NNNN Episode #23 with Yaw Amp

Instagram: @yaw_amp and @veniceworldwide

Soundcloud: Yaw Amp

Always a pleasure having the one and only Yaw Amp (a.k.a- Young Frozone) in studio to talk about:

-His upcoming EP

-His thoughts on hip-hop today

-His biggest influences

-Balancing school and creative endeavors

-What he has learned from last year to this year

and of course…

More.

Citations:

The major that she major in don’t make no money but she won’t drop out her parents will look at her funny”

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“She’s so precious with the peer pressure
Couldn’t afford a car so she named her daughter Alexus”

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Enjoy:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/no-names-no-numbers/id1457394246#episodeGuid=1b2609b7-e3d1-5103-1b5a-2a39fb6499ec

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NNNN Episode #19 with Zach Valencia

Fun show today talking with Zach about all things:

-Public Speaking

-Stand-up

-Philosophy

AND…

More.

Like, Subscribe, Leave a 5 star review and above all- Enjoy:

 

https://anchor.fm/pat-labelle/episodes/NNNN-Episode-19-With-Zach-Valencia-e6fmml

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/no-names-no-numbers/id1457394246

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How ‘Lost’ Changed My Life

By: Nicole Bates

Most of us college kids were pretty young when Lost aired on ABC back in 2004. But if you haven’t heard of the show by now? You must be living under a rock.

There are many differing opinions about the show (I think it  was a masterpiece) but regardless of what you thought about the ending or the last few seasons- Lost had a huge cultural impact.

I discovered the world of Lost right around the time I was working on the dreaded common app my senior year of high school. I remember that period as a magical time in my life because alongside the stress of applying to colleges; I was knee-deep in Lost. If you ask anyone I was friends with at the time- I didn’t talk about anything but the show.

I was obsessed.

I found myself in awe at the cast of characters. The writers of the show did such a great job at creating an ensemble of fully real and human characters. This, in combination with the life of the island itself is what captivated me. I was taken by the secret underground bunker, the Dharma initiative and the mysterious smoke monster that could shapeshift into a character’s worst nightmare. It was such an imaginative, beautiful, wonderfully horrifying world, and every time I watched I felt I was literally transported away from my life into the world of the show.

This may sound like an exaggeration  (I am a dramatic person) but when the show ended; I felt like I lost some friends. I had been with these characters all throughout one of the most stressful times of my life yet so knowing I had watched everything there would ever be of these characters was sad.

Contrary to popular opinion, I enjoyed the ending. I thought it was fitting for a bizarre, complex show that built its legacy off of always leaving the audience with unanswered questions. (I also did my fair share of research on theories about the ending and I found an explanation that made me quite happy with the way things panned out).

I could go on and on talking about Lost and all its idiosyncrasies, but that isn’t the point of this post. To this day, three years after I finished the show, I still hold the world of Lost close to my heart because I have such fond memories of the time in my life when I was watching it.

It was a time in my life when I had to come face to the face with the fact that high school was ending and I would be leaving home and all my friends to go somewhere new. Obviously, this prospect was exciting.

But change is always scary too.

With my future preying on my mind, watching this show made me long for island life. The thought of it was so appealing. I could live surrounded by exotic vegetation, watch an awesome sunrise/sunset every day, wander as I please, eat mangoes and live a simple but beautiful life.

Obviously, in Lost (pardon my French), a lot of fucked up shit happens. However, that is because it is a form of entertainment and as much as we might hate to admit it- things have to happen in TV shows so people keep watching. But if you take all the horrific things out of the equation, you are left with a lot of really tender moments in the show.

Moments like when they build a golf course in an open field, Sun’s garden grows herbs that can save lives, Desmond and Hurley’s genuine friendship with Charlie or Rose and Bernard’s home they built for themselves on the island away from all its madness!

My list goes on and on.

I know, not all these characters make it, and evil incarnate itself also lives on the island. But what the show taught me is that in these dark and hopeless times, love, happiness and beauty still exist- and these are often the times people are brought together.

In a world where I feel I hear nothing but bad news every single day, the idea of living on an island away from everything is extremely appealing. On an island, I wouldn’t have to pay attention to politics, I wouldn’t have a phone or social media to worry about, and I wouldn’t need a boring job because my life would be consumed with gathering food and making life work on the island.

I would be able to enjoy life for what it is really is. (Hopefully on this island I would be surrounded by loved ones, and we could enjoy each day there together)

Now I am talking about this “island” idea as if it were some radical idea I came up with, but it is most definitely not.  This idea of paradise has been written about over and over again. The idea is reminiscent of the Garden of Eden from the Bible or Thomas More’s Utopia which speaks of a perfect community set on an island, and Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which is set on a tropical island full of spirits and monsters.

People have longed for this life since the start of time, but I feel as a society we have moved further away from it rather than closer. I am not promoting a true “utopia”, because we all know from reading books like 1984, The Hunger Games, and Fahrenheit 451 that attempts at perfection always turn dystopic. But what I would promote from this “island” lifestyle is to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.

We do not need to live grandiose lives to find fulfilment and happiness.

We all find happiness in different things. You might like to have a routine and embrace the daily grind in an effort to get rich or to support a family; but this is not the only option.

There is so much pressure on students to get the internship, so they can get the job, so they can get rich- when some people may not want that. As I’ve gotten older, I am starting to think I may be a lot happier with a simpler life (like running a bed and breakfast in the South of France or owning a flower shop in Maine. Who knows? The possibilities are endless).

I am not exactly sure what I want in life yet, but I do know I would like to work towards finding the magical feeling watching Lost brought me.

I found that the moments in the show that stood out to me the most (and still do) were the moments when the characters found companionship in each other and peace in discovering the joy the island had to offer.

What a concept.

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Should I Believe in Social Darwinism?

Even if you sleepwalked through every biology class you ever took I find it nearly impossible that you’ve never heard the phrase:

“Survival of the Fittest”

It’s a phrase that was tied to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution that those with the best traits for reproduction success (sex…nice) will be the ones who survive and carry on the species going forward.

That is pretty much a universally accepted belief because it makes sense. Those who have all the desirable traits to reproduce are going to be the ones who continue to live generation to generation and those who don’t will slowly fade away.

But somewhere along the way people decided to add a word before “Darwinism”.

Social Darwinism

What’s that?

The theory that individuals, groups, and peoples are subject to the same Darwinian laws of natural selection as plants and animals.

Well Pat, that doesn’t seem like a crazy belief. Is it so wrong to think that the most qualified and skilled people will inevitably rise to the top of their profession and start to accumulate wealth? Sounds like you’re getting a little too woke again.

Imagine this:

There are two children who decide to play baseball for the first time ever. Considering neither of them have ever played before, let’s assume they have equal skills at the game.

On paper this is fair.

If only the world were that simple.

There is a big difference I forgot to mention about these two children.

The parents of child #1 have accumulated massive amounts of wealth and are able to provide private lessons, the best available equipment, as well as total emotional support along the way.

The parents of child #2 come from a low-income background despite both parents working full-time. They can only afford low level equipment and make it to a couple games a season due to their demanding work schedule.

When child #1 inevitably achieves greater success playing baseball than child #2 should this be viewed as:

-“Survival of the fittest”

or

“Survival of the most wealth and resources”

Alright Pat, I get where you’re coming from. But life is not fair- get over it.

I completely agree; life is not fair.

Let’s stop acting like it is.

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Does the Man Who Dies Rich Die Disgraced?

The following piece is inspired by an article written by Andrew Carnegie called “The Gospel of Wealth” (1889) (PLEASE READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

There is nothing wrong with wealth.

Let me say that again.

There is nothing wrong with wealth.

And one more time for the people in back.

There is nothing wrong with wealth.

I want to make it blatantly clear that this title should not be read as “The man who gets rich dies disgraced” because as we have now went over three times- there is nothing wrong with wealth.

This article will be focused on the idea of dying with wealth.

Pat, you really gotta be talking about death on a wonderful Wednesday like today? Give it a rest chief.

Yeah and absolutely not.

I think the easiest way to go about this is to provide a few quotes from the reading and give my interpretation of them.

Let’s get right into it:

Quote #1: 

“By taxing estates heavily at death the state marks its condemnation of the selfish millionaire’s unworthy life”

In my history discussion last Friday, I asked my classmates what they thought about the quote “The man who dies rich dies disgraced” and I’m so happy that one kid had the courage to say what many others were likely thinking:

“Well, I don’t really think that is true. What about the NFL player who earned millions through playing years in the NFL. He worked hard, earned that money, and should get to keep it. What did he do wrong if he wants to keep his money?

It’s a valid objection.

My response was that the hypothetical NFL player didn’t do anything wrong (although their post-career brain might say otherwise).

They just did nothing. 

Quote #2:

“In bestowing charity, the main consideration should be to help those who will help themselves”

Leaving UMass last spring, I stopped by Starbucks to grab a venti iced coffee unsweetened with two packets of raw sugar (and light ice). When I came out of the store, I saw a homeless man looking desperate and sitting on the sidewalk. For whatever reason, on this day I decided not to avoid eye contact by any means necessary. I gave the man $10 before throwing in a classic “God bless you”  before walking off.

I don’t tell this story to brag about my generosity.

I tell this story because when I came back this year for the start of fall semester and grabbed a slice of Antonio’s pizza- I saw my friend in the exact same spot as last year.

My first thoughts went a little something like this:

“My broke ass gives this fucking homeless guy $10 to better his life and I come back the next year to see him in the exact same fucking spot as before? Fucking bum. That’s the last time I ever give money to a fucking panhandler. Get a job you lazy fuck.

It’s not pretty to see that typed out and I’m not proud of it- but that’s what I originally thought.

But then I really thought about it.

What was he supposed to do with $10?

Giving this man my hard earned money was my fault; it was a terrible investment. Why? Because I let my emotions of seeing a person struggling on the street overcome my logic.

I don’t know his exact situation but I do know that if you’re holding a can on the sidewalk- you probably don’t have a lot going for you.

Issues could include (but are not limited to):

-Lack of stable shelter

-Lack of food

-Lack of education

-Addiction/Substance abuse

This experience taught me that monetary handouts to those who don’t know what to do with it don’t work. I’d suspect this type of thinking explains why 70% of lottery winners wind up bankrupt (amongst other factors).

This experience is also why I like the cliche quote “Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you’ve fed him for a lifetime.”

The point I’m trying to make is that I understand a reluctance to give money to people who are going to turn around and throw it all away on crap.

But what if that money went to people who have all the basic necessities of life but have never had the opportunities or guidance necessary for growth?

People who:

-Grew up in low-income neighborhoods and went to schools with shitty uninspired teachers.

-Are truly intelligent but have never succeeded in a typical school setting.

And in the broadest sense?

-Want to succeed; but just don’t know how.

Quote #3:

“The man who dies rich dies disgraced”

I’ll leave the rest up to you.

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Editor’s Note: 

Andrew Carnegie practiced what he preached in some ways by funding public libraries and giving lots of money to philanthropic endeavors. However, as an employer he was tyrannical, strongly opposed unions, and even approved of violence against his workers when they went on strike. With that being said, this piece was not about the man; it was about the man’s ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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