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table of contents

Culture Club, pg. 44

Learn

Live

20 Plugged In

36 Fatherhood

22 Small Screen 24 BIg Screen 28 get connected 30 VerSuS 32 reBel Yell

talking with your child is only the first step.

40 ScoreBoard a former nFl player is biking across the country to raise awareness for veterans.

44 culture cluB couchSurfing is turning travel into a uniquely personal experience.

48 an oPen InVItatIon ten years wearing a nametag taught me a lot about life.


table of contents

Culture Shock, pg. 68

Rebel With a Cause, pg. 78

Give Back, pg. 94

Live

Serve

54 Love at First Byte

90 reBeL events

Diving with sharks helped one man recognize his dependency on technology.

58 GaminG Grows Up

Using the virtual world to instigate change in the real world.

62 restorinG the american Dream a plan to fix the national housing crisis.

March / April 2012

68 cULtUre shock

Cover design by Cory Michael Skaaren

men’s role in the buying & selling of women.

78 reBeL with a caUse

innovative entrepreneur shaun king has mastered the art of using social media for social good.

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92 Get invoLveD 94 Give Back 96 Backstory


IT’S

ALL OF US TO STAND UP TO CANCER. IN THE UNITED STATES, 1 IN 2 MEN AND 1 IN 3 WOMEN WILL BE DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER IN THEIR LIFETIMES. TOGETHER, WE CAN CHANGE THOSE ODDS. HEIDI IS STANDING UP FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS WHO HAVE BATTLED CANCER. WHO WILL YOU STAND UP FOR? VISIT STANDUP2CANCER.ORG TO LEARN MORE. BUY A SWEATSHIRT AND THE PROCEEDS FROM YOUR PURCHASE WILL SUPPORT ACCELERATED CANCER RESEARCH.

HEIDI KLUM IS A STAND UP TO CANCER AMBASSADOR. PHOTOGRAPH BY RANKIN.


Publishers Rick Cabral Michael Kelley editor in Chief Ron Matejko eVP Consumer marketing and digital strategy Erik Merkow direCtor of sales and marketing Teri Sullivan graPhiC designer Maureen Taylor

Now takiNg ReseRvatioNs foR ad space coNtact us today

480.951.8000

CoPy editor Marie Look editorial assistant April Atwood eVents Coordinator Danielle Geary PubliC relations Middleton & Gendron Contributing Writers Troy Anderson, Constance Dunn, Scott Ginsberg, Evan Katz, Craig Morgan, Ken Parker, Christofer Pierson, Nick Ruland, Daniel Ruyter, Daniel Sieberg, Scott Starkel, Michael Uslan Contributing designer / illustrator Cory Skaaren Contributing designer Kim Koogler editorial/information editor@rebelmagazine.com Published by Rebel Media, L.L.C. 8937 E. Bell Road, Suite 101 Scottsdale, Arizona 85260 o: 480.951.8000 f: 480.991.2888

rebelmagazine.com on Twitter: @RebelMag

on Facebook: facebook.com/RebelMagazine1

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Copyright Š 2012 rebel media, llC. all rights reserved. rebel is a registered trademark of rebel media, llC. reproduction in whole or in part without prior written permission is prohibited. opinions expressed in signed articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in rebel is accurate and complete, no liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions. rebel provides information in articles such as phone numbers, times, prices, etc., as a service to our readers. all information has been researched and checked for accuracy at press time. We are not responsible for any changes, or variances in information following publications. rebel is published six times a year by rebel media, llC. Publisher assumes no responsibility for loss or damage to unsolicited materials.


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Publishers’ letter

Change is fostered when we, you and me, decide we want to make a difference. It’s a decision we come to live with, or I suppose, more artfully stated, one we can’t live without. It isn’t rooted in perfection and cannot wait until one gets it right. It is Now. And lives within a leap of FAITH. Funny thing is ... when we peel away the layers, cultural labels and political affiliations we’ve assumed due to social class, education, religion or birthright, we are, at our essence, the same. We are part of the human condition, even half a world apart. We understand heartache, dreams and worldly desires, we’ve felt the sting of bad decisions or the empowerment of overcoming personal fears, the blinding light of love when it visits and empties our souls. We’ve shared in birth and death, and recognize there’s beauty in it all. So rebel is a magazine for us. People like you and me, who despite our best efforts don’t always get it right, aren’t the funniest in the room, the smartest, sexiest or most adept — we recognize and accept only, that we can do more. Be more. More caring. Loving to those we may not understand. More accountable to ourselves and others, more of who we were meant to be, before we gave up or reluctantly gave in. Because when I can be more of me, I think you can be more of you. Who knows ... we might even start to get “REAL.” So rebel is a magazine? No. It’s more than that. It’s a movement, or a mission; maybe it’s a question. A collective of voices that have plenty to say and more to do. We are storytellers, and standing stage right, we are actors, preparing for a part with no end, because it is not yet written. So rebels, unite and join us in the opportunity to, in some small way, change the world. But we must start by first allowing ourselves to be changed. That, my friend, is an occurrence of the heart and cannot stop to consider the head. The heart is the best of who we are — it’s our truth, and when we let it guide our way, we are better served, and so is the world in which we live. Michael Kelley michael@rebelmagazine.com Co-founder/Publisher

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Editor’s LEttEr

The concept of accountability is a simple one: Take responsibility for your own actions. While that seems straightforward enough in theory, in practice, taking an unbiased self-assessment is about the most difficult thing we can do. Who wants to look at our own faults anyway? Why do we want to point out the things that are wrong with us? The truth is we are all flawed. We all have character weaknesses that need strengthening. However, it is a lot easier to simply ignore those weaknesses instead of putting in the effort to address them. The problem with that is twofold. Not only do we then fail to evolve and grow as an individual, but we also affect the lives of those who are impacted by our actions. And that doesn’t only include the people who are in our lives. Depending on the situation, that ripple effect can extend well beyond what we ever considered. Take the topic of our Culture Shock feature for this issue. We ask men to consider their actions in reference to the multibillion-dollar sex industry. There are many factors in which men, either knowingly or not, contribute to the demand for legal and illegal products and services within the sex industry, such as pornography, sex slavery, child prostitution and more. From watching porn on your computer, to being an inattentive parent, to hiring prostitutes, there are many ways men are fueling a worldwide epidemic. This feature doesn’t intend to point fingers of blame, but rather awaken men to their role in negatively affecting the lives of others. Sex is natural and should not be seen as a bad thing, yet often it’s treated as such. Perhaps it’s our nation’s prudish and oppressed attitude toward sex that unknowingly adds momentum to this problem. Sex as a standalone component within our lives is not bad. But some of the actions we engage in which relate to it are, and we need to be responsible for them. Ron Matejko ron@rebelmagazine.com Editor-in-Chief

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contributors

Michael Uslan

Michael Uslan is the executive producer, along with his partner, Benjamin Melnicker, of the Batman franchise of motion pictures. During his 33 years in the film and television business, he has been involved with such films as National Treasure, Constantine and countless animated projects. His works have won Oscars, Golden Globes and Emmy Awards. He recently formed an independent film development and production firm called The Uslan Company (Theuslancompany. com). He is also the author of the book The Boy Who Loved Batman (Theboywholovedbatman.com).

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Daniel sieberg

Daniel Sieberg is employed by Google, where he primarily works with marketing and media outreach teams on a variety of strategies and products. He is also the author of The Digital Diet: the fourstep plan to break your tech addiction and regain balance in your life, a book about developing a healthy approach to consuming technology. Prior to joining Google, Sieberg was a five-time Emmynominated TV correspondent, host and anchor. Sieberg’s work has appeared across four continents on CBS News, CNN, ABC News, MSNBC, BBC News, NPR, PBS, The Daily, Al Jazeera English, CNET, the Discovery Channel, Bloomberg, Planet Green, Oprah.com, The Dr. Oz Show, Details, The Washington Post and The Vancouver Sun. From 2006 to 2010, he was the CBS News science and technology correspondent, and from 2000 to 2006 he was the technology correspondent for CNN. For more information, visit Danielsieberg.com.

scott ginsberg

Did you know there’s actually a world record for “wearing nametags?” There is, and it’s held by Scott Ginsberg, the only person who wears a nametag 24/7. More importantly, he’s the only person in the world who made a career out of wearing a nametag 24/7. Ginsberg is the author of 13 books, a professional speaker, an award-winning blogger and the producer of Nametagtv.com; and his publishing and consulting company specializes in approachability, identity and execution. Ginsberg has been featured on every major news network in the country, and when he’s not giving speeches around the world, he lives in St. Louis, Miss., where he frequently talks to strangers.


contributors

Craig Morgan

Craig Morgan is a freelance writer based in Gilbert, Ariz. He serves as the Phoenix correspondent for Cbssports.com and Foxsportsarizona.com. He also writes a weekly column for The Arizona Republic called “Daddy’s Home” on the challenges of being a work-from-home dad, as well as tackles multiple marketing writing projects for various clients. You can read “Daddy’s Home” at Azcentral.com/members/ blog/thewordsmith or visit his website at Thewordsmithonline.com.

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Troy anderson

Troy Anderson is an award-winning journalist with 20 years of experience at the Los Angeles Daily News, e-newspaper The Press-Enterprise, as well as other news publications. He’s won more than two dozen local, state and national writing awards and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for a foster care series that contributed to “revolutionary” national reforms. In 2009, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office honored Anderson as an “Outstanding Fraud Reporter” for stories resulting in legislation that saved taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. His other claim to fame is being a descendant of poet, playwright and philosopher Friedrich von Schiller, who invented the melodrama and wrote many famous plays, as well as the poem “Ode to Joy,” which Ludwig van Beethoven set to music in his Ninth Symphony.

ConsTanCe dunn

Constance Dunn is a researcher and writer focused on all facets of one’s presentation — etiquette, grooming, style, and verbal and nonverbal communication. A regular media contributor on these topics, she is author of the book Practical Glamour (2010), a guide to presenting your most authentic and attractive self to the world. A second book, on the art and gift of being civilized, is due out in 2012. Dunn has been featured in Inc. and Fast Company magazines, as well as numerous network affiliates nationwide.


This is personal. “My mother was the cornerstone of our family. When she was diagnosed with colon cancer, it was like the whole family got cancer. She died when she was only 56. Let my heartbreak be your wake-up call.” Terrence Howard, actor/musician

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the U.S., but it is largely preventable. If you’re 50 or older, please get screened. Screening finds precancerous polyps, so they can be removed before they turn into cancer. And screening finds colorectal cancer early, when treatment works best. If you’re at increased risk—if you have a personal or family history of polyps or colorectal cancer, or you have inflammatory bowel disease—ask your doctor when to start screening. Screening saves lives.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) • www.cdc.gov/screenforlife


Small Screen, pg. 22

Learn Plugged In .................. pg. 20 Small Screen ............... pg. 22 Big Screen ................... pg. 24 Get Connected ............ pg. 28 Versus .......................... pg. 30 Rebel Yell .................... pg. 32

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Plugged In

Visualizing Change

Ushahidi has influenced democracy and economic development around the world. By Ron Matejko // Photo By eRic heRsMan

T

echnology has made the world a much smaller place. It wasn’t long ago when we relied on newspaper and television foreign correspondents, books and documentaries for information about what was happening abroad. Since then, technology has not only brought information about those faraway places to our fingertips, but we can hear those stories directly from the people themselves. During the last year, we saw the effect Twitter had in communicating the political uprisings in numerous African and Middle Eastern countries. This access brought about world-changing results. Since 2008, the website Ushahidi has also provided tools for citizens around the world to share their real-time stories, and in turn, impact the world, only in a much more visual manner than the 140 characters allowed by Twitter. Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili, is a nonprofit tech company that offers open-sourced mapping software for crowdsourcing and sharing stories about human rights, and to aid recovery during times of disaster. With Ushahidi, an individual with a cellphone can enhance the availability and accuracy of information that makes governments more transparent, responsive and accountable, and saves lives during a crisis. “Ushahidi is one of the few social enterprises that has, in just a few short years of existence, dramatically changed the face of

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how individuals and communities can influence democracy and economic development around the world,” said Hilde Schwab, the co-founder of Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Born following the post-election violence in Kenya, Ushahidi broke down the barriers for accurate and timely information by keeping locals connected and providing valuable information to those providing relief. Ushahidi did so by providing the tools to map the information that is submitted by a user’s mobile device. In the case of the Kenyan uprising, more than 45,000 users submitted locations where violence was taking place and the info was consolidated onto one map, making it easier to figure out where help was needed. Ushahidi is also credited with saving lives following the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti. A crowdsourced map identified the locations where victims needed aid. This helped relief teams find the victims, which kept an already alarming fatality count from being even higher. Other uses for the Ushahidi tools include tracking multiple disasters in Japan, mapping the flood in Queensland, Australia, and tracking conflict and peace-building in Liberia following its 2011 electoral process. Since 2008, Ushahidi has grown to more than 2 million users while eclipsing 20 million unique visitors.

For more information about the Ushahidi platform, visit Ushahidi.com.


small screen

King Louis

Comedian Louis C.K. is gaining viewers with his male-oriented TV show. By Ron Matejko // Photo PRovided By FX

o

ne of the joys of being a music fan is discovering an underground band you like before they go mainstream. It gives the feeling of being ahead of the curve and the perception of developing a more personal bond with the artist. Thanks to the proliferation of niche cable channels, the same opportunity also exists for television shows. One example is the critically acclaimed comedy series Louie. Now in its second year, this show, which stars actor, comedian and series creator Louis C.K., has developed enough of a following to keep it alive on FX but still remains small enough to give that feeling of underground discovery to its loyal viewers. Perhaps it has something to do with the relatively low production budget of $300,000 per episode, which gives the show a strong indie film charm. More likely, it is the edgy, everyman quality C.K. possesses and his willingness to broach a wide array from safer topics like fatherhood, divorce and dating to generally avoided subjects such as masturbation, bestiality and interracial dating. Louie shines as a comedy filtered through the observational humor of C.K., who serves as executive producer, writer, director and editor. Each episode shines a spotlight on Louis’ hectic life as a successful stand-up comedian and newly single 42-year-old father raising his two young daughters. Louie would best be described as a mix between Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. The Seinfeld comparison comes from the interspersion of standup clips that tie into the vignettes during that episode. Viewers of Curb Your Enthusiasm will experience the same cringe factor that sometimes goes along with watching the uncomfortable situations and conversations that take place. The appeal of the show comes from the main character and how easily most men can identify with him. Louie is bald, a little paunchy and flawed, although he tries hard to be a good person. He shows his softer side when taking care of his two daughters, but isn’t averse to snapping with an inappropriate diatribe toward his mother or a heckler. His dialogue is not overly scripted, which gives it a greater air of authenticity. Even though Louie is catching on with more viewers, the charm that made it appealing to those who discovered it early on is still there. If you want to find out for yourself why viewers are flocking to Louie, you can check it out on FX each Tuesday at 11 p.m. ET/PT. All 13 episodes of season one are available on Netflix.

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WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD? Upload your ideas for screwing business as usual and vote for the best ones. Be in with a chance to win a spot with Richard on the next South African Virgin Unite Connection Trip in 2012. Join the conversation by tweeting @virginunite #SBAU

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www.virginunite.com/screwbusinessasusual


Big Screen

Reel Talk

Films depict how communication permeates our lives.

Compiled by Ron matejko

T

he ability to communicate often plays a key role in determining how much success we achieve in both our personal and professional lives. And because many of us have not mastered this art, we end up finding ourselves getting into interesting predicaments. Sounds like a good recipe for a movie storyline. Rebel has identified four new and upcoming releases that include aspects of communication and funny predicaments, which we thought would be of interest to our readers.

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The Five-Year engagemenT Jason Segel and Emily Blunt co-star in this Judd Apatow-produced comedy that follows the funny challenges a couple endures from the time he pops the question until they tie the knot. Following the proposal, the pair come up against a number of situations that delay their wedding — first one year, then three, and finally, five years. Her out-of-state job opportunity, friends and family drama all play roles in holding up the nuptials. In the same ilk as Bridesmaids, The FiveYear Engagement takes a comedic look at how the walk down the aisle isn’t always a smooth one.


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Big Screen

Think like A MAn Based on comedian Steve Harvey’s best-selling book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, this film takes a light-hearted approach to explaining why men do the quirky things we do, in hopes of women being able to better understand us. Think Like a Man sheds light on everything from why men are in the fixing business and not the talking business to why independent women should reconnect with their girlish side to make their men feel necessary. A funny film for both men and women alike, this comedy features an ensemble cast, including Jerry Ferrara of Entourage fame, Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union and Regina Hall.

A ThousAnd Words Eddie Murphy is Jack McCall, a fast-talking literary agent, who can close any deal, any time, any way. He has set his sights on New Age guru Dr. Sinja for his own selfish purposes. But Dr. Sinja is on to him, and Jack’s life comes unglued after a magical Bodhi tree mysteriously appears in his backyard. With every word Jack speaks, a leaf falls from the tree, and he realizes that when the last of the 1,000 leaves falls, both he and the tree will die. Words have never failed Jack McCall, but now he has to stop talking and conjure up some outrageous ways to communicate or he’s a goner.

seeking A Friend For The end oF The World People can often be frantic in their search for love, but imagine what an impending apocalypse would do to that quest. The end of the world nears from the predicted doom of an asteroid crash. After his wife leaves him, a man (Steve Carell) teams up with his neighbor (Keira Knightley) to find his childhood sweetheart while knowing that a predicted asteroid crash is expected to doom the planet. As the respective journeys of the characters converge, a spark emerges between them, brightening their outlooks toward each other. Can one man find his greatest love at the worst possible time? In this romantic comedy, people strive to connect with those around them, as the end of the world approaches.

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You have the chance to empower the Food and Drug Administration to regulate cigarettes and protect our youth. Heart disease and stroke are the nation’s No. 1 and No. 3 killers and one out of every three deaths caused by smoking is related to cardiovascular diseases. Yet the tobacco industry and its deadly products remain unregulated. Pass the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

Heart Disease and Stroke. You're the Cure.

www.americanheart.org/yourethecure


get connected

sensIble socIAl

A guIde for men’s personAl And professIonAl lIves Provided by the dignified devil blog // illustration Provided by Cory MiChael skaaren

I

f you could travel back in time and tell your younger self that you were going to be “tweeting” what you had for lunch, tagging yourself in photographs taken at some depressing party, and trying your damnedest to be the mayor of the local Starbucks, your younger self would literally kick you in the groin. And he would be justified in doing so. The younger you assumed you would become some sort of man who is kicking ass, taking names and living a life worthy of a Steve McQueen movie. Instead, many modern men spend most of their time living the life they had in college. Let’s face it, social networks are basically useless. We certainly don’t need them to survive, and they take up a lot of time. A lot of time! How much? According to a recent Wall Street Journal poll and Nielsen study, the average person spends about 68 hours each month on the Internet, with about 25 percent of that time spent on social networks and blogs. Social networking, like any tool, can be used for good or bad. For example: A hammer can be used to build a house, or you can use it in a murderous rampage at the store, because you’re stuck in line behind some old lady who is seemingly being introduced to how a bank card works for the first time. It’s all a matter of perspective. The trick is to use the tool properly and to have a plan for both your personal and professional lives. Millions of old ladies will thank you in the end.

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Facebook

Facebook is the most visited site on the Internet. One out of every 13 Americans is a member. It’s so large, that its tentacles have become deeply ingrained within the Internet and our lives. Here’s how to navigate it. Your Personal life: Don’t use it! People are going to argue that Facebook connects people and families, and allows us to share pictures and blah, blah, blah. Well, there is this little thing called email that lets you do the same thing without doing it in front of the world. Facebook recently made itself slightly more useful in your personal life by adding “lists,” a Google+ “circles” rip-off, but a good one. Now you can separate people into lists and share what you want and with whom — a big step in the right direction. If you have to use it in your personal life, consider this the golden rule of social networking: What you write and what you post will live forever. Oh, and please stop taking some sort of false pride in how many friends you have. They are not friends. The true test of friendship is measured outside Facebook. Personal life/Business life: Since LinkedIn is Your Professional life: For your professional life, Facebook, like basically only used for the more “professional” side many other social networking sites, has become a necessary evil. But unlike of your life, we are going to lump both categories when our fathers were in business, Facebook puts us in control over how together for this one. LinkedIn is a great way to keep our professional sides/businesses are perceived. See your Facebook profile as like-minded and industry-related folks interested in your digital twin. He can be a nice guy or not, it’s up to you. Just remember you, your qualifications, and your business. This is a that every word you type and every picture you upload is up there and social network that the dignified man can and should will live on without your control. Don’t air out your dirty laundry. Don’t get behind. Because it’s a business-focused website, complain. Don’t think you’re the funniest, most sarcastic person in the world, there is none of the usual passive-aggressive clutter and people will “get” what you’re saying. They won’t. Unless you’re Mark on the site. Just people sharing information for the Twain, it’s almost impossible to add inflection to the written word. It’s best to purpose of insight and progress. err on the side of caution and keep it professional.

Linkedin

neTworking networkIng TwiTTer

Twitter is the fastest-growing social network site on the Internet, with more than 200 million registered users who tweet about 350 million times a day. That’s a lot of content. Your Personal life: No one cares what movie you’re watching. No one wants to read quotes you think are insightful. And no one cares where you are eating. About the only thing Twitter is good for in your personal life is to be a glorified, well-designed RSS feed. Get your news and info you care about and get out. Keep it simple. Your Professional life: Just like Facebook, a presence on Twitter is This one is easy. Don’t bother with it. Seriously. Mayor expected if your run a business. It’s one more way to communicate with your of “whatever.” Come on, if you are using foursquare target audience. The type of business you operate will dictate the number of on a regular basis, you’re either a little girl; jobless and times you tweet each day, or what you tweet, for that matter. Just know it’s a bored; or you hate time so much you literally have to great tool to spread the word on what your business does and how you do it. use foursquare. Cancel your account, gentlemen. Again, be careful, as your tweets will live on.

FourSquare

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Versus

Is It ok for your sIgnIfIcant other to reconnect wIth an old flame on facebook?

Written By ConstanCe Dunn

W

hen considering if it would be OK for my significant other to reconnect with an old flame on Facebook, I can only answer with one of the most annoying responses in the history of mankind: It depends. That’s because my level of OK would rest on two variables. First, the state of the flame. Second, my feelings about the man. The first is complicated, the second is not. Flames are, by their nature, unfinished and inexplicable things, characterized by strong passion and never-neat endings. Flames are hardly dead. Old flame or new, it’s pretty much the same, which is to say, still very much alive. We move on to new loves, different loves, but the flame still burns, or worse, it sits in the background smoldering, refusing to move. The threat of a reconnect becomes greater when you remember that flames almost always come with a strong erotic element attached to them, even if it still lives only in the flame holder’s memory. That dreamy look or tone of voice that pops out when the name of someone’s flame is mentioned doesn’t just happen because he or she is thinking about the swell times they had at the malt shop. I’m more than hip to the reality that, being big boys and girls, we have pasts. We’ve all had others in our lives. Formerly passionate figures. Warmly affectionate figures. “What the hell was I thinking?” figures. But a flame is all about unfinished business — the present, not the past. And this still-hanging-around part would unnerve me. As for the second, uncomplicated variable, if I’m in a relationship with a guy, it’s because I’m crazy about him. I’m certain I wouldn’t be OK with my significant other reconnecting with an old flame. Not on Facebook. Not in person. Not via a smoke signal. What I could do about it is a different matter. I’ve been on the planet long enough to know that it’s a certain romantic death to get into the “you had better not do that” business. I don’t like to be on the receiving end of such mandates either, so I’m

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not about to initiate. I also descend from Pilgrims, which I suspect has a hand in my ability to whip out a stoicism that makes monks envious. So, regardless of my feelings, in the face of a Facebook flame reconnect I would grit my teeth mightily behind a gay smile, say nothing and keep close and discreet tabs on the situation. But a sad and ultimately relationship-crumbling fact would remain. I would know my guy had a case of the flames — and I know a thing or two about flames. They are unfinished business. And Facebook or no, I would know he was still connected to her. And that she is not me.


Is It ok for your sIgnIfIcant other to reconnect wIth an old flame on facebook? Written by Craig Morgan

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n her book Lost & Found Lovers: Facts and Fantasies of Rekindled Romance, author Nancy Kalish argues that we should never reconnect with old flames, because who they are today is not who they were when we knew/dated/married them. Psychologists such as Elisha Goldstein have taken it a step further, suggesting that reconnecting with old flames is a sign that something is wrong with your relationship — a disconnect in need of healing. I don’t ascribe to either theory because both sound absolute. Human relationships are defined by too many variables to package this topic so neatly. Besides, I bring the maturity of 40-plus years to the topic when I tell you the answer to this question falls into three simple categories: absolutely; maybe; and not unless you want your clothes burned, your cat accidentally adopted and your most compromising photos going viral on the same-said Facebook with multiple tags so nobody important in your life will miss them.

Here’s a breakdown for how I would answer this question for each category. Absolutely: Former flames who fall into this category are either dim-witted, obnoxious, opposed to deodorant, cursed with Barry Manilow’s nose or in possession of Barry Manilow’s records. Have at it, honey. I’m not feeling the least bit threatened. Maybe: Guys who fall into this category generally possess one or two, maybe three, but definitely not four or all five of the main guy virtues: looks, personality, communication skills, a cool job and substantial wealth. If a guy is good-looking but he’s a self-absorbed jerk who works as an investment banker or an insurance salesman, my wife gets the green light to reconnect. If he’s funny and communicative, but thinks MMA and the Kings of Leon constitute culture, again, green light. If he’s a struggling, gorgeous, expressive artist, the yellow light comes on, cautioning her to slow down so we can evaluate potential crashes before proceeding with caution. Not unless you want your clothes burned: As stated above, guys who fall into this category enjoy four or five of the key guy virtues. You can feign the mature route and tell your significant other you trust her, or you can do the practical thing by handing her a boning knife and telling her to gut you like a fish right here, right now. Be especially wary if your significant other suggests getting together with her old flame and his new significant other. Chances are, she’s sizing up a perceived rival. If this happens, you should either sell her on the virtues of living in Laos or run like hell. Broadening the category for all my brothers out there, I would add to this final category anybody your wife or significant other cheated on you with, or anyone with whom she spent an inordinate amount of years, only to have it end badly because he decided he wanted to “experience other things.” Come to think of it, those final two types warrant a separate category. I’ll call it the “time to hire a contract killer” subset.

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Rebel Yell

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Caped Crusade

This Batman filmmaker didn’t let difficult times keep him from achieving his goals. By Michael Uslan

d

reams are a hard thing to have these days. We can chalk that up to the economy, the volatile stock market and high unemployment rates, but the truth is, no matter where you come from or where you grew up, times have always been a little tough. It was no different for me. As a New Jersey kid, growing up as the son of a working-class stone mason, I had big dreams. I drew my inspiration from the same source as many kids back then — comic books. My favorite character was Batman. To me, Batman was accessible. To be Superman, you had to come from Krypton, but Batman was just a man who trained himself to be the best, both physically and intellectually. As an 8-year-old kid sitting in his bedroom, awash in his heroic fantasies, I believed someone could actually grow up to be Batman. Even me.

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years ago. It was a rousing success and the most complete vindication of my vision I could have ever imagined, thanks to the genius of Christopher Nolan, who deserves all the credit and accolades and has raised the bar for all comic bookbased films. My wife sat me down after the premiere and said, “OK, now that you’ve accomplished what you set out to do, what do you want to do when you grow up?” That was a perfect question for a man who made his living in comic books for most of his adult life. It made me think about what I could contribute, what I could do to make a difference in people’s lives. Then I thought about my heroes, the guys who practically founded the comic book business. We lost two of them just before the holidays; Joe Simon, who co-created Captain America, and Jerry Robinson who co-created characters like The Joker and Batman’s sidekick, Robin. So my next chapter is this — I want to share, with as many people as I can, the inspiration they gave me to fulfill my dreams. Today, dreams are hard-won commodities. The American Dream itself is too often perceived to be dying, but it doesn’t have to be that way. My wife’s question forced me to wonder if I could accomplish in these harsh modern times what I did decades ago, and I am forced to answer yes. It would be harder, and I’d have bloodier knuckles than I did even back then, but I’d still find a way to do it. Dreams cannot be treated as conveniences or luxuries to be discarded when they become too tough to realize. When people ask me what I did to achieve success, the answer is simple: I forfeited any sense of entitlement I thought the world owed me. I got up off the couch. I dared to dream big, based upon my passion in life. And I made a personal commitment not to give up. The rest was easy.

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I couldn’t have been more excited when I heard they were making a TV show about Batman. I remember devouring the first episode, finally seeing the costumes, the Batcave, the Batmobile and all these fantastic characters brought to life in living color — but something was wrong. I heard my parents laughing. It hit me they were playing the whole thing for laughs, and I was horrified. They were laughing at Batman! That was heresy to me. The Batman I grew up on in the comics was not a comedian. He was a tragic figure, a dark knight who fought crime and injustice by stalking evildoers from the shadows. It was then, as a kid, I discovered my dream — to make a movie that would make people take Batman seriously. They would see in him the same thing I saw — the inspiration to be anything you dreamed you could be. As an adult, I discovered that dream would almost break me. When I first approached DC Comics to acquire the film rights to Batman, management thought I was crazy to want them, because the TV series was dead and no one cared about Batman anymore. Then they told me they couldn’t sell me the rights because I wasn’t a Hollywood producer. I was just a college grad with a dream and no credentials to back it up. Undaunted, I went out to get those credentials. I attended law school, and upon graduation, took a job with film studio United Artists as a production attorney. There I received the most incredible training in Hollywood, working on the legal side of movies like Rocky 2 and Apocalypse Now (a crisis per day for two years!). In 1979, I returned to DC, determined to make my dream a reality, and asked, “How about now?” This time, I was able to strike a deal. With the rights to Batman in my back pocket, and with a legendary partner, Benjamin Melniker, I went to Hollywood, thinking people would be standing in line to help me make my vision of a dark and serious Batman movie a reality. Not so much. I was laughed at, just as they laughed at Batman when I was a kid, and I spent 10 years bloodying my knuckles on shut doors — while simultaneously trying to earn a living to support my family — until finally, the pieces fell into place. The film Batman was released in 1989, breaking box office records left and right. My dream came true. More than 20 years later, I am involved in my eighth Batman feature film, The Dark Knight Rises. But the real turning point in my life and career came after the release of The Dark Knight a few

InformatIon

Michael Uslan is the co-executive producer of the Batman franchise of motion pictures. During his 33 years in the film and television business, his projects have won Oscars, Golden Globes and Emmy Awards. He is also author of the book The Boy Who Loved Batman. Learn more at Theboywholovedbatman.com.

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How many light bulbs does it take to change an American?

It’s no joke: climate change is a critical issue for all life on Earth. But can the actions of one individual really make a difference? Visit nature.org to calculate your impact on the world around you and learn about steps you can take to make the world a better place for us all. nature.org/calculate Photo Š istockphoto.com / Color of Time


Live Fatherhood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .pg. 36

Scoreboard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .pg. 40 CouchSurfing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .pg. 44

The Nametag Guy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .pg. 48 Digital Addiction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .pg. 54 Games For Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .pg. 58 Restoring the American Dream . . . . .pg. 62 Culture Shock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .pg. 68 Rebel With a Cause . . . . . . . . . . . . . .pg. 78

Scoreboard, pg. 40

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Fatherhood

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hen I was in the hospital, awaiting my son’s birth — the birth of my first child — I was beside-myself-nervous. I was about to embark on one of the biggest life-changing events a person can experience, and I had no clue what I was doing or how to be a dad. I had finally drifted off to sleep when the nurse nudged me awake. “Mr. Ruyter, your son is on the way,” she said. “He’ll be here in less than an hour by the way it looks right now.” I jolted awake and came to full attention. What did I know about having a child or being a father? I’d no longer just be a husband, a brother and a son, but I would also have a son of my own. I would be responsible for another life. After the initial “new parent” shock wore off, my son and I began to form a bond that has so far been unbreakable. But as my son is now getting closer and closer to entering his teen years, I find myself becoming more reflective and nostalgic about the past and how things have changed between the two of us over the years. I realize that our relationship has gone through definitive stages. The first stage, while my son was still an infant, was marked with some frustration for me, because he couldn’t communicate or provide any kind of

feedback. Slowly but surely, however, he became a “big boy” and entered the next stage. He was inquisitive beyond belief and had lots of stories and opinions to share. I loved that stage. We were so open with each other, so loving — he’d kiss me goodnight and hold my hand without even batting an eyelash. I’ll never forget all the “I love you, daddy” declarations I got before bedtime. Now my son is 9, and I see a new stage looming on the horizon. As he matures, I feel him pulling away. It’s been gradual, but it’s definitely there. I know he’s just exerting some newfound independence, and I’m glad to see him stretching his wings a bit. He’s also practicing in the art of sarcasm. I can’t complain; he gets it from me, after all. But gone are the days of “daddy,” and an “I love you” has to be coaxed out of him. Now I hear more “daaaaaad” accompanied with a look of disapproval because I must have done something that embarrassed him. Again. Our communication style is evolving. We’ve had a challenge staying in touch during the week ever since his mother and I divorced. We would chat on the phone, but neither of us is really a phone-talker. It’s always nice to hear his voice, though, even if just for a few minutes before bed. Then, last year he asked me for an iPod Touch, which I thought was a great idea. Now we’d be able to video-chat through FaceTime instead of just talking on the phone. Little did I know he also had his eyes set on the plethora of apps that could keep him entertained as well. Was tech already starting to take over our relationship?

Speaking Without Saying a Word

Talking with your child is only the first step.

By Daniel RuyteR

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Fatherhood

My son’s latest request is a smartphone. He “just doesn’t get” why he doesn’t have one when some of his younger friends already have one (“and some of them are even girls!”). “Everyone has one, daaaaad!” he proclaims. I remember saying the same thing to my dad when I was trying to talk him into buying our first microwave. It’s tough as a kid, thinking that your friends and peers are going to leave you in the technological dust. But how does a parent balance real communication with the technology desires of today’s generation? Personally, I think parents should embrace an interest in technology, rather than resist. We bought my son a new gaming console — not so he could waste hours rotting his brain with mindless video games, but so we could play them together. I still limit the time he spends playing them and what types of games he has access to, but I’m using the technology available to me as a tool rather than an adversary. Any opportunity I get to bond with my son and open new channels of communication with him, I gladly take. I see technology as the great connector rather than the great divider.

I’m already looking toward the future. What’s ahead for my relationship with my son? Sure, drifting apart is normal, especially during his teen years. But I hope we’re able to bend, and not break. I hope that my simply acknowledging that it’s coming will help prevent a full communication breakdown in the years to come. I’m trying to head it off at the pass while he’s still listening to me and while I still have his attention. He’s no longer my little boy, even though he’ll always seem that way in my mind. I’m confident in acknowledging the changing nature of communication through various stages of his life, which I believe will benefit me. As he creeps closer to being a teenager, there will be an inevitable increase in his independence and involvement with the outside world. It’s just a part of growing up. The key to our relationship is finding that happy medium between the father, the son and the technology that kids crave. It will be my job to embrace it when possible, yet restrict it when necessary. He won’t always be my baby, but he will always be my boy.

daniel ruyter is the founder and editor of the blog Memoirsofasingledad.com. his book Memoirs of a Dating Dad is now available in ebook format at amazon. com, and in paperback at Lulu.com. Follow him on twitter — @M_oa_Sd — or find him on Facebook at “MemoirsofaSingledad.”

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One day, you may have to tell your grandchildren stories about places like this.

Experts predict that within 100 years, natural lands and water resources will become scarce. Climate change will irreversibly alter the planet. And the habitats that support all life could be lost forever. Support our mission to protect the future of our natural world. To make a difference that lasts, join The Nature Conservancy. Log onto www.nature.org today or call (800) 842-8905.

Piney Grove Preserve located in Virginia.


Scoreboard

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Veterans attempt suicide eVery day

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“I saw this huge need to educate them about veterans and the sacrifices they have made,” says Jeremy Staat.

ROAD WARRiORs

A fORmeR NfL pLAyeR is bikiNg AcROss the cOuNtRy tO RAise AWAReNess fOR veteRANs. By Craig Morgan Photos Provided By the Bakersfield Californian

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Scoreboard

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t was Memorial Day last year when Iraqi War veteran and former NFL defensive end Jeremy Staat was speaking to a group of nearly 500 school kids in his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif. During his talk, he was explaining the significance of the Wall of Valor in Bakersfield, a memorial which honors those from the area who died in combat, when a question crossed his mind. “I asked the kids if they knew who Pat Tillman was,” Staat says. A few hands shot up, but most of those impressionable faces stared blankly back at him. Then Staat asked if they know who Snookie was, referring to the Jersey Shore reality TV character. Most of the hands shot up, accompanied by a chorus of laughter. “I saw this huge need,” Staat says, “to educate them about veterans and the sacrifices they have made.” He addressed the need by founding the Jeremy Staat Foundation to raise awareness nationwide about our veterans and the issues they face through speaking engagements and with the help of corporate sponsors and private donors. “I thought about running across the country like Forrest Gump,” he says, laughing. “But that seemed like too much banging on the body. Besides, I’m a Marine. I’ll be shaving every day.” So Staat formed an unlikely team of three — double amputee Wesley Barrientos, 65-year-old Vietnam veteran Dale Porter, and himself — to carry the message from coast to coast. On Feb. 19, the trio embarked on a a 4,000-mile-plus bicycle ride to honor those who have fallen while serving their country, as well as to honor those who have returned. Called The Wall to Wall Cross Country Bicycle Ride, the 100-daylong tour began at the Wall of Valor and will continue through 15 states, 62 towns and nine military bases. The men’s journey is scheduled to conclude on Memorial Day at the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, D.C. “We’re not expecting anything when we get there,” says Barrientos, 27, a three-time Purple Heart recipient. “We just want to honor our Vietnam veterans. Without them, we wouldn’t have the respect we’re getting now. They went through so much. They got screamed at, got spit on just for serving their country. We just want to say ‘thank you.’” Staat knows the ride sounds crazy, but he insists it’s nothing compared to the hellish experiences his fellow servicemen have endured in various conflicts. “In the Battle of the Bulge, guys froze to death,” says Staat, a Marine who served as an infantry machine gunner in Iraq. “In Vietnam, POWs got skinned alive and took three to fours hours to die. Sure, the weather will stink at times during our ride, but so be it.” Staat adds he’s still inspired by Tillman’s legacy and wants to keep the American icon’s legacy alive. The two men played football together at

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Staat explains, “It’s like I told Wesley: ‘... You’re not the first double amputee. But the inspiration you give people is what you do afterward.’” Contribute ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

If you’d like to view a course map for The Wall to Wall Cross Country Bicycle Ride or donate to the Jeremy Staat Foundation, visit Thejeremystaatfoundation.com.

Arizona State University and developed a strong friendship. It was Tillman who convinced Staat — who needed just three more NFL games to qualify for league retirement benefits — not to join the Marines in 2001 after he was cut by the Seattle Seahawks. Staat did eventually qualify, but when he left the NFL, Tillman’s sacrifice of rejecting NFL millions to serve his country inspired Staat to follow suit, and he enlisted in the Marine Corps. Staat also wants to increase the general public’s awareness of the plight of veterans. “Thirty-six states are keeping track of veteran suicides,” he explains. “And the numbers say 18 veterans attempt suicide every day, which is about one every 80 minutes. Veteran suicides have surpassed the casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. We’ve had 170,000 suicides from Vietnam War veterans.” A major issue is the lack of a sufficient support network for veterans, Staat explains. When they return home, they need help, whether it’s finding a job, getting proper healthcare or adjusting to civilized society after experiencing untold psychological and physical horrors abroad. Staat says he’d like to see a more efficient Veterans Affairs system. He wants to know that veterans who just need a tooth or a valve fixed on their prostheses won’t have to wait years to receive that attention. And ultimately, if he can raise the funds through his foundation, he’d like to build a private facility to provide the care that veterans deserve when they return home. On the road to accomplishing these goals, Staat has assembled his own dream team to raise awareness, raise funds and, as he says, “bridge this gap between the two memorial walls, symbolically, so we can bridge this generation gap between veterans, and even society, to create unity on this issue.” You won’t find a more unlikely pair of teammates than Staat has found. “Dale is the stereotypical image of what a Vietnam vet looks like,” Staat says of Porter. “His hair is messed up, he’s missing teeth and he has crazy eyes. But he told me, ‘I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. I want to do something meaningful with the rest of my time.’” Barrientos served three tours of duty in the Army in between 2005 and 2007. The last one was the most costly, but he took the loss of both legs in stride the moment he woke up in a German hospital after being victimized by an IED in Iraq. “I was just glad to be alive,” he said. “I was glad I woke up.” While Staat and Porter will ride conventional bicycles, Barrientos will use a hand-cranked bicycle and wear an 8-pound Kevlar helmet to honor his comrades. “We’re not going to make this easy, we’re going to do this right,” Barrientos admits. Like Staat, Barrientos is struck by the tragic and often anonymous plight of so many American veterans. “When Jeremy first asked me to do this, I thought he was kidding, so I said, ‘Why not, dude?’” he recalls. “But I truly believe in these causes. I want to stop our guys from killing themselves, so I said, ‘Let’s do it.’” The timing of the ride isn’t ideal. Staat and his wife, Janelle, are expecting their first child on Aug. 11, which means Staat will be riding for much of the pregnancy. But one day, the Staats’ child will understand what his dad, along with Barrientos and Porter, was trying to accomplish. Staat explains, “It’s like I told Wesley: ‘You’re not the first guy who ever joined the Army. You’re not the first guy to be injured in combat. You’re not the first double amputee. But the inspiration you give people is what you do afterward.’”

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Business

Culture Club

CouchSurfing is turning travel into a uniquely personal experience.

By Nick RulaNd

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eople have couch-surfed since the days of ancient Greece, and maybe even longer than that. Who knows? Maybe a Cro-Magnon man hosted the earliest vagabonds at his cave. Couch-surfing may sound like a reference to an extreme sport, but it’s actually based on the concept of bringing people together. In its simplest sense, couch-surfing is about hospitality — when two, sometimes totally disparate, occasionally hostile cultures use those roles to break down prejudices, exchange customs and gain appreciation for another point of view. That’s the principal the company CouchSurfing uses for its innovative business model. Through its social networking platform, CouchSurfing has been incorporating a mission into the typically staid travel industry, channeling the humanism of the past through the greatest tool of the present — the Internet. Just when we thought technology had made us all physically estranged and isolated, CouchSurfing turned bits and bytes into handshakes and bows. “In my mind, we’re a community that travels as a means of learning about other cultures, rather than a travel website,” says Casey Fenton, CouchSurfing’s founder. “Hotels and hostels still have a valid place in travel. People will use all of them at different points. My only hope is that we’ve opened

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up the world to people who might not otherwise have had the chance to experience it.” CouchSurfing launched as a public website in 2004, as a nonprofit before transitioning to a B Corporation — one that is obligated to use its business to create a social benefit. Since then, its user base has grown to more than 3 million profiles in close to 250 countries. The beneficiary of new venture capital, the company plans to continue growing, perhaps going public at some point in the future. The company generates all of its revenue through its security verification system, which allows access to a personal voucher and reference feature that sits behind a credit card transaction wall. This verification is vital because it gives users the confidence that parties involved have been vetted while also assuring that parties are matched by similar interests. “I like the system because it connects people one would otherwise not have a chance to meet, and makes traveling much more affordable,” longtime user and Phoenix resident Ross Kenyon says. “I also like it because it makes hospitality noncommercial. It gives us a chance to stretch our generosity and reward ourselves at the same time, while reminding us that the world isn’t as scary, and people as scheming as it all looks on TV.”


“I like the system because it connects people one would otherwise not have a chance to meet, and makes traveling much more affordable ‌â€?

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Business

“Hotels and hostels still have a valid place in travel. People will use all of them at different points. My only hope is that we’ve opened up the world to people who might not otherwise have had the chance to experience it.” 46

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That’s exactly how the company’s founders envisioned it. “We’ve never been simply about making money,” Fenton says. “We have a social vision relating to trust and altruism. For it to work, members had to trust that the other person is hosting them, picking them up from the airport, feeding them, etc., because they want to. That’s what enables completely authentic interactions. If money is introduced, there is a possibility the interaction between the two parties could have a very different outcome. The focus moves from ‘You’re giving me whatever you can,’ to ‘Am I getting value for my money?’” CouchSurfing’s model, its founders hope, will replicate and transpose itself in other industries. “I think lots of people have described themselves as wanting to be like CouchSurfing in various ways,” co-founder and CEO Daniel Hoffer says. “You see companies describe themselves as the CouchSurfing of Y or Z. I think it’s the idea of experiencing new social adventures.” Fenton developed the idea of CouchSurfing in 1999 while traveling from Boston to Iceland. In order to find inexpensive accommodations and fulfill his sense of adventure, Fenton emailed 1,500 students at the University of Iceland to see if he could find a place to crash during his visit. Fifty students replied with offers to host him. Fenton conceived the business on his flight home, as he also drew from his experience of growing up culturally isolated in a small New Hampshire town. “I was actually taking a philosophy class in high school,” Fenton says. “One day, we were learning about the idea of determinism versus free will, and I had this realization that coming from my small town, my options were very limited. I knew if I wanted to make the best decisions I could, I needed more options. I just started traveling more, doing more, experiencing more, and I wanted others to be able to do the same. I wanted other people to have more options so that they could make the best decisions possible.” Hoffer, the soft-spoken current CEO and co-founder, saw the value of possibility through his own eye-opening experience. “I took a semester off from college and worked on a ranch in Texas,” he says. “I wanted a break from Harvard. It was really random, a friend of a friend of a friend. And I was just looking for an adventure. I was a ranch hand in a very small town in Texas. I was there for four months and I learned how different cultures can be. It was one guy and another couple of workers working part time and I was doing a lot of manual labor, which, sorry to say, I wasn’t very good at. I wanted to fit in and do good work as a ranch hand and quickly discovered my lack of experience in that area. They did come to accept me and we actually became quite close. It was a true CouchSurfing experience long before CouchSurfing.” Hoffer, who later earned his MBA at Columbia, helped build a company that is creating connections — connections that, to some, were merely the fanciful dreams of starry-eyed romantics and deluded utopianists. But CouchSurfer has brought together at least one Israelite and Palestinian. It’s sent Americans to North Korea. One Mongolian farmer has hosted hundreds of surfers from around the world. At this time in our cultural evolution, in which it feels like technology is in many ways moving people apart, CouchSurfing is doing its part to use the same tools to bring them back together again.


When It Comes To Saving Energy, It Helps To Have The Right Partners. CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2011 ENERGY STAR® PARTNERS OF THE YEAR. These business and community leaders were selected for their commitment to energy efficiency and protecting the environment. Find out who in your community is leading the way at energystar.gov.


Feature

An Open InvItAtIOn

Ten years wearing a nametag taught me a lot about life. ////////////////////////////////////////

By Scott GinSBerG

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y name is Scott. I wear a nametag 24/7. Yes, even to bed and in the shower. I’ve worn it for more than 10 years. And a lot of people say to me, “I wish everybody wore nametags!” But that’s just it. We already do. All of us. Every one of us wears a nametag every day. It might not be a sticker on a shirt or a badge at a conference. But it’s there. Whether we like it or not. As human beings, it’s impossible to walk through this world without broadcasting who we are.

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Feature

A nametag is a celebration of identity, an invitation for openness and a declaration of social belonging. It’s an acknowledgement, a human equalizer and a distance reducer. A nametag is a choice to label ourselves before others get a chance to. And so the question isn’t, “Should you wear a nametag?” but rather, “What’s already written on it?” After 4,000 days of wearing a nametag, I’ve learned a lot of essentials about communication in both the workplace and in my personal life.

attendant Today my flight etag and said, noticed my nam my passengers “Scott, I wish all that way I wore nametags, say sir!” wouldn’t have to

analog isn’t dead. Screens are fine. But we can’t filter our lives solely through pixels if we want our lives to matter. I think face-to-face communication is making a comeback. That doesn’t mean information is irrelevant, but contact offers an unquantifiable humanness that content can’t provide. Only face-to-face can you truly learn who you are, discover how the world works and truly resonate with the soul of another human being. Every time we look each other in the eyes and talk to each other with our mouths, the world feels a little bit more connected. Create an act of humanity in a moment of distance. That never goes out of style.

friendly is the new professional. It costs nothing, yet it changes everything — that’s the movement I’m leading. And yet, millions of people on a daily basis are working overtime to prove me wrong. They’re too focused on their own drama, company policies and egos to see how easy it really is to be friendly. “Professional” is just a word for brands that seek to sanitize the soul out of business, an excuse for

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delivering emotionless, forgettable nonservice. “Professional” is an altar on which personal connection is sacrificed. We can’t let the feeling of formality keep us from communicating freely. We need you to speak with soul and to talk like people talk. That’s worth noticing.

Being human is always good for Business. It’s not hard to make people happy. All you have to do is treat them like people. Not as objects, integers, trophies, machines, categories, dollar signs, commodities, abstract entities, the means to an end, bloodless statistical entities or impersonal facets of production. As people. That’s why I love wearing a nametag. It humanizes me. It makes me feel like a person, and it makes it harder for people to treat me as anything but. Every day our world becomes less humane in our treatment of one another. And because we’ve become so obsessed with profit, so drowned out in routine, so accelerated by technology, so numbed by rote and so blinded by ego, we end up robbing people of their humanity. This has to stop if we want to connect for real.

interaction is the agent of human decision. Any time people decide to listen to, buy from, get behind, partner with or tell others about you, it’s because of the interaction they had with you, how they experienced you and how they experienced themselves in relation to you. Fortunately, the cost of interaction is approaching zero. Thanks to the Internet, we now have greater access to one another than ever before. Brands are reaching users, writers are reaching readers and leaders are reaching followers. But you don’t need a nametag. You need to be open to what can emerge from every interaction and approach everyone you encounter with a spirit of acknowledgement. Because every time you interact with people, you make a choice to engage with swift responsiveness, nonstop gratitude, unexpected honesty, exquisite playfulness and loving unfairness. Those aren’t just interactions — they’re social gifts. And they change people forever.

personalization reduces the distance. If your customers wore nametags, would you give them better service? Sure you would. Names reduce the distance between people. Today my flight attendant noticed my nametag and said, “Scott, I wish all my passengers wore nametags, that way I wouldn’t have to say sir!” Makes sense. A nametag is an unmasking. It assures you’re no longer just another face in the crowd, and it makes it easier for people to treat you with dignity and compassion. It’s not a nametag, it’s an invitation for personalization. Sadly, most organizations miss this. They obsess over offering better customer service, but fail to see the big picture: The purpose of a nametag isn’t to enable customers to tattle on someone who gives poor service; its purpose is to help you become better friends with customers, so that better service happens naturally. Familiarity doesn’t breed contempt — it brings people back.

accelerate intimacy. I want to be friends with everyone, all the time, everywhere, forever. I don’t have to warm up to people or get to know them before we connect. I just jump right in. I reveal myself quickly, openly, honestly and respectfully. I don’t make small talk — I make big talk. Immediately. Most of the time, others reciprocate. People appreciate the willingness to cut the formalities and start connecting for real. With the exception of occasional weird looks, most people are cool with it. And while it’s nothing grandiose, it’s proven to be a strong enough lever. It doesn’t force intimacy — it accelerates it. And it does this by reducing the distance between people. Remember, it’s not about nametags; it’s about the end of anonymity and the beginning of approachability. And remember that being friendly costs nothing — but changes everything.

////////////////////////////////////// InformatIon: Scott Ginsberg is the author of 13 books. His most recent release is The Nametag Principle. For more information about Scott, visit his website at hellomynameisscott.com.


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Feature

Love at fIrst byte

How diving with sharks helped one man recognize his dependency on technology.

By Daniel SieBerg illuStration By Cory MiChael Skaaren

I

love technology. No, really. My first computer was a Commodore Vic 20 with a cassette drive. The first father-son experience I can recall is how to use a soldering iron (he’s an electronics technician). And I’ve always gravitated to people who adore and appreciate the idea of systems, programming and logic. So it was no surprise that I thrust myself into the tech world at a young age with video games, computer clubs and

gadgets. Eventually, I went on to earn a master’s degree in journalism with a focus in technology and ended up working as an on-air technology correspondent at various broadcast networks, including CNN, CBS News and ABC News. I had really found my niche. But at some point along the way, all that immersion in the digital world got the best of me. My friendships and familial relations started to suffer. I was hiding behind my screens and retreating to the virtual world. I lost perspective of what it meant to consume technology in a healthy manner. I was spending countless hours online, and while I thought I was the most connected person on the planet, the truth was that I was losing that face-to-face and meaningful interaction with people in my life. I needed to make a change. It was in 2009 that I started on the journey to create an empowering approach to managing technology. But it didn’t start with a high-tech idea. In fact, it started with trying to scale back. On July 4, 2009, my wife and I headed to a town called Boisson in the south of France to spend 12 days away from the distractions of New York City. As the science and technology correspondent for CBS News, I was always on the go, always working on my next story for a national television show and running off to the next assignment. In hindsight, I realize I stretched myself too thin and wasn’t home nearly enough. I relied heavily on staying connected to my wife through my technology. But after eight years of being together, it became a problem in our marriage.

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It’s a diet, not a fast. Without it, at some point I worry that we’re going to lose our humanity as we increasingly (and sometimes seamlessly) further integrate technology into our lives.

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Our trip to Boisson was designed to be a self-intervention, a When I got back on the boat, we were still out of range of crafted oasis from the ones and zeroes, and a time for my wife and cellphone signals, so I was alone with my thoughts of adventure and I to rekindle our love and romance, face-to-face. It didn’t turn out excitement and mind-boggling “did I just do that?” sentiments. That that way. Next door to the town of Boisson was a campground that shark — that perfectly evolved, majestic tiger shark — was a call to offered free, secured Wi-Fi to its visitors within range of the site’s action. But it wasn’t until nearly six months later that I did anything pool. Two days after our arrival I used my broken French to claim about it. And therein lie the beginnings of my “Digital Diet.” we were staying at the campsite and needed the Wi-Fi password. The overall plan is not about necessarily getting rid of technology, As the days went by, my wife’s palpable frustration grew in direct but instead getting a grip on it. It’s a diet, not a fast. Without it, proportion to my increasing Internet use. This does not result in at some point I worry that we’re going to lose our humanity as quality snuggle time. we increasingly (and sometimes seamlessly) further integrate Toward the end of our stay, I received an email from a producer technology into our lives. It’s about knowing when to dial a number at CBS News asking if I’d entertain the idea of swimming with sharks instead of texting. Charging the smartphone outside the bedroom. in the Bahamas for an Early Show series about conservation. A few And when to put our smartphones away entirely and simply be days later, our vacation over, I made my way via planes, trains and smart about our face-to-face interactions, as rare as they can be.  automobiles to Nassau. All told, it took me 32 hours to travel from I’m not perfect by any stretch; I have days when I’m too immersed baguette-ville to Bahamian beaches. During that time I was back in the tech world and my wife is quick to point that out (sometimes in full gadget-guy mode, sending emails to friends and family (almost as last rites) and researching shark behavior (and the GADGET OWNERSHIP OVER TIME (% of American adults who own each device) number of fatal attacks). Eventually, on a small speedboat en 90 route to a spot known as “Tiger Beach” 80 about 20 miles off the coast of West End, � Cell Phone 70 Grand Bahamas, I had my BlackBerry � Desktop Computer in one hand, madly typing messages to 60 � Laptop Computer everyone and posting status updates on 50 my Facebook page, using the other hand � MP3 Player 40 to steady myself against the pounding � Game Console 30 waves. As we headed further away from � e-Book Reader shore I watched in horror — not as 20 � Tablet Computer sharks surrounded the boat, but as the 10 bars of my cell phone reception dropped 0 from four to two to the dreaded “no service.” I was cut off. It was the kind of disconnection that even rural Boisson hadn’t provided. Within an hour of getting to the Source: The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, April 26-May 22, 2011 tracking survey. N=2,277 adults ages 18 and older, including 755 reached via cell phone. Interviews conducted in English and Spanish. 40-foot main boat, a crew member shouted “Tiger! Tiger!” and sure enough, the distinctive striped markings of a tiger shark could be seen through the shallow water. And it wasn’t just she’s guilty, too). But I’m more aware and more diligent in my one shark — there were also about a dozen lemon sharks, too, digital pursuits. And it pays dividends. I feel more confident, more which are only slightly smaller and less aggressive. It was time to grounded, and more in control. I try to give people the attention man up, suit up and jump into the water (without a cage) to observe and real-life interactions they deserve while still maintaining my these marine predators up close. While having a tiger shark swim online presence. I use social media on my terms and try to enjoy within a few feet of you during your first open-water dive seems a an experience with those around me before feeling compelled to long way from disconnecting from technology, I’m here to tell you share it with strangers. And I try to establish a rigid “eDay” for when there’s a direct link. I had to focus on my breathing, my vision and I’m online, as opposed to the other days, when I’m off. my movement. The pure basics of survival. It’s a rare occasion in In the end, it’s about balance — I know it’s cliche, but it’s true. today’s always-on world that we aren’t allowed to let our minds And I’m not becoming a fuddy-duddy, anti-tech person. On the wander or communicate with someone or pick up a smartphone. contrary, these days I work at Google. I’m passionate about our We do it in our cars, while walking, even on planes, our noses digital future, and I’m excited about where it’s going. Indeed, I want buried in devices or yakking away with somebody. us all to love our technology — just not unconditionally.


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© Copyright 2010 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.


GaminG Grows Up

The virtual world can instigate change in the real world. By Christofer Pierson

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ames for Change Co-President Asi Burak has an epigraph on his personal homepage that poses a challenge to the makers and consumers of the very youngest popular art. It reads: “Digital games are becoming a mature medium, an expressive art form and a tool for social change. We are barely scratching the surface. Just like books, theatre, TV or cinema, games will one day lure all tastes and players of all ages. But first we have to dismantle the notion of the ‘Gamer.’ Games will soon speak to all of us, broaden their intellectual landscape, and address a wider range of emotions. In its famous ad from 1983, Electronic Arts asked, ‘Can a Computer Make You Cry?’ I decided it could. I hope you agree.” The theme of maturation is a sensitive one among gamers — maybe because video and computer games, since their earliest days, have been thought of primarily as toys for boys. But with every generation, the world of


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Feature

games evolves — their formats and objectives, the technology they utilize, and even who it is that plays them. In fact, in the last two years, the demographics of the gaming audience have changed significantly — in fact, you might say they’ve “matured.” According to the Entertainment Software Association, the gaming demographic in the U.S. is becoming steadily older, with the average age of gamers increasing from 34 to 37 in the last year. Gamers have also become decidedly more female, as women now comprise 42 percent — a figure which increased 2 percent in the same span of a year. And with games now reaching a wider audience than ever before, those who play them want to challenge themselves (and each other) with a broadening variety of puzzles and entertainment, moving beyond the slaying of zombies and dragons to tending virtual farms on Facebook and sharing Words with Friends on mobile phones. Asi Burak’s Games for Change is a nonprofit organization that aims to tap into people’s enjoyment of games to catalyze social impact and positive change. Burak, a former captain in the Israel Defense Forces, first made a mark in the gaming world as co-producer of 2007’s PeaceMaker (pictured below, left), released by Impact Games, which attempted to bring SimCity-style production values to the Israel-Palestine problem. Assuming the role of Israeli prime minister or Palestinian president, players would negotiate political events like suicide bombings and breakdowns in diplomatic talks to work toward a peaceful solution before the end of their “term.”

Games for Change is currently developing a Facebook version of Half the Sky (pictured right) based on the book written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

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Upon its commercial release, PeaceMaker was showered with raves and awards. “I’m not a particularly emotional gamer,” Oliver Clare wrote in Eurogamer, “but the first time I realized I’d ‘won’ a game of PeaceMaker, tears came to my eyes.” Among its peers, it won four awards, including “Best Transformational Game” in Games for Change’s annual festival in 2007. “Due to PeaceMaker’s extensive press, awards and visibility, it became one of the popular examples of a ‘game for change,’” Burak says. He developed close relations with the principles at the nonprofit as a consultant, and with colleague Michelle Byrd. He explains, “When the opportunity came, and the organization was looking for new leadership, Michelle and I decided to jump in and present a plan to the board of directors on how to take the organization to the next phase.” Since the founding of Games for Change’s in 2004, the annual festival, with its expo and three days of workshops, has been the centerpiece of its activities. But now, under Burak and Co-President Byrd, the firm is moving beyond showcasing other companies’ products and into development of its own. The test case for this new area of interest was inspired by the keynote speaker at the 2009 festival, New York Times columnist and twotime Pulitzer Prize-winner Nicholas Kristof.

“I want you to bring together the best talent to make this a high-profile app. Treat it as a shining example of what a social game for social impact can be.” - Nicholas Kristof


“Digital games are becoming a mature medium, an expressive art form and a tool for social change. We are barely scratching the surface. Just like books, theatre, TV or cinema, games will one day lure all tastes and players of all ages. But first we have to dismantle the notion of the “Gamer.” – Games for Change Co-President, Asi Burak

Kristof has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most forward thinking journalists in American media. The first blogger on nytimes. com, Kristof is also an avid user of Twitter and Facebook, partly, he told David Burstein of Fast Company, because he wants to engage readers and reach new audiences. “All of us in the news business are wondering what the future is going to be,” he explained to Burstein. “It seemed to me that social networks were part of the answer to that, so I wanted to experiment and see how they could be used.” At the time of his 2009 keynote for the festival, Kristof was anticipating the publication of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity Worldwide, which he had written with his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, a Times colleague and the co-recipient of his 1990 Pulitzer for reporting on Tiananmen Square. The book discussed the wrenching problems of women and girls mostly in the developing world — sex slavery, domestic violence, poverty, lack of access to education and health care — and the measures Kristof, WuDunn, and others have taken to actively address them. The couple was not interested in just publishing a book. They planned it to be the cornerstone of a multimedia enterprise, with an attendant website and PBS television series, that would not only raise awareness about the book’s subject matter, but also offer people in diverse settings a means of doing something about it. “It was Nick’s idea to make the book into a Farmville-style

game for Facebook,” Burak says. With a game that can be played on Facebook, Kristof believes, he can reach millions of people who would never buy The New York Times, let alone a book about Third World women. “I think gaming might be the next big platform for news organizations and causes,” Kristof told Fast Company. “… [We] in the news business would do well to think about how we can use games to attract eyeballs.” Significantly, Kristof pitched his idea, not to Electronic Arts or Microsoft, but to the nonprofit Games for Change. “He said, ‘I want you guys to make this,’” Burak recalls. “‘I want you to bring together the best talent to make this a high-profile app. Treat it as a shining example of what a social game for social impact can be.’” The idea of actually producing a game appealed to the organization’s sense of its own evolution as an advocate for serious gaming. “Producing a game gives us the opportunity to serve as a role model for the sector,” Burak says. The Half the Sky game is designed not just to entertain but to instigate change in the real world. Burak explains, “If you buy a virtual goat, money is going toward a donation of a real goat through an NGO, and if you build a school, money goes toward building a real school in a developing country. Microtransactions in the game help real people and real projects.” The Facebook version of Half the Sky, along with the PBS series, will be launched later this year.

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Feature

RestoRing the AmeRicAn DReAm A plan to fix the national housing crisis By Ken ParKer

Look up and down many streets in America and you are likely to see a similar picture, a string of “for sale” and “foreclosure” signs. Property values have dropped 50 percent in some cities and obtaining funding to buy or refinance a home has become very difficult. Families across America — good people — are losing their homes. Many of us have either fallen victim to the housing crisis or know someone who has. Home ownership in our country was once referred to as the “American Dream,” but today it’s become a nightmare.

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T

he U.S. housing market became engulfed in a foreclosure epidemic caused by “liar loans” (careless and irresponsible mortgage practices). The result was an unprecedented number of mortgage defaults, resulting in a foreclosure crisis that played a role in our nearly being thrust into a depression. It’s no secret this country’s economy is still trying to gain traction. It’s also no secret that the housing market is in just as much of a mess. The two go hand in hand. As the housing market improves, so will the economy. In fact, since the Great Depression, there have been 14 recessions, and during each of those recessions, the U.S. economy did not recover until housing recovered. The problem up to this point — a problem that is extending into its fifth year — is figuring out the way to reverse this painful trend in the housing market so the economy can get back on track. As a homeowner, builder and businessman living in North Scottsdale, Ariz., I saw firsthand how our once overheated housing market became one of the most rapidly deteriorating regions in the country; and like so many people, I found the circumstances beyond my control. However, instead of bemoaning the problem, I decided I wanted to try to do something about it. My first step was meeting with a number of business-men and housing industry leaders to discuss how to craft a possible solution. We agreed that the problem went beyond our backyard, so our focus turned toward developing a national mortgage program. We also recognized the importance of getting back to using debt-to-income ratio, as the primary factor in qualifying for a mortgage instead of credit scores (FICO), which, in addition to greed, led to the flood of approved sub-prime mortgages. All this reckless lending did

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was put people in a home they couldn’t afford. With more than 50 percent of homeowners currently underwater in their mortgage, they can’t refinance and have no choice but to go into foreclosure. Addressing this issue is at the heart of our program, which is known as 4-40 For Freedom.

How 4-40 For Freedom works Despite the current stop-gap measures that are currently available for homeowners, we cannot simply refinance our way out of the existing crisis. Any time a loan is refinanced, mortgage debt is forgiven and a loss occurs. That loss needs to be repaid — which means an increase in debt. It becomes a vicious cycle. The cure is not to repeat what got us into this mess. We don’t need another government bailout. We need a national mortgage program that reverses what has happened. 4-40 For Freedom will serve both the prospective home buyer and the existing homeowner (see chart below) by presenting the opportunity to obtain a 4-percent, 40-year home mortgage if they qualify. The primary eligibility requirements are simple; the prospective home purchaser or existing homeowner must be a U.S. citizen; this is for a first mortgage loan only; and the home has to be the primary residence (unless the prospective home buyer already owns a home, free and clear). Already employed FHA staff will help implement the funding process, using FHA forms that will be modified to meet 4-40 For Freedom guidelines. The 4-40 For Freedom program enrollment lasts for one year. Depending on demand, it may take up to a year and a half to process all the applications, but all applications must be submitted within that one-year period.

ProsPective home buyer:

existing homeowners:

the sAvings:

this program offers a 4 percent, 40-year home mortgage to qualified buyers based on their debt-to-income ratio — not on their Fico scores. this will prevent borrowers from obtaining a mortgage they can’t afford to pay back. At the same time, the program helps the borrower repair and maintain good credit. in some instances, it may even require freezing their credit until it is fully repaired.

existing homeowners can also benefit from 4-40 For Freedom, as the program allows them to keep their lender terms through a simple mortgage payment modification. the payment modification funds the monthly difference between the homeowners’ existing interest rate and the new modified 4 percent rate — with the difference being paid directly to the lender.

studies show that a conservative 3-to-5 multiplier (300 percent to 500 percent return) is created in the economy for each dollar spent as a result of mortgage savings. this concept is similar to trickleup economics, as this savings would act as a “tax cut” for the American consumer.

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“I am an advocate of 4-40 For Freedom because I think it will give homeowners some much-needed relief.”

– Del Rounds, owner of Re/Max Fine Properties in Scottsdale, ariz.

“I am an advocate of 4-40 For Freedom because I think it will give homeowners some much-needed relief,” says Del Rounds, owner of Re/Max Fine Properties in Scottsdale, ariz., one of the largest individual-run, real estate offices in the United States. “Our economy is consumer-driven, so this program will likely free up some of their monthly income which was previously going toward housing and give them more discretionary income.”

How 4-40 For Freedom is Funded Funding for this program will not come from the government, but rather from investors purchasing the loans in the secondary mortgage market. With the mortgage payment modification, the difference between the original mortgage interest rate and the flat, 4 percent rate is paid for out of already-designated modified mortgage funds. This requires much less financial commitment than the amount the lender would lose in foreclosing the home and then trying to sell the property at a discount. It is also a much less complicated, and therefore less expensive, procedure than foreclosure. also, the program fuels itself by generating additional tax revenues, while creating smaller government income tax refunds to all participating homeowners. The savings and anticipated benefits could be dramatic as a result of the multiplier effect back into the economy. We also anticipate this program helping to improve the housing and job markets, spurring a decline in government welfare costs and a subsiding of the foreclosure crisis.

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The program’s activity level gets smaller over time, until it phases out completely. 4-40 For Freedom is designed to create significant capital during the first two years. We anticipate this program will spur a 20 percent increase in real estate value during the first two years, which is good — we need a correction to the oversold housing market. No, this won’t create another housing bubble because 4-40 is not driven by liar loans, plus it is a one-time program and cannot be used to flip a home, which discourages speculation. Program costs will automatically start slowing when no further mortgages are added. after the sixth year, it is estimated that one half of the loans will be retired because americans tend to move, on average, every six to seven years. It is also estimated that after 15 years, 90 percent of the 4-40 For Freedom mortgages will no longer exist. Furthermore, the four- to 40-year home purchase mortgage was designed with strict lending limits, which encourage borrowers in the first two years to move on by refinancing or selling their property. Since this is a national mortgage plan, we used this information to create a proposed congressional bill. For more information about 4-40 For Freedom, to make suggestions on improving the bill, or to sign our online petition, please visit our website at 4-40forfreedom.com.

Ken Parker has 34 years experience in the real estate industry and is the owner of Arizona-based Parker Properties/Parker Development. Data from the Seidman Research Institute, which completed a Costs and Financial Savings Report, was used as a benchmark to design 4-40 For Freedom.


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Culture ShoCk

Bad Sex

Men’s Role In the BuyIng & sellIng of WoMen

By Craig Morgan

n her eight months on the Phoenix streets, Amira Birger serviced four to five men a day, pulling in between $4,000 and $5,000 a week. The only common trait her johns shared was that they were white men. All of them. Some hadn’t reached legal drinking age. Some were pushing 70. Some would take their wedding rings off and lay them on the nightstand while Birger earned her pimp a daily wage. “We worked down the street from the courthouse, and I swear we had judges and lawyers coming in,” Birger says. “Other times, it was painters or construction workers who had saved up their money. But there was no one profile. It was a huge, wide walk of life.” Who knows what those men thought about Birger. Was she a trashy, bad girl who liked to have sex? Was she psychologically damaged? Was she combating poverty by the only means available to her? Did they think about her at all? Was she anything more than a commodity? An expedient pathway to a climax they had to reach — at a reasonable cost, of course. Who was Birger, really? She was a 15-year-old girl who had been forced into the sex trafficking trade. A girl imprisoned by a man who made her sleep behind a couch for two weeks without showering or changing clothes — and then made her have sex with men to get out from behind that couch. A girl who was raped by a family member when she was 6 — a traumatic experience she says conditioned her to accept her miserable fate. A girl who wanted nothing more than a loving family to protect her, and to accept her love in return. “Being raped for three hours was horrific, but the worst part of that time in my life was watching my pimp and his wife read bedtime stories to their kids and tuck them in bed while I sat on the couch waiting for him to take me to my next job,” says Birger, who now counsels victims and the general public while pursuing a degree at Arizona State University. “It was like I didn’t exist. I wasn’t a person to him. I was just a product.”

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Nobody knows how many girls and women are sold into sex trafficking in the United States each year. While a number of statistics have been cited, they vary widely in range and either rely on suspect methodology or scant evidence. But whether the number of girls and women trafficked is in the thousands, the tens of thousands or the hundreds of thousands is not the greater point anyway. Sex trafficking and many forms of prostitution are still tragedies. And they are driven by one simple market force: man’s insatiable desire for sex. “Sex trafficking, prostitution and pornography are not just women’s issues,” says Mending The Soul Ministries co-founder Steven Tracy. “We can dance around the issue, but the bottom line is there are no industries if men don’t create the demand. I’m passionate about highlighting men’s role in this, and it’s high time someone called attention to it.” Tracy’s organization, co-founded by his wife, Celestia, focuses on education. But Tracy also believes it is incumbent upon men to stand against this injustice and their role in perpetuating it. “As men, we must speak up and speak out,” he says. “As long as we remain silent, we are complicit in the injustice, and that’s true of any injustice.” Phillip Abraham is an Oregon-based filmmaker who joined forces with two film school colleagues to shoot the upcoming documentary, Volviendo. It’s about the Latin American sex trade and its consistent demand. In tow with a real-life traveling circus, Abraham’s crew made it all the way from the Mexican border town of Juarez to the southern tip of Argentina, taking in such eye-popping sites as a drive-through for prostitutes in the La Merced neighborhood of Mexico City. The film crew embarked with an entirely different set of goals. But as they made their way from city to city, what started as a project for a feature film morphed into an epiphany — an awakening to a disturbing and depressing reality that led Abraham to confess on film that he watched pornography. “A big delusion that men create in their heads is our justification that there is this separation between what we watch and what’s actually going on,” he says. “When I was put, face to face, with some of the results of the high demand for sex, I couldn’t deny any more that I was contributing to a global sex trade.” Mary Anne Layden is the director of the sexual trauma and psychopathology program at the University of Pennsylvania. In her summary of recent research, Layden found that viewing pornography can result in many negative behaviors and attitudes that can severely damage not only women, but the users. “Pornography is a potent teacher of both beliefs and behaviors, and in fact provides the ideal conditions for learning,” she writes. “It can teach not only specific sexual behaviors, but general attitudes toward women and children, what relationships are like, and the nature of sexuality.”

“When I was put, face to face, with some of the results of the high demand for sex I couldn’t deny any more that I was contributing to a global sex trade.”

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Aside from oft-cited research that shows pornography dehumanizes women in the eyes of men, Layden also notes research that reveals how pornography negatively affects men. She writes: “Exposure to pornography leads men to rate their female partners as less attractive than they would have had they not been exposed, to be less satisfied with their partners’ attractiveness, sexual performance, and level of affection, and to express a greater desire for sex without emotional involvement. For males, more pornography use was also associated with greater acceptance of sex outside of marriage and less child-centeredness during marriage. The reduced desire for children is especially pronounced in a reduced desire for female children. Some of pornography’s messages about relationships, sexuality, and women may be damaging, even if the pornography is not illegal or pathological.” Kelly Carroll-Hendon founded the Lost Angels Foundation of Hope when a child she knew was abducted by two 40-year-old men who met her through MySpace and then came to her door and took her. Through the efforts of a private investigator, the girl was found in the streets of Tucson, one day before she was to be shipped out to California, then to Mexico on a sex trafficking circuit, where she likely would have been lost forever. Carroll-Hendon agrees that the socialization, images and messages men receive on a daily basis reinforce the wrong image of what they should be. “Many men construct their identities and understand and affirm their masculinity through their sexuality and sexual experiences,” she says. “Men continue to be praised for their sexual prowess, which is passed from generation to generation. Men have social expectations and roles that they should take risks, have multiple sexual partners and pay for sex to prove they are ‘real’ men.” Ultimately, it’s up to men to break that cycle. “Every guy needs this to become a personal issue,” Abraham says. “Change is not going to happen through some statistic-based battle. It’s going to be a personal battle or revelation that is going to change the heart of a guy. My friend and fellow filmmaker, Diego Traverso, said it well at the end of our documentary (when addressing men): ‘It’s not about you any more. It’s not about your flesh and this desire that you have to feed. It’s all about them — those girls. If you believe that you are a man, you won’t feed that demand … She’s not an object. She is equal to you, and she deserves honor and respect.’”

“As men, we must speak up and speak out. As long as we remain silent we are complicit in the injustice, and that’s true of any injustice.”

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Culture ShoCk

Clearly, the most expedient way to end the market for sex trafficking, prostitution and pornography is for men to stop using them. But that is a simplistic and naïve notion that defies centuries of evidence. As Layden notes, sex is a powerful motivator for men. Virtually every man wants it, and wants it frequently. That, by itself, is not a problem, says Dr. Robert Weiss, the director of sexual disorders services for Elements Behavioral Health and the founding director of The Sexual Recovery Institute, an outpatient sexual addiction treatment center in Los Angeles. “When it becomes a problem is when there’s a loss of control,” Weiss explains. “It’s the guy who says I’m not going to that porn shop today or I’m not going to sleep with that prostitute today and risk my wife getting a disease, and then he does it anyway. It’s the guy for whom it’s more important to get the kids to bed early so he can watch porn, rather than spend time with his family.” Weiss says a large percentage of his patients have a history of abuse, neglect or narcissistic parenting in their past that leads to their behavior — some of which they may not have categorized as such until confronted with analysis. The Sexual Recovery Institute’s website has a self-test men can administer to find out if they have a problem. If they do, Weiss suggests attending any number of 12-step programs for sexual addiction, talking with a counselor, pastor, priest or close friend, or calling his institute, which helps treat sex addiction through a variety of methods. “We have to confront how their behavior is affecting their life’s priorities,” Weiss says. “We help them understand that they’re not bad people. They’re not immoral. It’s not about religion, but they do have deficits that have to be addressed to meet their needs without using sex and sexual experiences.” Weiss also believes the intersection of technology and sex has created a new problem for men. “What technology has done is remove the inhibitory moment when you stop and think, ‘Is this really a good idea?’” he explains. “When I was in my 20s and went to buy a porn video or magazine, I had to drive my car to the place under the bridge with the sticky floor, walk up to the counter and confront the cashier. It was embarrassing. But the sheer immediacy and availability to everything on the Internet has given us access without those associated costs or time.” The web site Ashleymadison.com is an example. The company’s tagline is: “Life is short. Have an affair” — and the message is exactly as it sounds. “I don’t believe we’re

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engineered for monogamy,” company founder and CEO Noel Biderman says. “I’ve never seen a study that shows that people who have been married a long time had their sex rate go up. There’s a direct relationship between the length of time you’re with someone and your sexual attraction to them.” Biderman said he is not promoting affairs, he’s merely capitalizing on a vast market for affairs. His company currently boasts more than 12 million anonymous members. “You can’t blame the company for people’s behavior. I don’t think that’s logical,” he says. “You can’t convince anyone to have an affair with a commercial, a radio jingle or a oneon-one conversation. If this company went away tomorrow, I don’t think one single affair would end. People would find another way. My role is to help people have a better affair, or a more perfect arrangement.” Clearly, not everyone who has an affair or watches porn is a sex addict or even has a problem, Weiss says. “I don’t think everybody is a sex addict on Ashley Madison, but I do have a question: If monogamy is a social construct, then why marry in the first place?” he asked. “I have guys telling me, ‘I don’t get enough sex with my wife,’ and I tell them, ‘Well, then go buy a car, or divorce her, or go have an affair, but bring her along to let her know what you’re doing.’ There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with having sex or watching porn. It’s not about that. It’s about having a secret life. It’s about not having integrity. It’s about breaking commitments to the people you care about. It’s about how you treat the people in your life.”

“It’s not about your flesh and this desire that you have to feed. It’s all about them — those girls. If you believe that you are a man, you won’t feed that demand …”

/////// Phillip Abraham contributed to this report.

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Rebel with a cause

# Philanth Innovative entrepreneur Shaun King has mastered the art of using social media for social good. By Troy Anderson PhoTos Provided By BenjAmin Cole Brown, And ross osCAr KnighT PhoTogrAPhy.

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D

uring his freshman year of high school, Shaun King was savagely beaten by a dozen self-described “rednecks” in one of Kentucky’s first registered hate crimes. The injuries were so severe, he missed part of his sophomore and junior years of high school while undergoing three spinal surgeries. Less than a decade later, he was involved in a head-on crash that hurled him through the windshield, ripping his “face to shreds” and requiring more than 400 stitches. Doctors, surprised he even survived, nicknamed him the “Miracle Man”. Today, looking back on the injustices and suffering in his life, King has found peace with the role adversity played in shaping his character and desire to help hurting people. “It could have gone either way,” says King, the founder of Courageous Church in Atlanta, Ga., and Twitchange.com, a celebrity Twitter auction that asks people to donate to charities in return for celebrities following or mentioning them in a tweet. “It could have hardened my heart, and I could have come out of that really, really bitter. But … it softened my heart to people in pain — the people who were hurting, not just people who had been assaulted and victimized, but the people who were hurting emotionally.” Today, the techie-humanitarian-pastor, who has appeared on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, in O, The Oprah Magazine and many other prominent publications, is one of the leading voices on how social media and technology can make the world a radically better place. His social media projects, like Ahomeinhaiti.org, have raised more than $5 million for charity and received more than 100 million Web hits. The 32-year-old “Facebook pastor” who has used social media to launch nearly a dozen successful startups is now blazing yet another innovative path for social good with Hopemob.org, a site that offers exactly what it sounds like — “a mob of people bringing hope.” Unlike other social giving platforms that focus on hundreds of small issues or global problems like clean water or sex trafficking, HopeMob simply tells one story at a time and focuses its collective energy on that cause. Using “story points,” volunteers can boost a story up through the “cause queue” until it becomes the featured story with an international audience. That’s when the mob swarms the cause with hope, donating money or offering other solutions. For example, HopeMob might tell the story of a family that has lost their home to a fire, a single mom who has lost her job, a first-generation college student who’s about to drop out of school because he can’t afford the tuition, a child with cancer who has a wish for more Facebook fans or a family with a disabled toddler who needs a special van for transportation.


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“Instead of telling a thousand stories, or one enormous story, we are telling one, small human story at a time — one person whose need has fallen through the cracks,” says King, a father of four who is married to his high school sweetheart, Rai. “We’ll tell their one story and propose one large solution and we’ll work on that story until we meet that goal.” When it launches this spring, HopeMob will use more than 1,100 filmmakers, photographers and storytellers from 20 nations on six continents to find, verify and document the most pressing needs around the globe. Through an interactive Web site, people will be given practical ways — not just financial — to provide immediate hope to those featured in the stories. King will also launch iPhone and Android apps.

HopMob co-founder Dave Gibbons says King, like other “misfit leaders” on the fringes of society, has a heightened sensitivity to the pain of others and a practical application to address their suffering. These kinds of leaders and creative innovators, Gibbons says, are the ones who typically lead movements and can make a huge difference in society. “We love Shaun because of who he is as a person, and specifically, we like how he has dealt with his pain and how he also has a heart for justice,” Gibbons says. “He gets passionate about helping people who aren’t usually seen. In terms of his natural skill sets, I think he’s really good at trying to become a voice for his generation — for the people who have no voice.” The amazing story of King’s success as a tech and humanitarian entrepreneur has unassuming beginnings. The son of a Caucasian mother and an African-American father, King was born on Sept. 17, 1979, in Versailles, Ky., a town of 8,500 people. His mother, who has worked at the same light bulb factory for more than 40 years, raised her boy by herself in the rural Kentucky town of “beautiful horse farms and factories,” according to King. “I had a really great childhood,” King says. “It was rough at home sometimes. I didn’t really know that, though. We were probably lower middle-class, maybe worse sometimes. My mother did her best. The house was full of love. She was incredibly supportive.” King’s mother taught her son to be friends with everybody. In elementary and middle schools, like most children, King was friends with children from different racial backgrounds.  But when he got to high school, King says he noticed the “weird phenomenon” of students separating into their own racial and socio-economic groups, and he often found himself the victim of racial attacks. “[I became involved in several] violent fights where I had to really protect myself,” he says. One day, a pickup full of youth tried to run him over on school property. He reported the incident to school authorities, but instead of punishing the perpetrators, officials protected the youth, King says. Then, one day while walking to band class in 1995, King was the victim of a brutal hate crime. A dozen youth assaulted him. He suffered facial fractures and required three spinal surgeries, causing him to miss a year and a half of school. He fell into deep depression and at times wanted to die. But his best friend’s dad, a pastor, came to visit him, lifting his spirits.

You can follow HopeMob on Twitter: @hope.

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Shaun has launched nearly a dozen different successful startups designed to help empower and show compassion to hurting people throughout his hometown of Atlanta, Haiti and other developing nations. These startups include: a home in haiti: sent nearly $2 million in emergency aid to post earthquake Haiti. twitchange: received more than 70 million hits in 8 months, received international acclaim for its creativity, and raised nearly $1 million for Haiti, families of American soldiers, and the education of girls in developing nations. 500 toyS: provided a brand new toy and school uniform to every child of an inner city Atlanta elementary school for the past 2 years. hope atL: provided more than $1 million in emergency flood relief support to victims of the Atlanta floods. courageouS church: launched in January 2009, Courageous Church is an exciting, diverse community of faith empowering people to use their faith to change the world. give them a good Start: provided every child at an inner city Atlanta elementary school all of their school supplies to start the year. Free BreakFaSt church: provided tens of thousands of hot free meals every Sunday morning for more than 2 years.

Shaun King has used social media to launch nearly a dozen successful startups and is now blazing yet another innovative path for social good with his newest venture, Hopemob.org.

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“I didn’t grow up with a father or a father figure, so his visits to me just had a really big impact,” King says. “I joke, but it may be true, that had my best friend’s dad been a plumber, maybe I would have become a plumber. I just found myself so impacted by this man coming to visit me that I wanted to be like him, and it just so happened that he was a pastor.” It was during these years that King’s passion for technology bloomed. In high school, King taught his classmates how to set up email accounts. Later, King won a scholarship to Morehouse College in Atlanta, the alma mater of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and became an Oprah Scholar. At Morehouse, King was welcomed with open arms, becoming student body president and winning the “Man of the Year” award from the African-American Studies Department. King began developing web projects in 1997 as a freshman. “[I’ve] believed in the power of social media since MySpace was cool,” he says. In a recent blog, King called HopeMob the 2012 embodiment of Rev. King’s “real dream.” He says, “I think what we’re doing with social media, bringing a diverse cross-section of people together, is kind of the contemporary expression of what Dr. King would do if he were alive today.”

After graduating from Morehouse, King landed a job as a high school civics teacher. About a year later, he became a motivational speaker in Atlanta’s juvenile justice system. During the Thanksgiving holiday in 2003, newly married and only days after buying his first home, King and his wife were involved in a terrible accident while visiting his family in Kentucky. “I hit a patch of black ice, lost control of the car and crossed the median of the Interstate,” he explains. “A truck coming straight at us hit us, crushing our car in a way that my seat went through the windshield. I hit the guardrail and it threw me back into the car. If I didn’t hit the guardrail, I probably would have died.” In a telephone call, hospital officials told his mother that they believed her son had broken nearly every bone in his face. They told her they had never seen someone go through a windshield and survive. King’s mother asked her family and friends to pray for her son. “I looked like Freddy Krueger for months,” he says. Subsequent X-rays and CAT scans revealed King had not broken any bones, however, and the doctors and medical students who visited him called him the “Miracle Man.” “Even though I’m a Christian and a pastor, I’m very skeptical of miracles,” King says. “I had to choose whether their initial diagnosis

Shaun King recently won the Mashable Award for the Most Creative Social Good Campaign in the world.

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Rebel with a cause

was wrong … or that something miraculous happened. It seems preposterous to me, but I’ve chosen to believe something miraculous happened.” Following a lengthy recovery, King launched nearly a dozen different social media ventures to help hurting people in Atlanta. Nicknamed “The Facebook Pastor” for his work soliciting donors through social networking sites, King raised money to provide inner-city Atlanta children with toys and school uniforms, emergency flood relief to victims of the Atlanta floods and tens of thousands of hot free meals on Sunday mornings through the FreeBreakfast Church. “At the time, nobody was really using social media to raise money for causes,” King says. “That wasn’t being done and Twitter was still kind of a community of techies.” In 2008, King used social media to tell the story of children in Atlanta who needed school uniforms. He created a simple microsite where people could watch a basic YouTube video of him at the school with the kids. “We had a PayPal link where people could give,” King says. “And it just caught on. Within about four weeks, pretty much just through Twitter and Facebook, we raised all the money we needed to buy these kids uniforms and toys. It was kind of right then that I realized we had captured a little bit of magic and from that point forward, it gave each campaign we did a little bit of credibility.” After the Jan. 12, 2010 Haiti earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and left 1 million homeless, King launched aHomeInHaiti, raising nearly $2 million worth of emergency aid, including 10,000 tents, for people in the Caribbean nation. As the momentum behind aHomeInHaiti subsided, King came up with the idea to create TwitChange to raise money for a permanent home for disabled Haitian orphans. The Twitter-based fundraiser gives users the chance to get followed, retweeted or mentioned by hundreds of celebrities — a hot commodity among the social media set that can significantly increase their number of followers and be a boon for their careers and businesses. “I think having a celebrity mention on Twitter is like the modern-day autograph,” King says. “But unlike if you met a celebrity at the mall and they gave you an autograph and few people would ever see it, if a celebrity mentions you on Twitter the whole world sees it.” King worked on the project with Eva Longoria, who got many of her celebrity friends involved too. TwitChange received more than 70 million hits and received international acclaim. “It was wildly successful,” King says. “We were on The Tonight Show and The Today Show. It got a ton of media coverage and we ended up being able to help a lot of children in Haiti.” The campaign, which cost $20,000 and raised more than $1 million, caught the attention of nonprofits around the world. Last year, King stepped down as pastor of the Courageous Church and

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sold TwitChange to a group of investors. “I think it was an example to nonprofits around the world,” King says. “Hey, there are some new, fresh and innovative ways you can use social media to tell your story and to build a huge amount of awareness. I think charities really took notice after that. Now, charities are doing amazing work in social media, and I’d really like to think we were one of the early pioneers in how to use social media well.” The idea for HopeMob was born out of the momentum behind TwitChange. He is using technology to fund the new venture, as King launched a Kickstarter campaign where he is asking others to make a pledge with the hopes of raising $125,000. More than 700 backers made pledges ranging from $1 to $10,000. Looking back, King says technology, especially social media, has been the key to all of his humanitarian causes and campaigns. “We are really proud that we at least helped loosen the lid on the jar of how to use social media for good, and now we see all types of innovative ways it can be used,” King says. “I think we’re just scratching the surface of how social media can bring people together.” But more than technology, the pain King has endured in his life — the barbarous assault and the accident — has played an even greater role in molding his destiny.

When King sought funding for his latest venture HopeMob, he again turned to the internet by utilizing microfinancing website Kickstarter.


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©2011 Until There’s A Cure Foundation Photo: Michael Collopy

P e r haps t h e G r eat e s t R is k o f H I V is


Rebel Events, pg. 90

Serve Rebel Events . . . . . . . . pg. 90 Get Involved . . . . . . . . pg. 92 Give Back . . . . . . . . . . pg. 94 Backstory . . . . . . . . . . . pg. 96

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he holidays may be well past us, but for rebel, the season of giving is a year-around event. In addition to our print, digital and iPad publications, rebel also exists to help make the world a better place. In addition to the award-winning content that we produce for our loyal readership, the other core mission of the rebel brand is to reach out to the community and get involved. Whether that means offering up our assistance to an existing cause or a new venture, rebel wants to partner with you and help make a difference. Rebel is currently building out its community events schedule for 2012 and is seeking organizations as potential partners to help those in need. Our interests range far and wide, but there is definitely a soft spot for opportunities that help men become better men, since that is in line with the overall mission of the rebel brand. In addition to our readership, rebel can offer the use of our sleek luxury bus, which is pictured above. The rebel bus can serve as an attention-getting mobile billboard to promote an event, help with transportation or be utilized in any other way you can imagine to benefit a charitable organization or event. Make-A-Wish recently used the bus as a fundraising tool by holding an auction in which the highest bidder was granted the opportunity to use it for a six-hour block of time. Rebel also recently participated in Tough Mudder, which was featured in our Fall 2010 issue. This extreme obstacle course is not only a mental and physical challenge for those who endure the 11-mile adventure, but it also serves as a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project. If you would like to contact rebel to discuss how we can work together, contact Danielle Geary at 480.951.8000 or at danielle@rebelmagazine.com.


RyanHouse.org

For those families who could benefit from short-term respite, there is a place that offers pediatric respite, palliative and end-of-life care in Central Phoenix. Within the home-like setting of Ryan House, families are able to take advantage of resources like: ✴ 8 pediatric rooms

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The loving Care Team at Ryan House is ready to provide support and comfort to children with life-threatening conditions and the families that care for them. Please share our vital mission with any families that could benefit. To donate, visit: RyanHouse.org


get invOlved

Good ConneCtions

Companies are using technology to make getting involved easier than ever. By Scott Starkel

Y

ou know that feeling you get when you see a tear-jerking news story showing starving children, abused animals or people who have lost everything? It’s that feeling that makes you want to do something to help. Usually, we never get started because we feel overwhelmed by the effort needed to truly make a difference. However, technology has simplified many tasks in our lives, including getting involved in social causes. Organizations have caught on to this trend and are using technology to make getting involved easier than ever before.

Psgive.org Paying $2.19 for a Caribbean getaway, 14 cents for a catered game-watching party for 10 people, or $4.49 for a 64 GB Apple iPad may sound too good to be true, but these are actual prices paid through Psgive.org. This website combines philanthropy with the thrill of online bidding, while also offering the chance to buy some cool items for ridiculously low prices. To place bids in auctions (or “events”), registered supporters buy and use tokens. The item’s full purchase price, as well as a large amount of the revenue from the token purchases, then goes

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to the designated nonprofit organization. There are three auction types: the highest bid wins when the time expires; the lowest unique bid wins; or people use tokens to reveal the current item price and then have three minutes to buy it (every time the price is revealed and someone passes on it, the price is lowered). If you’re in the market for a $2 vacation or a $5 iPad that will also help a good cause, visit Psgive.org to sign up and start bidding.

HandsOn netwOrk.Org Are you willing and able to get involved, but not quite sure of what type of volunteer work you want to do, or where to get started? HandsOn Network can help. With more than 250 HandsOn Action Centers in 16 countries, and more than 70,000 corporate, faith and nonprofit entities, this organization is the largest volunteer network in the U.S. Each year, HandsOn Network volunteers provide about 30 million hours of service, valued at nearly $600 million, to communities around the globe. On the website, Handsonnetwork.org, you can find Action Centers in your area, along with many other ways to get involved. So whether you want to lend a hand, get

your hands dirty, or have a hand in changing the world, HandsOn Network will help lead you from impulse to action.

wisH UpOn a HerO.cOm The Wish Upon a Hero Foundation uses the power the Internet to grant wishes, which could be anything from a new hearing aid or school supplies to a trip to Disney World for children with major illnesses. Many, but not all, wishes come from military families dealing with serious injuries or struggling to make ends meet. And since granting its first wish in 2007 — LASIK eye surgery for an Army veteran — the foundation has granted more than 87,000 wishes. The foundation grants wishes using funds and donations from corporate and public donors, but you can also grant a wish yourself at the website. Or, become a Wish Ambassador, a volunteer who sends emails, makes phone calls and uses social media to garner exposure for a wish in the hope of reaching a hero who is able to grant it. The foundation calls the incorporation of these new methods the “Philanthropic Revolution” and “Charity 2.0.” To become a part of it, visit the corporate website at Wishuponaherofoundation.org.


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Give Back

Geek ChiC

Breadpig sells cool products to “make the world less sucky.” By Nick RulaNd

One of Breadpig’s earliest publicity stunts was pretending to be a rock band on the steps of the New York Public Library.

B

readpig — symbolized by a flying, toast-winged swine — proudly separates itself from the traditional dog-eatdog economic ecosystem and thrives as an understated “uncorporation” unconcerned with its place in the business food chain. Its mantra: “Making the world suck less.” Its products: “Geeky wares.” The company finds, promotes and sells things like books, shirts, buttons, comics and magnets, donating all its non-sustainable profits to “organizations that make the world less sucky,” according to its website. “We tend to donate to organizations that our community — geeks — can get behind,” says Christina Xu, Breadpig’s operational manager. “Organizations that are efficiently run and are very transparent about their accounting are good candidates — two great examples are Donorschoose.org and Room to Read, which are two of our largest partners. You’ll notice that both are learningrelated as well, which geeks really love.” Recent Breadpig donations to Room to Read helped build and fund a new school in one of the least educated and poorest provinces in the country of Laos; a preschool in Sri Lanka; a library in Nepal; and the publication of a local language children’s book in India. Founded in 2008 by Alexis Ohanian, the retired co-founder of Reddit and an active angel investor, Breadpig’s business model was inspired by Newman’s Own, the salad dressing and food product company created by deceased social entrepreneur and actor Paul Newman. The Newman’s Own Foundation has donated more than $300 million to charity. So far, Breadpig has donated close

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to $200,000, but by extending its influence through its donations, Breadpig plans to increase its scope and scalability, which is expected to dramatically increase that figure. “Moving forward, I hope Breadpig can focus more on helping social entrepreneurial ventures and startup-minded nonprofits,” Xu says. “The existing funding structure is really at a loss when it comes to these promising new types of organizations, and I’d like to be able to step in where a traditional foundation can’t. One example is an organization in Jamaica called Halls of Learning, which is a self-sustaining program that teaches kids in Kingston about engineering through LEGOs. Breadpig was able to facilitate the donation of over 50 kits of LEGO Mindstorms to the program, which is really helping them out a lot.” On the product side, Xu says Breadpig is still in its experimental phase and is looking at different publishing opportunities with the potential of a merchandise consulting service in the future. For now, however, its appeal to fellow-geeks is affecting change, even with a downplayed mission. “The ‘making the world less sucky’ mantra is very tongue-incheek,” Xu says. “I think that people have gotten jaded by ‘save the world’ rhetoric, and rightfully so; it’s a big, complicated world out there and treating it as anything less is patronizing to your donors. We’re saying that selling a couple of T-shirts and donating a few thousand dollars here and there can’t save the world, but it can help it suck a little less for someone. And if everyone did that, we’d be in a better place.”


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Canoe route in New York’ s Adirondack State Park.


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I’m “The Anger Guy” and this is my story. By EvAn KAtz

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grew up in a world of chaos. My father was an angry alcoholic lawyer who used his brains and power to bully my family into fear, darkness and submission. I grew up afraid, believing that someday, someone was going to find out I was nothing more than the trash my father kept telling me I was. As I grew older, I became my father to my mother. Like a tornado, I ripped through the lives of those closest to me, oblivious to the damage. I yelled, punched holes in walls, and used defiance and verbal assaults to dominate and control. When I was 36, my father suffered a massive heart attack. Our contact had been sparse. But like clockwork, soon after I arrived at the hospital, he started with the disapproval and criticism. By now, I had built the strongest of shields and the sharpest of swords. I stood my ground and we fought — like the master and his protégé, cutting each other down. He was still raging as I was led out of the ICU. For the first time, I felt I had gotten the best of him. All the shame and fear he had ever put upon me vanished, and I envisioned him feeling the same emotions he had used to imprison me my entire life. I felt like a million bucks, like I had finally won.

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It was 4 a.m. when I received an urgent call from the hospital. As I entered the ICU, life became surreal. He was still as could be. I was in disbelief. It was Thanksgiving Day, and my father was dead, and I was the catalyst to the rage that ultimately shut off the lights on his life. My euphoria from just hours before dove into a deep, dark pool of shame. My inner voice confirmed he was right: I was everything he always said I was. And now he was dead, and I had a hand in killing him. I remained in a state of shame, guilt, loneliness and hatred of myself for years, feeling powerless over my need to suffer. But eventually I hit rock bottom, and it became clear my father was no longer the tyrant. He was gone. It was me. With a lot of work, I stopped hiding behind a shield of anger. I discovered that I wasn’t such a bad guy, that the world wasn’t so dangerous, and that I wasn’t so different from others; they had internal strife, too. Today I can love my father. I’ve come to realize that my dad, just like me at the time, couldn’t have done any better. But I also realize that today, I can. In July 2010, I was diagnosed with latestage cancer. While I have no intention of dying, the odds of a shortened life are fairly

strong. But I use the “fight” from my dad and the “peace” from my mom not just to stay alive, but to really live. Had I not transformed from that angry guy into who I am today, I’d probably be dead by now — or at least well on my way. To aid those in the helping professions and other individuals to understand what it’s really like inside an angry man’s mind, I wrote a book. I want to use my father’s story and my own past to help other angry men find themselves. That’s what I’ve got to give to the world, and those are the lessons I aspire to share. And since I will likely depart this world a bit earlier than I had planned, I can’t think of a better way to live than to speak, teach and give of myself. And Dad, I forgive you and I love you. And I know today that you’ve always loved me too.

Evan Katz is a licensed counselor who specializes in counseling both angry teens and men. He is the author of the new book Inside the Mind of an Angry Man, available for purchase at angerguy.com/bookstore.


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Rebel Magazine Mar. 2012