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Rules Of Life

After playing football for four years at the University of Miami, Dwayne Johnson was passed over by the NFL. While he played for the Canadian Football League for a short time, he was ultimately cut from his team, the Calgary Stampeders, and sent packing. At 23, Dwayne found himself living in his parents’ small apartment, battling depression. Heavy stuff for anyone, and we can all learn from his fight.

Kids Help Phone, a leading Canadian charity dedicated to the emotional health and well-being of young people, announced singer and song-writer as its National Celebrity Ambassador today.

Kids Help Phone is a charity that provides counselling and referrals in both official languages as the only national helpline for young people. Since 1989, Kids Help Phone has offered kids and teens hope and support through its confidential and anonymous service. As an organization that speaks with young people every day, Kids Help Phone works to share their perspectives and improve their emotional health and well-being. Kids Help Phone raises the majority of its revenue from individuals, foundations, corporations, and community fundraising.

Yanofsky, a multi-platinum, Universal Music Canada recording artist is an accomplished philanthropist, having helped raise over $10 million for local, national and international charities. She received the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award from the Quebec Chapter of The Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2008 for her efforts.

“As an artist, Ms. Yanofsky represents integrity and realness — writing and performing inspiring and positive songs that appeal to a broad audience, and setting an example for young people through her remarkable achievements, both on and off the stage,” saidSharon Wood, President & CEO, Kids Help Phone.  “Throughout her career, Ms. Yanofsky has been a passionate advocate for children and youth, and has bravely spoken about her own experiences of being bullied. As a result, she has sent a strong message to young people, letting them know they are not alone and that their voices matter.”

In her role as National Celebrity Ambassador (a volunteer role), Nikki will lend her voice to a number of Kids Help Phone campaigns and initiatives throughout the year, including National Bullying Awareness Week which began yesterday.

“I am beyond happy to announce that I am the new National ambassador for Kids Help Phone. I want to make sure that every single kid and teen in a difficult situation knows that they have someone to talk to and someone who cares wherever and most importantly, whenever,” said Yanofsky.

From her auspicious start as the youngest headliner in the history of the Montreal International Jazz Festival at 12, Yanofsky has covered plenty of territory over the last eight years. She has topped both jazz and pop charts, performed with orchestras and big bands, and sold out festivals and major theatres around the world; in 2010, she sang to 3.2 billion people – half the world’s population – at the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games. She has worked with luminaries such as Herbie Hancock, Phil Ramone, Will.i.am, Wyclef Jean, and Stevie Wonder.

In 2014, Nikki had her highest album debut with her sophomore release Little Secret, entering the Canadian Album Chart at #4, #4 inFrance Digital Sales and #1 on the Jazz chart in both countries. Executive produced by legend Quincy Jones, Little Secret was Juno nominated for Pop Album of the Year and received Gold certification in Canada.

Nikki is currently working on her new album with new music to be released in 2016.

What advice about acting would you give your younger self?

MICHAEL CAINE: No matter how bad it gets, you’re going to get there. Nine years in little theater, and I thought I was never going to make it to the West End. And then an American director called Cy Endfield cast me as an officer in Zulu, which was the start of my movie career. No English director, even if he was a left-wing communist, would have cast me as an officer.
SAMUEL L. JACKSON: I was a kid sitting in the movie theater watching that movie, going, “That dude, he’s f—in’ mean! There’s only eight of those dudes [soldiers], and there’s like 8 million Zulus out there, and they won the fight.” I would tell myself it’s not a normal job. I thought this was like every other job — you start in the mailroom and then you get higher and higher. So I thought, “OK, I’m doing theater, and eventually I’ll get a commercial, and then I’ll become a movie star.” I thought that was the progression. I had no clue. And after 25 years, I finally figured out that it works a whole ’nother way. But I fell in love with the theater, which was the really wonderful thing. My love for audiences, and performing in front of people live, gave me a deal of satisfaction that I don’t get when I do this movie. That’s a very different thing.
MARK RUFFALO: I started in the tiny 30-seat theaters here in Los Angeles, of all places.
CAINE: In those little dressing rooms, when you’re starting, there’s no toilet, and when you get nervous, you want to pee. So the first thing you learn to do as an actor is learn to pee in the sink. (Laughter.)
BENICIO DEL TORO: That’s where he comes from.
WILL SMITH: It was tough for me ’cause I have to poop before. … (Laughter.) It’s probably an American/British thing. We learn to poop in the sink.
CAINE: The first time I went onstage, there was a bucket there. I said, “What’s that bucket for?” They said, “Well, in case you want to throw up.” And a couple of times, I did. I threw up in the bucket, I was so nervous.

Via The Hollywood Reporter

The mainstream of anything is essentially commercial and it’s going to offer what sells, or what could be marketed to someone else’s benefit. I mean, there are people who feel that protest is inappropriate no matter what, just because it’s not the place of musicians to do that sort of stuff. There are people who genuinely hold that point of view. I don’t, but there are those who do. And some of those people live in places where if you stick your head up out of the sand, someone chops it off. So, they can be forgiven for thinking that way. But some of them don’t live in places like that and they just make a choice, and everybody’s allowed to choose how they’re going to live.

But I think there’s a lot of stuff going on. At the grassroots level there’s all kinds of protest [movements] and all kinds of interest in issues, certainly among musicians and I guess in the rest of the population — but it doesn’t get the media coverage unless Bono does it, or somebody very high profile. But the cumulative effect has weight, I think, over time. It remains messy, everywhere you look.

An individual song isn’t going to change the world, but a whole bunch of people singing about an issue and encouraging people to feel the truth of an issue might result in some sort of demographic of resistance that would then affect the choices that the politicians make. And I think that’s what we hope for. That’s what the Occupy movement almost was, and to some extent actually was — the bankers got around that stuff, but it was a close one and it made a lot of people pay attention, and it was also the result of a lot of people who were paying attention, who were being affected by things or were empathizing with those who were. It’s the empathy — I guess that’s what songs can do, and what musicians can do. But I think a song is stronger if it comes from your own experience than if you write about theory, and that’s true of the stuff you see on the media.

Yes, you can go online and you can watch ISIS cut people’s heads off, and it’s outrageous and horrifying — but it’s not the same as being there, by a long shot, and it’s not the same as knowing the people who are involved by a long shot. You could meet those ISIS guys that turn out to be really nice, you could hang with them and talk about God and stuff and they’ll be great, chances are. But then they go and do that — it’s a very complicated thing. But if you’re going to be an artist writing about stuff like that you kind of have to know what it is. There’s probably a million exceptions to what I’m about to say, but I don’t think you can really produce art that’s just about stuff you’ve seen on TV. I think you kind of have to have a feel for it.

Bruce Cockburn, The Newfoundland & Labrador Independent

Jake Bailey, a student in New Zealand just gave a graduation speech, and it devastated the entire room, and online world.

While in thethe process of drafting his graduation speech, doctors told Jake that he had an aggressive form of cancer that would kill him in three weeks if he didn’t start treatment immediately. Suddenly, a future of unlimited possibility turned into what could be a short future for him.

But Jake was determined to speak to his class, and teach us lessons in life. You can watch the brave student’s entire speech in the video below. And go hug someone today.

Via Viral Nova

“I said, ‘Elvis, I’m going to ask you one thing before we part company here. If you die, do you think you’d go to heaven or hell?’ And he got real red in the face, and then he got real white in the face, and he said, ‘Jerry Lee, don’t you ever say that to me agin.’ I said, ‘Well, I won’t even say it to you again.’ Hahahaha!…He was very frightened.”

…I was always worried whether I was going to heaven or hell. I still am. I worry about it before I go to bed; it’s a very serious situation. I mean you worry, when you breathe your last breath, where are you going to go?” – Jerry Lee Lewis, in The Guardian (irony)

It’s interesting how much thought goes into being effective activists. Because there is definitely a right and wrong way to do it.
We love writing and playing music, but it wouldn’t be as poignant to us if we didn’t have this other stuff going on. It’s energizing to work on some kind of fundraising campaign for a school for refugee kids at the same time that we’re working on a new record. It gives us more of a purpose. It’s like, “If this record does really well, we can do a bigger ‘Honor the Earth’ tour.” That’s how both of our minds work, so we’re lucky in that way. It makes it fun to connect our strategy for our music with our strategy for our activism.

Is there a key to doing it without sounding preachy?
I don’t know, sometimes we do sound preachy, and it’s just because we’re enthusiastic and we get carried away. Something else I’ve learned along the way is that things are not black and white. For instance, if you’re working on the environmental impacts of coal mining, you need to be thinking about the jobs that are in that community from coal mining, and what it means to those people to have a job. You try to talk about things in a way that is in the interest of the people in the community and not just in the interest of your self-righteous principles. It’s really important to let people in that community talk. So if we were working on an issue around buffalo and cattle farmers out in Yellowstone, we’d work with some ranchers who were pro-buffalo to talk about the issues to other ranchers, because it’s ridiculous for us to go in there as southeastern white people who know nothing about ranching. It’s not effective, either. It’s like the hippies invading a conservative town. You have to have empathy for the other side of the equation. There are a lot of gray areas, and you really need to respect the other side no matter how self-righteous you feel.


Toni Morrison’s commencement speech to Wellesley College might just be one of the greatest talks of all time. So many wonderful pieces of advice and wisdom, but this is my favourite. You can listen to her words below, or get the book with this, and many other speeches in Take This Advice: The Best Graduation Speeches Ever Given.

I’m sure you have been told that this is the best time of your life. It may be. But if it’s true that this is the best time of your life, if you have already lived or are now living at this age the best years, or if the next few turn out to be the best, then you have my condolences. Because you’ll want to remain here, stuck in these so-called best years, never maturing, wanting only to look, to feel and be the adolescent that whole industries are devoted to forcing you to remain.

One more flawless article of clothing, one more elaborate toy, the truly perfect diet, the harmless but necessary drug, the almost final elective surgery, the ultimate cosmetic-all designed to maintain hunger for stasis. While children are being eroticized into adults, adults are being exoticized into eternal juvenilia. I know that happiness has been the real, if covert, target of your labors here, your choices of companions, of the profession that you will enter. You deserve it and I want you to gain it, everybody should. But if that’s all you have on your mind, then you do have my sympathy, and if these are indeed the best years of your life, you do have my condolences because there is nothing, believe me, more satisfying, more gratifying than true adulthood. The adulthood that is the span of life before you. The process of becoming one is not inevitable. Its achievement is a difficult beauty, an intensely hard won glory, which commercial forces and cultural vapidity should not be permitted to deprive you of.