haydn and Gene Hackman. I couldn’t remember though the name of the actor who played Igor. I now know it was the incomparable Marty Feldman. Fast forward to Monday’s CBS This Morning — Anna Quindlen was being interviewed when she shared a story. She was stuck in a dangerous storm and her daughter was worried about her to which she replied, “I am too old to die young.” A powerful and witty quote that could mean a number of different things.  My interpretation is that once you get to a certain age (I hate that term, btw), you realized that tragedy is a part of life and you survive by how you deal with it. After another Google search — I discovered that Marty Feldman was the author of this quote. He was close to the end and quipped

“I am too old to die young, and too young to grow up.”

This was Sign 2 — and it hit me like a Hammer.


Sign 3:


This weekend I was following the tweets of my friend, Sam, who has been training for months to run a marathon, and it was this weekend. Sam did a great job of tweeting to his followers regular updates on his progress to the starting line and ultimately to finishing the race — fulfilling a lifelong goal. About the time that the marathon was about to start, one tweet caught my attention. This tweet mentioned “the reason why I am running” with a link to a post on his blog, “Making Sense of the Senseless…I Think?!” The title of the post is “Running Through Pain,” and it is a powerful and personal account of why Sam had to run this marathon.  Sam’s journey includes mentoring through Big Brothers a young man going through tough times, the loss of his grandfather last year, and remembering the loss of his cousin and best friend at the very young age of 19 — the marathon is the 6-year anniversary of his cousin’s death. All of this “pain” plus the real pain of training for and running a 26-mile marathon is the theme of the blog post.  Sam’s story is so powerful I had to read it twice — and then share it with my son (and anyone else who would listen to me). Trust me — you must read this blog post about Sam’s journey. It reminds me of our resilience. Much of what we feel is a choice. How we respond to tragedy, pain, setbacks, disappointment, and mistakes, intentional or accidental, not only determines how we feel but reflects our focus, our vision, our determination, our  patience, our forgiveness, our perseverance, our strength. You learn a lot about others and yourself when things go wrong. As Maya Angelou said,

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

Sam’s journey and the recent death of one of our friends due to cancer, again at the young age of 45, also reinforce that no matter how low I feel, there is always someone who is suffering more.  More importantly, be grateful for all of your blessings now, and make sure you know what is important — and it ain’t money.  I am focused on family especially my wife and kids and my friends — who are positive and supportive.  I value my home, the food in our pantry and on our table each night, my freedom, my time with my family, and the resources I give my children to become caring, loving, and STRONG servants and scholars.  It saddens me that others are suffering more and have less than I, but it gives me hope and motivates me to give and serve. It puts my problems in perspective.

And yes, you can disagree with the maxim “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” but it is hard to ignore the success stories.  Three individuals come to mind, who were severely abused but managed to rise to unbelievable levels of success. They are Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry and Louie Armstrong. I chose these three individuals because no one can deny their achievements have been extraordinary and their hardships were extreme.

  • Is adversity a blessing in disguise?
  • Feeling sorry for yourself is a choice.
  • Shame and guilt may be a choice but still overwhelming. As my pastor says though you should not feel Shame but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of Guilt to motivate you to change.
  • Setbacks in life give you fuel for growth, give you a way to heal, allow you to succeed on your own terms, and cultivate within you compassion and empathy.
  • I assure you the next time someone you know gets in trouble, you will not be so quick to judge, you will refrain from gossip, and you will reach out to them — with compassion and empathy.
  • Mercy, forgiveness, and grace are powerful and transforming.

So, now go read Sam’s blog post: “Running Through Pain,” cue up Kanye’s Stronger and crank it up.

Stand a little taller; and Believe that we will be BETTER, FASTER, STRONGER — ’cause our WORK is NEVER OVER.




“Lord, please let them accept the things they can’t change; And pray that all of their pain be champagne”

(Otis from Watch the Throne, 2011 by Jay-Z and Kanye West).


Prologue – More Signs:


Bizarre Random Signs of Nietzsche since the post was published:

  • April 23, 2012 – Dances With the Stars: I was working on the first draft of this post while watching DWTS and Bruno said to Urkel, “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” {Spooky}.
  • April 30, 2012 – Late Night with Jimmy Fallon: In a comedy bit called “Don’t Quote Me,” Nietzsche’s quote “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” was featured with a lesser known Nietzsche quote (here’s the comedy part) — “A fourth bong hit is always a bad idea.”  Click HERE to see the Jimmy Fallon “Don’t Quote Me” video: Nietzsche is the last quote in this segment and may be seen about 4 minutes into the video.
  • May 19, 2012  – GLEE marathon on Oxygen network. GLEE cast covers Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You). Originally aired on Fox network during the GLEE winter finale episode “On My Way” on Tuesday, February 21, 2012.
  • August 22, 2012 — found this quote online — “You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” – Walt Disney

READ more about Choosing Your Attitude — PCPop blog post:


Advertisements

Have Yourself A Rosie Little Christmas

In Malavenda, Oprah, OWN, Pablo Malavenda, Pop Culture, Rosie O'Donnell, The Rosie Show, TV shows on December 14, 2011 at 10:25 pm

The Rosie Show - Rosie O'Donnell

On Tuesday, December 13, 2011, the Malavenda clan had an epic day.  During the Fall of 2011 we have hit a very, very low point. Somehow though on this special day we managed to have one of the best days in the history of our family. It all started when Oprah put Rosie O’Donnell back on the air.  My partner and I have LOVED Rosie O’Donnell for a very long time.  During our time at UConn, I managed to get ~50 tickets to see a taping of the new Rosie O’Donnell Show at “30 Rock” in New York City.  On January 12, 1998, during Rosie’s second season of her original show my partner and I chaperoned a busload of college students to the Big Apple.  It was a great day.  We have forever been die-hard Rosie fans. That is why when Oprah announced that Rosie’s Show would be a part of the line-up for her OWN network, we were very happy.  To our surprise and delight, Rosie would be taping in Chicago.  Rosie the ultimate New Yorker was moving to Chicago and taking over the Harpo Studios.  We knew that we had to be there.  After 25 years of failure in getting tickets to see Oprah, we got on it right away with Rosie.  My partner was on the website every day and NOTHING.  All of a sudden one day, dates appeared.  We put our names in for every date available.  BINGO.  We got tickets.  We were going to the ROSIE SHOW!

We put our heads together and decided to make it work.  Our plan was to give this as an early Christmas gift to our kids.  Our budget is fine for now but if our situation doesn’t change in 2012, money could be an issue.  Using this as a Christmas present made sense financially.  The beauty though (and irony) is that our kids would much rather have experiences like this than any game or electronic device.  We also decided to make it a surprise to our kids.  It was not easy though.  On Friday, Rosie’s people emailed us the Friday before our taping encouraging us to wear our “ugliest Christmas sweater” to the taping.  We don’t have any ugly clothes so my partner posted a request on Facebook.  She got an immediate response from several friends.  Once that ugly sweater was in our possession our kids started to ask questions.  What do you need the sweater for?  Whose party is it for?  When is the party? Are we going to the party too? We dodged those questions for most of the weekend.

Thank goodness Monday arrived and the kids went to school.  Our kids got home from school, participated in their after school activities, made it home and immediately began working on their homework.  It was around 9 p.m. before they were both done with their work.  They got the clothes ready for school because it was going to be spirit day and they got ready for bed.  They went to bed.  We waited about 5 minutes and called them back downstairs to our family room.  I turned off the TV, had them sit on the couch across from me, and told them I had to tell them something — something good.  We told them they were not going to school the next day and that we were going to Chicago to see the taping of the Rosie Show.  They thought we were kidding.  Once they figured out we were “for real” they went to bed, of course, too excited to fall asleep right away.

The next morning we headed to Chicago for one of the BEST days of our history as a family.  We had a wonderful breakfast at Ina’s, we found parking right across the street from Harpo for only $10 for the entire day, and we got in line about an hour before we were supposed to be there.

Waiting in line and waiting to get in the studio was a lot of fun.  Once inside Rosie’s people gave us a very yummy cupcake.  We then got our seats and although we weren’t in the front section, we had perfect seats.  We could see the band and the main-stage without any problem.  Under our seats were Snuggies because Rosie keeps the studio really cold (because of her hot flashes) and she wants us to be comfortable.  Of course our boy put his on right away. As the time passed the show started to come together.  There were ugly sweaters all over the audience as well as antler ears, Rudolph noses, Santa hats, (Christmas) light-up clothes and lots of bows, tinsel and garland.  The stage was decked out with several Christmas trees and decorations including candy and cookies.  The audience coordinator gave us our instructions, the warm-up comic did his stand-up routine, Holly the announcer got into place, and the band arrived including Katreese Barnes their leader.  And the show was about to start and out comes — R O S I E!

She was brilliant and gracious.  The show theme was “It’s a Crafty Christmas.”  The guests were Marjorie Johnson, the Blue Ribbon baker and Rosie’s favorite craft guru, Bobby Pierce.  The musical guest was Casey Gorab from the new A Christmas Story: the Musical which is on tour in Chicago (hoping to make it to Broadway).  The show was great but what made the experience special was Rosie.  Our theory is that since there wasn’t a big star on the show, Rosie was being very engaging with the audience during breaks — and she gave us lots of stuff.  My boy actually caught her attention and was able to ask her a question during one of the breaks.  His question was great.  He asked “What kind of performing did she do as a kid?”  She was not sure at first if he was a boy and then she called him a cutie patootie.  She then gave a great answer and asked him if he has been performing.  They chatted about the PMO Christmas Show. It was a wonderful interaction between Rosie and my boy.  After the show, Rosie invites children to the stage to meet her and take a picture with her.  Rosie immediately called out my boy’s name and was delightful with both our kids.  They not only got a perfect photo with Rosie (see above), but she also gave them Hanukkah gelt, huge Christmas cookies, candy canes filled with chocolate, and chocolate truffles — all directly from the Christmas set that the crew was tearing down around us.  We were walking on a cloud.  She was engaging, gracious, generous, and slightly humble.  She really likes kids and seemed to like ours. We filed out of the studio with the rest of the audience and gathered up our loot. We ended up with the following:

We contemplated getting in the “Stand by” line for the second show which featured Penny Marshall but it was full.  We decided to pack all of our Rosie give-a-ways in the car and go get some deep dish pizza.  (When in Rome….)  We have had deep dish pizza many, many times but we have not been to Giordano’s Famous Pizza restaurant.  It was close enough to walk and even the walk to the restaurant in the Greek Town neighborhood of Chicago was fun.  We walked through the Adams-Sangamon Park which had an awesome sculpture, a doggie play area, a great view of the Sears Tower, and a lighted Christmas tree.

Because it was only 4 p.m., we were seated right away, got our pizza and were very content (full) with pizza. Surprisingly, it was some of the best deep dish pizza we have ever had. We headed home to Indiana and reminisced on a great day. The best part of the day was that we were able to share it with our kids.  My partner and I have seen a few tapings in our day in New York City and Los Angeles (SNL, Letterman, Maury) but I cannot describe how wonderful it is to share something like this with your kids.  Especially a taping of a show like the Rosie Show.  It was truly entertaining from beginning to end. We experienced something very special. We all had a great day — TOGETHER.  It was perfect.

We even got our Christmas card picture (see below), finally made it to Harpo Studios (check it off the bucket list), got lots of loot, didn’t spend too much money (We even lucked out and found gas for only $3.09 a gallon in Merriville), and have a reason to go back to Chicago soon — to see A Christmas Story – the Musical (for free)

The next day, my partner signed up for tickets for all of the tapings of the Rosie Show in January 2012; and my boy spent most of the night in his new Snuggie.

It might actually be a great Christmas after all.  Thank you, Rosie (& Oprah); and Thank you to my precious family. Peace – Love – Laughter! (Especially NOW!)

Snowflake Dazzle Christmas Card
View the entire collection of cards.