E1 – Tad Davis is an American born expat living in Thailand. He owns The Bad Penny bar on the island of Ko Lanta. (July. 1, 2016)
E2 – Brooks ingle is an American firefighter. He is also a paramedic. He fought fires in Indiana and is about to begin his career as a Nashville (TN) firefighter. (July. 1, 2016)
E3 – Katie is an American transgender woman living in the Pacific Northwest. She began her transition from male to female in 2016. (July. 7, 2016)
E4 – Ruby Amanfu is a Ghanaian-born, professional performing songwriter/artist. She’s a sister, daughter, immigrant, African American, activist, model, traveler, writer and on and on. (July. 14, 2016)
E5 – Tanya Sue hails from Nashville by way of Michigan. She’s been battling depression since the 3rd grade, and after one attempt at taking her own life, she found the help she needed. Her foundation, Dark City Light, will launch later in 2016. (July. 21, 2016)
E6 – Zach Skow is the founder of Marley’s Mutts a dog rescue (and humanitarian) foundation. Zach’s programs, Pawsitive Change Prison Program, Miracle Mutts, Barks and Books and 22 in 22 (bringing awareness to veteran suicide) have changed the lives of human and dog alike. (July. 28, 2016)
E7 – Hal Humphreys is a private investigator, He is the lead investigator at his company FIND Investigations. He is also a published writer and all around interesting guy. His facial hair absolutely rivals Magnum P.I.’s. (Aug. 4, 2016)
E8 – Mark Carson is a history professor and songwriter from New Orleans. He teaches both disciplines, however, his true love is history and he specializes in the Vietnam war. (Aug. 11, 2016)
E9 – “Jill” is a twenty-something escort living and working in New York. She shares her story of life, love and the pursuit of happiness. It’s a great conversation and I asked a TON of questions. (Aug. 18, 2016)
E10 – Karen Lynch was one of the first generation of female police officers serving in San Francisco. Her memoir Good Cop, Bad Daughter was a can’t-put-down for me. From her childhood dealing with her bi-polar mother and traveling around the globe to her experience at the police academy where women were not exactly welcome in the force, to facing some major turning points of life, it’s definite page turner. (Aug. 25, 2016)
E11 – Andrew Arehart is an instructional Designer. His focus is to help people, primarily refugees and immigrants, as they navigate their new life in the United States. He helps them with employment, settlement and adaption. (Sept. 01, 2016)
E12 – Adam Shelby was incarcerated for eight years. While in prison he excelled in educational courses and tutored other inmates. He went on a “talking fast” for a month, spent a year in isolation and he read and he read. Now that Adam is out, he’s attending college and studying to be a designer. He also lectures about what life is like for him now and what it was like when he was inside prison walls. (Sept. 08, 2016)
E13 – Paul Fallon is a writer, architect, cyclist and yoga teacher. He’s riding his bike to every state in the contiguous U.S. to ask people the question; “What will we do tomorrow?” He spent years traveling back and forth to Haiti, where he helped to rebuild after the devastating earthquake. In the years that followed, he fell in love with the place and the people, writing a book about his experience, Architecture by Moonlight. (Sept. 15, 2016)
E14 – William Puckett is a retired meteorologist whose fascination with the possibility of extraterrestrial life has lead him down a path to be one of the leading UFO researchers in America. (Sept. 22, 2016)
E15 – MadebyJimbob (Jimbob being his moniker) is one of my favorite cartoonist/satirists. His observational humor is biting, poignant, funny and thought provoking (sometimes even all at once!) and absolutely worth an Instagram follow. He’s working on a book of his cartoons and he’s also an extraordinary jeweler. (Sept. 29, 2016)
E16 – Mark Friedman is the president of Deluge Music. He has spent his life navigating the waters of the music industry. Beginning his career as an intern at Columbia Records, Mark has worked his way up through the ranks at MCA, Reata, Chrysalis, RSP, Bigger Picture, Verse and now Deluge. Whew! What an adventure! (Oct. 06, 2016)
E17 – Elana Mugdan is a screenwriter, editor, film producer and novelist. Her new book, Dragon Speaker, is the first of five in The Shadow War Saga books. The book is a fantastic, fun read and it’s evident in Elana’s writing that she grew up on a wonderful diet of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Her mini bio reads: “She is described by her friends and family as the ‘weirdest person I know,” and wears that weirdness proudly on her sleeve. She likes dragons, as is evidenced by [her] book, and hopes that the world of Allentria will bring as much joy to her readers as it does to her.” (Oct. 13, 2016)
E18 – Chris Gehringer is one of the best (multiple Grammy winning and multiple Grammy nominated) mastering engineers in the music business. For over thirty years he’s been mastering the likes of Lady Gaga, Rihanna, 50 Cent, Little Big Town, Naughty by Nature, Madonna, Nick Jonas along with even more of the biggest names in the industry, running the gamut of genres from Jazz to Rock to Rap and Pop and all the good stuff in between. (Oct. 20, 2016)
E19 – A. Pilot has come a long way. She grew up in a very strict religious household and community and was the victim of abuse from a young age. She fled her upbringing and discovered the world outside the insular one she was used to, but with that discovery came the pain of remembering her childhood trauma. Now, all grown up and an inspiring (and aspiring) writer, she channels a life of growth, discovery, pain and hope. (Oct. 27, 2016)
E20 – Dean Miller grew up in the madcap world of music, the son of world famous performer/songwriter Roger Miller. He’s navigated his own music career and is a well-respected and well-sought after dog trainer. Dean is a producer, songwriter, book writer, dog whisperer, and all around interesting dude! (Nov. 3, 2016)
E21 – Justin Levenson was sitting at his desk one minute and waking up on the floor, surrounded by co-workers and paramedics, the next. At the hospital he received the news that no one is ready to hear: Brain tumor. Justin’s story is an incredible one of diagnosis, journey, healing, faith, bliss and truth. (Nov. 10, 2016)
E22 – Rachel Kice is a painter and performance artist, known for her wild and colorful pieces. Her work is collected all over the world and hangs in the Tennessee State Museum, Warner Brothers, The Country Music Hall of Fame (and my house). She has collaborated with brands and organizations including: Warner Brothers, Harley Davidson, Chevy, Tedx, Hard Rock Cafe, The Grammy Foundation and Prilosec. Her work has been featured by media outlets including: CNN, ABC, CMT, MTV, GQ, People and a dozen more. (Nov. 17, 2016)
E23 – Michael Mollura (PhD, MA, MFA) is a depth psychologist who implements the Jungian style. He’s also a composer whose music can be heard on several documentaries and movies (including Nebraska, The Highest Pass, Climate Refugees and Awake). His adventure through life (and his patient’s dreams) is fascinating! (Nov. 24, 2016)
E24 – Geof Kirby is a successful podcaster and video game reviewer (NRDLY podcast) and has spent his life geeking out on Sci-fi, video games and all the things you might find at Comic-Con. He also grew up with severe depression, various daily meds and demon possession (which led to an exorcism). Loved having this conversation about life, religion, hope, loss, Spock and Carl Sagan. (Dec. 01, 2016)
E25 – Brock Hayhoe discovered dance by accident as a teenager (that’s already old in the world of dance) and those in the know discovered he had a natural talent. That talent would eventually gain him scholarships at prestigious dance schools and send Brock around the world as a principal ballet dancer. Still, he was drawn to try his hand at something different, and Brooke Lynn Hytes was born. Now, Brock performs internationally as the celebrated Drag Queen Brooke Lynn Hytes and even won Miss Continental – 2014. Brock’s life has been charmed, for sure, but he’s also worked incredibly hard to master his craft. I’ve seen Brooke Lynn Hytes in action and she is someone to behold! Brock and I had a great conversation about his life and goals and we also discussed dating, politics, religion and saying yes to flying, leaping off the cliff and building your wings as you go. (Dec. 08, 2016)
E26 – Nick Pellegrino is one of Nashville’s most beloved chefs and owner of Mangia (a focaccia/Italian restaurant in Nashville, TN). He’s also an accomplished songwriter, a trained classical guitarist, producer, artist, voiceover actor and he’s hilarious. (Dec. 15, 2016)
E27 – Cpl. Tyler Southern smiles a lot. His outlook is so positive it’s contagious. Yet, many would look at him and wonder how he found such happiness considering in May of 2010, while on his second Marine deployment in Afghanistan (Iraq was his first deployment), he stepped on an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). For the next thirteen days, Tyler fought for his life. And for two and half years he underwent 32 surgeries and rehabilitation. He lost both of his legs above the knee and his right arm above the elbow, but he never lost his spirit. His determination for rehabilitation and his love of life and family is an inspiration. (Dec. 22, 2016)
E28 – Jameson Fink is a senior editor for the enormously popular magazine Wine Enthusiast. Jameson is a two-time SAVEUR Blog Award finalist. He’s been a wine editor at Foodista, Grape Collective and msn.com. He’s visited vineyards all over the world! He enjoys Champagne with popcorn and Skittles with Rosé! (Dec. 29, 2016)
E29 – Greg Vandy is a man of many talents. His new book, 26 Songs in 30 Days: Woody Guthrie’s Columbia River Songs and the Planned Promised Land in the Pacific Northwest (co-authored by Daniel Person) is on Seattle’s Easy Street Records’ list of the best music books of 2016 and he is the creator and curator of Seattle’s KEXP 90.3FM (arguably the nation’s best radio station) American music show, The Roadhouse. His blog is called American Standard Time. He’s also a DJ, a dad and a heck of a great guy! (Jan. 5, 2017)
E30 – Richard Nichols’ people can be traced back to the early settlers of the United States. He grew up in the South, in Pulaski, Tennessee. Richard is a direct descendent of the original Klansmen, founders of the Ku Klux Klan, himself a Grand Dragon in their order. This episode is part one of a two part series on racism and white separateness in the US. Warning: This episode contains mature language and content. (Jan. 12, 2017)
E31 – Bryon Widner spent most of his rebellious teen years on the streets, an easy mark for his town’s Neo-Nazi Skinhead group. They took Bryon under their wing and over the next twenty years, his brothers-in-hate in various Skinhead groups became his family. He founded some of the most notorious hate groups in the United States.. Somewhere along the way he realized the hate he’d been directing outward was a salve for his own self-loathing. That’s when he began the process of leaving. Unfortunately, it’s hard to start a new life with a body covered in tattoos reflecting a landscape of hate. 2 1/2 years of laser treatments and a documentary later (Erasing Hate), Bryon is now on a mission to spread words of Love and Acceptance. (Jan. 19, 2017)
E32 – Brett Swayn was born in Perth, Australia. He dreamt of being a famous performing songwriter and ended up following that dream to California. Sometimes dreams take detours and Brett ended up homeless in Nashville, Tennessee. After months of being homeless, he was given a new chance at life when the restaurant Flemings hired him in their kitchen. From there he worked his way to becoming a chef and now is the chef and owner of The Cookery. It’s not just any restaurant. The Cookery provides training and employment to the homeless of Nashville. Brett has seen over thirty of his students (once homeless) graduate as chefs. (Jan. 26, 2017)
E33 – Alissa Moreno was born with an old soul and a gypsy heart. She began her journey on a Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico and has spent the better part of her life touring the world, as a seeker of wisdom and philosophy, meditation and Ayurveda, music and performance. (Feb. 2, 2017)
E34 – Diane was on the phone with her husband, Jack, in March of 2015, when the the unthinkable happened. An intruder entered Jack’s work and took his life while Diane listened, helpless, on the other end of the line. What happened over the next two years took Diane on a journey through Hell and back and taught her some of life’s most intense lessons in patience, persistence, hope, grief and ultimately peace from a Love that never wavered. (Feb. 9, 2017)
E35 – Talha Haseen was born in Pakistan and immigrated with his family to the United States when he was nine years old. He is a Muslim and an active member of his Mosque. As a kid, he didn’t notice a difference in how anyone treated him, but a shift happened post 9-11. Now, as an adult, he’s had the opportunity to travel to different parts of the U.S. and happily reports that, in general, he’s been met with curiosity and a lovely openness. (Feb. 16, 2017)
E36 – John Jackson was nearly sixteen when a stolen look from his high school art teacher set off a series of events that would shape his romantic relationships forever. In a time when boundaries were not as defined and laws were not yet solidified, their liaisons became the touchstone for how he based every encounter and every girlfriend from then on. Now, four decades later, he’s come to understand the ramifications of it all, left with a longing for a childhood lost and a desire for justice, or at the very least, peace. (Feb. 23, 2017)
E37 – Sean was in a long-term marriage. It suffered from a lack of intimacy that eventually led to its demise. Post divorce, he decided to begin a quest to understand and master sex and intimacy. Twelve relationships led him through the steps to his discovery that a “woman’s most complicated sex organ is her mind” and her least complicated – her heart. He’s writing a book to help couples grow together to foster their best possible intimate relationships. (Mar. 2, 2017)
E38 – Annie Waugh specializes in NST, a technique that integrates both the neurological and structural re-balancing of the body. Her focal point is trauma recovery and helps her clients to resolve pain, tension and dysfunction with NST and other modalities. We talked about really fascinating mind body connections – check out the Hey Human podcast link page for some references! (Mar. 9, 2017)
E39 – Chris Norton & Emily Summers are remarkable humans in their own right. In 2010, Chris was left paralyzed after a college football came fractured his upper spine and tore at his spinal cord, leaving him unable to move below the neck. He was told he only had a 3% chance of ever being mobile again. Determined, Chris never gave up and what seemed an impossible goal, became a reality as he walked across the stage at his college graduation. He started a foundation to raise money for people who didn’t have access to equipment that could help them recover as well. His SCI CAN Foundation has since raised over $600,000! Chris met Emily while in rehabilitation, at a college party and the two began an extraordinary courtship leading to their engagement in 2015. Emily works with foster children and disadvantaged youth and spends her time making the world better by making the children of the world lives better. This is one dynamic duo! (Mar. 16, 2017)
E40 – John Angelos is the Executive VP of the Baltimore Orioles and the President of the Mid Atlantic Sports Network. In 2015, during the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death, a series of tweets John wrote went viral with their central premise that “If the system fails some of us, it fails all of us.” (Mar. 23, 2017)
E41 – Evan Kidd is an award-winning filmmaker who recently wrote and directed Son of Clowns which garnered multiple awards on the film festival circuit in 2016. He’s also an accomplished documentarian and has directed multiple music videos. (Mar. 30, 2017)
E42 – Caleb Mundy. After receiving his Bachelors of Music in Commercial Music, Caleb decided to attend Belmont University College of Law. He’s a student, a bass player, a dog lover and he has an extraordinary beard. He jokes that he went to law school “for a girl” but with the girl long gone, he’s about to graduate, take the Bar and take action helping some of humanity’s most vulnerable. (Ap. 6, 2017)
E43 – Chloë Stillwell is a Nashville born, New York trained writer and comedian and self described feminist. She writes and comments on pop culture, entertainment, feminist and social justice. She currently covers culture for Playboy and politics for Paste Magazine. Her work has appeared in The Frisky, Death & Taxes, Guerrilla Feminism and Amy Poheler’s Smart Girls, among others. You can find her acerbic wit on the comedy stages of Nashville every month with the Broads and Brews comedy collective. (Ap. 13, 2017)
E44 – David Nunn was a child like many, reared up in Nashville, Tennessee. He loved his family and he loved being a kid playing ball on the end of his street with the other kids in the neighborhood. By his junior year, however, David was drawn into gang life where money, power and violence ruled those same streets. A former high ranking member of the Crips, David shares his history and how it shaped his present. (Ap. 20, 2017)
E45 – Michelle Chalfant is a therapist, holistic life coach, speaker and author dedicated to helping individuals and couples uncover their true and whole selves by stripping away limiting beliefs, false stories and emotional masks. Michelle has demonstrated that increasing self-awareness is the first step to self-love. Michelle’s Adult Chair model is used to help people understand their inner child, adolescent (ego) and healthy adult more intimately. In doing so, they become able to identify the source of their limiting emotional responses to the world around them. Michelle’s work provides a path toward healing, recovery from trauma and grief, and the promise of growth that comes with a life lived from our Adult Chair. Michelle is host of The Adult Chair podcast, and her writing and guided meditations support thousands of listeners, readers, and students around the world. (Ap. 27, 2017)
E46 – Luke Pell is a veteran, reality television star (The Bachelorette), artist-songwriter and all around interesting guy. Sociology, humanity, self-discovery and growth are at the forefront of his adventures in life. (May 4, 2017)
E47 – Barton Green‘s literary skill has been employed by such heavyweights as
five-time boxing champ Evander Holyfield, platinum recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman, “Heartbreak Hotel” composer, Mae Boren Axton, Italian film star Isabelle Adriani, British diplomat Sir Lionel Luckhoo, and the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis I. He is currently penning the Frances Preston biography. Bart is also an actor and screenwriter. (May 11, 2017)
E48 – Ryan Rado is a phenomenal painter, writer and punk musician and he also has Tourette Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He’s been dealing with the tics and compulsions since he was a young child. Now, as an adult, he’s still learning how to navigate the world with acceptance and through perseverance. (May 18, 2017)
E49 – Sheri Kendrick shines light in dark places. She’s been taking photos professionally since 1999 but in 2006 a shift in focus came to her, thus beginning what would become her most important body of work. Sheri, with her non-profit Little Light of Mine, began taking photographs of terminally ill children for their families. Sometimes, happily, the children recover, but in most situations, Sheri’s images are the last (and lasting) poignant memories parents and siblings have to hold. (May 25, 2017)
E50 – Gabrielle & Tony Caldwell are the owners of the Osho Collective Spa and Wellness Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Tony is the Creative Director and head stylist and Gabrielle is the Wellness Director and ReUnion Process Facilitator. Their journey to find each other and then maneuver the ups and downs of Love and Business is as real as it gets. They’ve navigated Depression, Study, Meditation, Martial Arts, Growth, Setback, Communication, Humor, Teaching, Silence, Tears and Patience together. (June 1, 2017)
E51 – Katie Troyer was born into an Amish family in Ohio. She spent her entire life searching for something and, in her early forties, found it. She was born a little person and because of her small stature, she felt isolated from the other Amish children. After a huge epiphany, Katie left the Amish faith and followed her own path to God. Now, she spends her time taking incredible photographs of Amish and Mennonite communities and has amassed the largest collection of such works. She’s a force and a gentle spirit. (June 8, 2017)
E52 – Rozana McGrattan was born in Brazil into extreme poverty. Her memoir, Street Girl, follows her extraordinary life of homelessness, sickness, abuse, servitude, captivity and escape. Her sheer will to survive and to be something bigger than what was expected of her gave her Hope beyond the darkness of her experiences. Rozana is now a successful businesswoman in England and has proven one can succeed against insurmountable odds. For a transcript of this episode, please visit: the Transcript page. (June 15, 2017)
E53 – The Dustbowl Revival has been making a name for itself with a vibrant mix of vintage Americana sounds. Critics have proclaimed that this eclectic eight-piece “would have sounded utterly at home within the hallowed confines of Preservation Hall in New Orleans’ French Quarter” (Los Angeles Times) and their “upbeat, old-school, All-American sonic safaris exemplify everything shows should be: hot, spontaneous, engaging and, best of all, a pleasure to hear” (L.A. Weekly). Their new eponymous album is out now and it showcases the ensemble evolving and refining its music. (June 22, 2017)
E54 – Jenni Schaefer graduated summa cum laude from Texas A&M University with a degree in biochemistry and was headed to medical school when she decided instead to move to Nashville to pursue singing and songwriting. It was in Nashville that she began to deal with the devastating consequences of an eating disorder that nearly derailed everything. Fully recovered, Jenni is now an advocate, speaker, consultant and coach. Her first book, Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too (McGraw-Hill) became a best-seller and she continues to help countless men and women in their journey to recovery from their Eating Disorders. Her next book, Goodbye Ed, Hello Me: Recover from Your Eating Disorder and Fall in Love with Life (McGraw-Hill), widened her message to one of self-actualization and personal fulfillment. Her latest book, Almost Anorexic: Is My (or My Loved One’s) Relationship with Food a Problem? addresses the millions of people who struggle with disordered eating while not meeting the diagnostic criteria for a full-blown eating disorder. Jenni is an Eating Recovery Center National Advocate and Chair of the Ambassadors Council of the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), Advisor to NEDA’s Certified Speakers Program and recipient of their Westin Family Award for Excellence in Advocacy and Activism, as well as a member of the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals and of the Academy of Eating Disorders. (June 29, 2017)
E55 – Harlan Pease is an educator, a songwriter and a Musician on Call. He teaches literature and composition at Nashville State Community College and in the Tennessee State prison system – at the Turney Center Industrial Complex. He’s no nonsense and the bar he sets doesn’t change for his students “on the outside” vs. those within the prison walls. He expects his every student to rise to the occasion. (July 6, 2017)
E56 – Susan Ruth is the host of Hey Human podcast. She’s also a professional songwriter, a painter and collector of word piles. In celebration of the one year anniversary for Hey Human, Susan’s bestie, Ellen Sevier, turns the conversation to Susan. (July 13, 2017)
E57 – Lori Hudspeth is a fire walker, Shaman, hypnotherapist, intuitive life consultant and minister. Her little piggies have walked over 1400 degree coals and she teaches other humans how to do the same! In the immortal words of Paris Hilton: “That’s hot!” (July 20, 2017)
E58 – Dan Hodges is a retired FBI BAU profiler, hostage negotiator and counterintelligence officer. He currently is a private investigator. Dan shares stories from his files – discussing serial killers, spies and bank robbers. (July 27, 2017)
E59 – Kate O’Neill is a “tech humanist;” a consultant, author and speaker. She is founder and CEO of KO Insights and has been profiled and quoted in CNN Money, TIME, Forbes, USA Today, Men’s Journal, the BBC, etc. Her latest book, Pixels and Place: Connecting Human Experience Across Physical and Digital Spaces launched in September 2016. (August 3, 2017)
E60 – His entire life, A.J. Croce has heard the comparisons to his famous father, whom he lost to a plane crash when A.J. was two. He found his own voice from the start of his career, however, and has since released nine albums and has charted 17 Top 20 singles in Top 40, Americana, Independent, Blues, and Jazz. According to Willie Nelson, “A.J. Croce has wisdom beyond his years. With his music, he represents his generation with a profound sense of honesty in his lyrics and quality in his delivery. The future of entertainment is safe in his hands!” A.J.’s new album, Just Like Medicine, produced by legendary soul singer-songwriter and producer Dan Penn, releases August 11, 2017, on Compass Records. (August 10, 2017)
E61 – Ahmed Evans is a deep sea commercial diver/salvager. He’s gone to great depths working on various machines and has recovered all-but-lost items from sunken military vessels, boats, planes and cruise ships. He’s encountered all sorts of fantastic sea life and had a scare or two! (August 17, 2017)
E62 – Cecelia Garmer is a former nun of the Dominican sisterhood. She shares the events from her childhood that shaped her destiny and her ultimate decision to leave the cloistered life for the “real” world. (August 24, 2017)
More Humans From Then To Now
Cool inventions from Thailand include: The Polyethylene Prosthetic Leg, invented by Thai orthopedic surgeon Dr. Therdchai Jivacate. He also invented other prosthetic limbs.
Love the Red Bull (best selling) energy drink? It was invented by Chaleo Yoovidhya and sold in Thailand before becoming the world wide sensation it is today. It was called “Krating Daeng” in Thailand – daeng means the color red and krating means a large bovine called “gaur.”
In 1736 Benjamin Franklin established the Union Fire Company in Philadelphia. America’s first fire station!
Molly Williams was the first woman firefighter. She was a slave in New York City and became a member of Oceanus Engine Company #11 in about 1815.
George Washington Bright was the first African American firefighter. He was appointed by the Fire Commission as a call man and assigned to Engine Co. No. 6. On November 1st of 1897. That same year, he was promoted to a full-time hose man and assigned to Engine Co. No. 3. On January 31, 1900, Bright was promoted to Driver Third Class and assigned to Chemical Engine Co. No. 1.
Awesome woman Lynn Conway (born January 2, 1938) is notable for a number of pioneering achievements, including the Mead & Conway revolution in VLSI design, which incubated an emerging electronic design automation industry. She worked at IBM in the 1960s and is credited with the invention of generalised dynamic instruction handling, a key advance used in out-of-order execution, used by most modern computers to improve performance. She was born a man.
Martine Rothblatt was a lawyer (formerly named Martin Rothblatt) and an expert in the law of outer space (how cool is that?!). He quit his job at a prominent law firm in 1983 to launch car-navigation system Geostar, and in 1990 he founded satellite radio company Sirius.
Rothblatt began the transformation process to become a woman in the early 1990s, after fathering four children. She writes that: “There are five billion people in the world and five billion unique sexual identities…Genitals are as irrelevant to one’s role in society as skin tone. Hence, the legal division of people into males and females is as wrong as the legal division of people into black and white races.” Rothblatt also created a foundation to find a cure for primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), a rare, fatal disease her son was diagnosed with in 1991.
Nana Oforiatta Ayim is a Ghanaian writer, art historian and filmmaker and is the founder and director of the cultural research organization, ANO in Ghana. She writes extensively on contemporary African arts and creates numerous research and exhibition projects internationally. She is the recipient of the Film and Technology Award from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the 2016 AIR Award winner (AIR seeks to “honor and celebrate extraordinary African artist who are committed to producing provocative, innovative and socially engaging work.”
Bright Simons is a Ghanaian social innovator, entrepreneur, writer and researcher. His work has included exposing makers and distributors of counterfeit medicines. He also created a software program called Goldkeys that enables the verification of certain products.
Yukio Shige is a retired police officer from Tojino, Japan. He spends his retirement time patrolling the towering seaside cliffs, famous for not only their beauty, but their draw to the suicidal. Some 25 people had come to the cliffs each year to end their lives. But the rate in recent years has declined (14 in 2013) thanks to Shige. He says of himself; “I’m the chotto matte man.” “Chotto matte” means, “Hold on, wait.” Thanks, Shige Yukio, for being the Light in some very dark hours.
In 1954, Fred Myers, Helen Jones, Larry Andrews and Marcia Glaser founded the National Humane Society.
William J. Burns was such an impressive private investigator, no other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle called Mr. Burns “America’s Sherlock Holmes.” He was the son of an Irish Immigrant in Columbus, Ohio and the one-time director of the Bureau of Investigation. He ran the William J. Burns International Detective Agency and took the lead in investigating some of the most infamous crimes of the early 20th century.
In 1833, Eugène François Vidocq, founded the first known private detective agency (Le bureau des reassignments), in France.
Allan Pinkerton founded the first U.S. agency (Pinkerton National Detective Agency) in 1850. He first rose to fame in 1861 by foiling a plot to assassinate then President-elect Abraham Lincoln.
Ho Chi Minh was a Vietnamese Communist revolutionary leader who was prime minister and president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. He led the Viet Minh independence movement from 1941 onward.
J. William Fulbright was a US Senator representing Arkansas from January 1945 through December 1974. He was a Southern Democrat and served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Fulbright Fellowship program a program of competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists.
In 1905, Jessie Williams started a brothel out of her home. During the Great Depression, she would charge “one chicken for one screw” and her brothel earned the moniker Chicken Ranch from that point onward. It is believed to be the oldest, continually running brothel in the United States.
Xaviera Hollander is a former escort, madam and author. She is known for her best-selling memoir The Happy Hooker: My Own Story. In 1968, she resigned from her job as a secretary of the Dutch consulate in Manhattan to become an escort, where she made $1,000 per night.
Alice Stebbins Wells was the first police woman to serve in the United States, due to a law passed in 1891 requiring woman to be in command of female prisoners. She was not entitled to carry a gun, unlike male officers.
Angie Dickinson played Sergeant “Pepper” Anderson, an undercover cop in the hit tv show Police Woman which aired from 1974 – 1978. Dickinson won a Golden Globe and three Emmy nominations for the role.
Clara Barton was a pioneering nurse who founded the American Red Cross. At a time when few women worked outside the home, Barton was doing humanitarian work, operating free schools and nursing the sick.
What do Wyclef Jean, M.I.A, Freddie Mercury, Albert Einstein, The Dalai Lama, and Alek Wek all have in common? They are all refugees from their birth countries. Wyclef Jean – US from Haiti. M.I.A. – London from Sri Lanka (her family was displaced during a civil war). Freddie Mercury – England from East Africa (Freddie’s birth name is Farrokh Bulsara) where his family fled the Zanzibar revolution during which Arab and Indian residents were being massacred. Albert Einstein became an American citizen after fleeing Nazi Germany. The Dalai Lama was forced to flee India as a refugee during the Tibetan uprising in 1959. Alek Wek settled in Britain as a refugee from the violent Sudanese civil war in 1991.
The quote on the Statue of Liberty reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” – Emma Lazarus
At a gathering hosted by Ben Franklin, a pamphlet was read calling for the construction of a “House of Repentance.” It theorized that solitude in such a room would sooth criminal minds. It was believed this solitary confinement would be an “enlightened alternative” to inhumane public punishments like the gallows, whipping post and the stocks.
That same living room of Benjamin Franklin also birthed the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons which led to the creation of Eastern State Penitentiary, considered to be one of the first modern prisons.
Actors Danny Trejo, Robert Downey Jr. and Christian Slater have all spent time in prison for various crimes from drugs, drug trafficking, assault and robbery.
Jean Baptiste Point du Sable was the founder of Chicago (now the third most populated city in the United States). He was born in Saint-Dominigue, the modern day Haiti.
Louis Henry Sullivan was an American architect and is considered to be the “father of skyscrapers” and “father of modernism” as well as the creator of the modern skyscraper. He was a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright.
The first known human-powered vehicle (with two wheels), and the forerunner to the bicycle, was called a Dandy Horse. It was invented by Baron Karl Drais in Mannheim, Germany and patented in February 1818.
Dr. Allen Utke, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Wisconsin State University was the first director of MUFON.
In 1947, Kenneth Arnold (an American business man and pilot) claimed he’d seen nine saucer-like objects flying in formation near Mount Rainier in Washington State.
In 1973, Jimmy Carter (yes, that one) filed an official report that four years earlier he had seen a strange white light in the night sky. He claimed it changed from white to blue, to red and back to white.
A night guard at the Yeni Kent Compound in Turkey claimed to have seen and videotaped many UFO sightings over a period of four months. His sightings were backed up by other witnesses, spurring the Sirius UFO Space Science Research Center to say that the videos were the “most important images of a UFO ever filmed”.
“I’ve changed my position in the last two or three years…to suggest that the evidence is strong enough that we really need to have serious open discussion and release of information that it is quite clear the government and other governments do hold…There is too much smoke here not to be fire…” – Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 lunar module pilot
One of the original Mercury Astronauts, Major Gordon Cooper, was the last American to fly in space alone. On May 15, 1963, during a final orbit for his 22 orbit mission around the world, he reported to the tracking station at Muchea (near Perth) that he could see a glowing, greenish object ahead of him quickly approaching his capsule. It was picked up by Muchea’s radar. The sighting was reported by NBC, which was covering the flight. But when Cooper landed, reporters were told they weren’t allowed to question him about the UFO. Major Cooper later (much later) reported: “For many years I have lived with a secret, in a secrecy imposed on all specialists in astronautics. I can now reveal that every day, in the USA, our radar instruments capture objects of form and composition unknown to us. And there are thousands of witness reports and a quantity of documents to prove this, but nobody wants to make them public. Why? Because authority is afraid that people may think of God knows what kind of horrible invaders. So the password still is: We have to avoid panic by all means.”
Gary Trudeau is the Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist of Doonesbury (a brilliant panel style cartoon). He is syndicated to 1,000 daily and Sunday newspapers worldwide and is in collections in books that have sold millions of copies. He is a true genius in the genre of Satire.
One of the first known creators of what was to become “modern” comics was William Hogarth (1697-1764). He created seven sets of images (sequential) of “Modern Moral Subjects”. His works, A Rake’s Progress, was created on several canvases, reproduced as a print, and the prints together created a storyline.
I’m a huge fan of The New Yorker cartoons. The New Yorker debuted on February 21, 1925. It was founded by Harold Ross and his wife, Jane Grant.
Jules Vern (Feb. 8, 1828 – March 24, 1905) was a French novelist, poet and playwright best known for his adventure novels (like Ten Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth). He had a profound influence on and is considered a father of the literary genre of Science Fiction!
The Hugo Awards are a set of awards given each year for the best science fiction of fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. Some kick butt women Hugo Award winners include: Ursula K. Le Guin, Kate Wilhelm, Vonda McIntyre and of course J.K. Rowling!
Legendary mastering engineer Herb Powers, Jr. has mastered over 100 #1 albums and singles. He has mastered music for artists like Mariah Carey, LL Cool J, Justin Timberlake, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Bob Marley.
Alexander Graham Bell patented the first electric loudspeaker as part of the telephone (also his invention) in 1876. The following year an improved version was created by Ernst Siemens.
In the 1980s. American neurologist and author Richard E. Cytowic rekindled interest in studying synesthesia (a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to an automatic, involuntary experience of a second pathway…like hearing sound as visual color). He published a pioneering text, Synesthesia: A Union of the Senses and this was followed by a popular expiation of the subject in 1993, The Man Who Tasted Shapes.
Bob Ludwig is considered one of the greatest mastering engineers of all time. He has mastered recordings on all of the major recording formats for every major record label and has mastered projects for over 1,300 artists including Led Zeppelin, Queen, Dire Straits, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Ocean, Bryan Ferry, Bruce Springsteen and many more. He has over 3000 credits to his name and career.
Roger Miller was an American singer, songwriter, musician and actor. His most recognized songs include, “King of the Road,” “Dang Me” and “England Swings” from the 60’s Nashville sound era.
One of the most famous dogs of all time is Lassie. She is a fictional email Rough Collie dog character created by Eric Knight in a short story that would later become a novel called Lassie Come Home.
Another famous dog, Rin Tin Tin was a male German Shepherd that was an international movie star. He was rescued from a WW1 battlefield by an American soldier, Lee Duncan. Duncan train Rin Tin Tin and thus, a furry star was born!
Gilda Radner was an American comedian, actress and author. She was one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live. She specialized in broad and obnoxious parodies of tv stereotypes such as advice gurus and news anchors. She died of ovarian cancer in 1989. She is one of my personal heroes. Her comedic genius was bar none.
In 1896, Emil Grubbé, a student doctor in Chicago, was the first person to use radiation as a cancer treatment.
Some of the art world’s most intriguing abstract artists include: Wassily Kandinsky, Joan Miro, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and of course, Pablo Picasso.
Carl Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist and is the father of analytical psychology. The central concept of his work is Individuation – the process of integrating the opposites, including the conscious and unconscious, while maintaining their relative autonomy. Jung created concepts such as Jungian archetypes, the collective unconscious, the psychological complex and the concepts of introversion and extraversion.
In 1958, physicist William Higinbotham created the first video game. It was similar to the 70s classic game Pong.
The fantasy role-playing board game, Dungeons & Dragons was designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneso in 1974.
Mother Teresa allegedly underwent an exorcism late in life under the direction of the Archbishop of Calcutta, Henry D’Souza, after he noticed she seemed agitated in her sleep. He feared she was “under the attack of the evil one.”
Perhaps the most famous modern day Drag Queen is RuPaul. Born RuPaul Andre Charles, RuPaul is an actor (who performs in both male and female roles), model, author, talk show personality, activist, recording artist and, of course, drag queen. RuPaul has stated that he is comfortable with both male and female pronoun. RuPaul has been awarded the Vito Russo Award for work in promoting equality in the LGBT community. Famously, RuPaul said, “I do not impersonate females! How many women do you know who ward seven-inch heels, four-foot wigs and skintight dresses?”
There is a misconception that being a drag queen is an automatic sign that a man is gay. Not true, in fact, Timothy Thomas (drag queen Anita Goodmann) is a successful, straight drag queen.
It wasn’t until the 1660s that women were allowed to appear in theatre, so the tradition of men playing women goes waaaay back. In Shakespeare‘s plays, men played the queens and boys played the young women. Also, cross-dressing was a common theme in his plays.
Victor/Victoria is a fantastic film (1982) starring Julie Andrews and James Garner and directed by Blake Edwards. In it, Andrews plays Victoria Grant/Count Victor Grazinski – a woman, pretending to be a man, pretending to be a woman.
The Culinary Institute of America is the premier culinary college in the United States (and a top in the world). It was founded in 1946 by Frances Roth and Katharine Angell (then called New Haven Restaurant Institute).
One of the most famous chefs of all time was Julia Child. But her French food isn’t the only thing that made this 6′ beauty super cool! She also helped invent shark repellent, to keep the sharks away from underwater explosives during WWII. She was a late bloomer who didn’t realize she wanted to be a chef until she was 36. In 1993, Child became the first women inducted into the Culinary Institute Hall of Fame.
The city of New York has many iconic clubs (some of which are no longer) but maybe none as iconic to music as the famed The Bitter End. It opened its doors in 1961 under the ownership of Fred Weintraub.
Chely Wright is a country music singer and gay rights activist. Her 1994 debut album was a smash, and the Academy of Country Music named her the Top New Female Vocalist in 1995. Her first Top 40 country hit was “Shut Up and Drive.” Wright has release seven studio albums and has charted more than fifteen singles on the country charts!
In 1775, during the American Revolution, Congress passed a resolution that “two Battalions of Marines be raised” for service to the Continental Navy. The draft was written by future president John Adams and adopted in Philadelphia. On Nov. 10th the Continental Marines were born.
The first Marine landing was under Captain Samuel Nicholas in the Bahamas (capturing it from the British) in March 1776. He was the first commissioned officer in the newly created Continental Marines.
The second recorded survivor of a simultaneous triple amputation was J. McKnight. He lost his limbs in a railway accident in 1865.
Saint Augustine was founded 451 years ago by a Spanish admiral named Pedro Menéndez de Avilés (Florida’s first governor). He named the settlement “San Agustin,” as his ships from Spain had first sighted the Florida land on the feast day of St. Augustine (August 28th).
Zelma R. Long is an American enologist and vintner. She is one of the female pioneers of wine production in California. She founded and was first president of the American Vineyard Foundation.
John Adlum was a pioneering American grape grower and is considered the “father of American viticulture”
The fantastic wine novel Sideways was written by Rex Pickett. The screenplay, written by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, was a huge hit and won an Academy Award for Best Adaptive Screenplay.
KEXP (90.3 FM) is a public radio station in Seattle, Washington, specializing in alternative and indie rock programmed by it’s DJs. It’s owned by “Friends of KEXP,” an independent 501c organization.
American singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) has an astonishing musical legacy. He wrote hundreds of political, traditional, children’s, ballads and folk songs in his career. His best known song is “This Land Is Your Land” and he’s inspired such great songwriters as Springsteen, Dylan, Seeger, Mellencamp, Garcia, Jeff Tweedy and others. Many of his songs are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression.
Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877) was a general on the Confederate side of the Civil War. After the war he worked as a planter and railroad president an was the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (a nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation) was founded in 1971 by Morris Dees and Joseph J. Levin Jr. The SPLC is noted for victories against white supremacist groups and other extremist organizations.
John Robert Lewis is an American congressman and civil rights leader. He was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and was one of the “Big Six” leaders who organized the 1963 March on Washington. He played many key roles in the Civil Rights Movement and its actions to end legalized racial segregation in the United States.
Edison Uno was a Japanese American civil rights advocate, best known for his stance against laws used to carry out the mass detention of Japanese Americans during World War II. He was born in Los Angeles, California in 1929 and in 1942, he and his family were interned at the Granada War Relocation Center in Colorado. No long after that, he was sent to the Crystal City Internment Camp in Texas, where he remained for the duration of World War II.
Ibn Al-Haytham (965 – 1040) was an Arab astronomer and mathematician known for his extraordinary contributions to the principles of optics and the use of scientific experiments.
Ibn Khaldun (1332 – 1406) was an Arab historiographer and historian who developed one of the earliest nonreligious philosophies of history. He’s considered one of the forerunners of modern historiography, sociology and economics.