Politics and News

Rolling Stone Magazine Loses Its Way

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Let me preface this piece by saying I actually like Rolling Stone Magazine. I have a subscription/free trial from the numerous concert tickets I buy from Ticketmaster/LiveNation, but obviously to stay relevant in an industry where print media is fading away, their decision for a cover photo shows how they’ve gone astray.

In America, we accept the fact that there is a freedom of choice, and a music news and entertainment magazine has the right to post whatever cover photo they want, however, when dealing with sensitive issues, like alleged terrorist or murderers, where they can cross the line is glorifying or feeding the flames to make a person into a “Rock Star”, and use a few lines of text to shed a empathetic light on the wrong person.

I understand the fact that people are fascinated by criminals and I was one of the millions glued to my TV, as we were terrorized in neighboring towns, during this whole terrible event. We have this instinctual belief that everyone is born good, so when people stray so far off the path and do something so reprehensible, we want to know why?

Where things get out of control, is when the media sensationalizes these characters and in this case will hype up an idiotic movement, mostly by teenage girls, who thought this adult male, was too good looking to commit such a horrible crime. It takes away the responsibilty of his alleged actions and starts to make excuses for why he may have committed these crimes.

We still don’t know the full content of the article, but when you place a picture of one of the, alleged, most despicable humans on earth, with a picture and a few lines of text to imply because he had a rough childhood/family life that that justifies the decision he made to kill and maim, that is where you lose control. That is insulting to not only the victims he’s killed or maimed, but also anyone else who has struggled through childhood circumstances out of they’re control and came out on the other side to live a positive and productive life.

In conclusion, will this cover photo or story cause me to stop taking advice on new albums coming out or other stories of my favorite artists featured? Probably not. I’m just disappointed that one time, we couldn’t celebrate the lives of those affected, and not those who have destroyed them.

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Politics and News

Lowell Sun ’04: Deceased Bombing Suspect Was Amateur Boxer

I’m not even going to try to post breaking news this morning, but I did want to share archival stories shared by Lowell Sun reporter Robert Mills. A 2004 article profiled deceased bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsnarnaev. Reporter Carmine Frongillio wrote,

“Tsarnaev, 17, grew up in Grozny, Chechnya, the capital city of the Cechen Republic. Much of Grozny was destroyed during the Russia-Chechen conflict, and Tsarnaev and his family moved to the United States five months ago in hopes of starting a new life.

While learning to adapt to his new culture, Tsarnaev, a sophomore at Cambridge Rindge & Latin High School, decided to begin training at the Somerville Boxing Club.

Tsarnaev’s father, Anzor, boxed in Russia, where he won an amateur championship. He may be living in a new land, but based on his first showing in Lowell, Tsarnaev is certainly talented enough to follow in his father’s footsteps.”

Chillingly, the article quotes him: “I like the USA,” said Tsarnaev. “America has a lot of jobs. That’s something Russia doesn’t have. You have a chance to make money here if you are willing to work.”

Robert Mills shared two other Sun stories that mentioned Tsnarnaev. He participated in the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions in May 2010 and a Southern New England title bout in February 2010.

ht @Robert_Mills and @Boston_to_a_T

Getaways, Things to Do

Buffalo Athletes Host Solidarity Run

Buffalo Solidarity Run

From signs and cards, to television testimonials, to readers’ posts on social media, there has been tremendous support this week from the rest of the country for Boston and Bostonians.

I’m glad to recognize the denizens of Buffalo for that support. That city, my hometown, is known as the City of Good Neighbors, and Buffalo’s goodwill does not end with joining last night’s hockey crowd to sing the National Anthem. Buffalo runners Julia Burke and Beth Weinberg are leading the Boston Marathon Solidarity Run on Sunday in Buffalo’s Delaware Park.

Writing for Buffalo’s The Good Neighborhood, Burke said, “Runners are a compassionate bunch, and the Boston bombings shook our entire community to the core. When we’re feeling angry, or sad, or frustrated, or hurt, we all do the same thing: we run––ideally, together…We have a real opportunity to raise money for the bombing victims and the recovery effort, encourage folks to donate blood, and show Boston and the world how much we care. I’ve never been more proud to be a runner, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together on Sunday.”

Donations are accepted on behalf of the Red Cross. You and Who, a Buffalo apparel company, is printing commemorative shirts with all profits donated to The One Fund.

In November, Hurricane Sandy prevented Burke, a journalist at Buffalo Spree, a regional magazine, from running the New York City marathon. Instead, she ran a marathon in Delaware Park and was joined by over 800 supporters, Beth Weinberg among them. She raised $5000 for hurricane relief efforts.

Bostonian Habits, Quickly Around Town

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[Editor’s note: This piece originally appeared on Sea Salt, the blog of our friend Dianna Calareso. It was too apt and affecting not to share here.]

Yesterday I watched in horror as the TV screen at our office showed live footage of the explosions at the Boston Marathon. I texted my cousin, who was running, and then I just sat in disbelief. Even though I was two miles away, safe in my office, and would return safely home (thanks to a friend giving me a ride so I could avoid the trains), it felt so close. My beautiful city stained with blood. The beautiful tradition of the race forever haunted. A beautiful day marked by terror.

I went home and cried into Kevin’s arms. And then we prayed for the families of the victims, for the city of Boston, for the first responders…and for the people who would no longer stand, walk, or run on their own two legs. Like many people, I was horrified to hear stories and see graphic images of people who had lost limbs in the explosion. But I couldn’t help thinking about what would happen next for them. For those that survive their injuries, they’ll stay in the hospital to recover from shock, pain, and trauma. Then…they’ll be disabled. They’ll need prosthetics. They’ll need to learn how to walk with crutches, how to maneuver wheelchairs. They’ll need to figure out how to answer questions, how to deal with people staring, how to accept help they don’t want.

Many people in my life sent me emails and text messages to make sure Kevin and I were ok. Some asked if I had run the marathon or if I had been there watching. I wasn’t, but I could have been. Some asked if my office was nearby. It’s not, but it could have been.

Technically, what happens in a tragedy could happen to anybody. But this one chilled me to the core. What happened to those people could have happened to me for so many reasons. The office where I used to work is at the finish line on Boylston Street. For many years in a row I watched the marathon, tracking my cousin’s progress with my family. And since I ran the marathon in 2007 I’ve talked on and off about doing it again.

I’m not suggesting at all that I was really close to being hurt, or that I’ve experienced anything like what those people and families are going through. I’m simply saying it hit close to home: Copley Square, where I spent countless hours walking to and from work, getting lunch with Kevin when we first met, walking up Boylston to Fenway Park when I had tickets to a game. I know that part of Boston like the back of my hand; seeing bloodstains on that street was like seeing them on the street where I live.

As painful as it was to see Copley Square in such chaos, it was also heartbreaking to see the finish line of the marathon become a place of terror. I’m not an expert in marathons, but I know a thing or two about finish lines. They. Are. Amazing. In addition to two marathons, I’ve also completed a half-marathon, two triathlons, an 80-mile bike ride, a 60-mile walk, and many road races ranging from 3-7 miles. And every finish line was special. Sometimes because it meant the grueling race was over. Other times because it meant I’d made good on all the donations I’d collected for the race. But most of the time, the finish line was special because it meant I had done it. I was strong. Powerful. Alive. The finish line is where you throw up your hands and lift your face to the sky. Where you find your friends and families to cover them in sweaty hugs and pose for photos on shaky, tired legs. The finish line is where you become Someone Who Really Did It. And it’s where you become fully aware of every part of your body. Every part that’s sweaty, salty, tired, shaky, and sore. Nothing feels better.

I know people who are much better athletes than I am. They run the Boston marathon every year. They’ve completed multiple Ironman triathlons. They’re always in the middle of training for something. And as much as I want to be one of those people, I’ve never been able to commit that consistently to training. I decide that my legs need a break. That I need my weekends back. That I don’t want to join a gym just so I can run in the winter. That it’s enough to say I ran two marathons, which is two more than most people will ever do.

But this morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about that feeling at the finish line. I was doing my morning yoga routine, a time I usually relish for the quiet, peace, and chance to think about nothing. But today, I thought about my legs. With every downward dog, I appreciated the pull of my hamstrings as I lifted the pose higher. In half-moon I savored the ability to balance on one leg while the other stretched behind me. In exalted warrior I thanked God that I could feel the bend in my knee, the press of my toes on the mat, the flex of my ankle.

My muscles were awake, alive, and I felt connected to my body in a way I haven’t felt since my last finish line (at a triathlon in September). And while I’ve always found it easy to complain about my legs, today I find myself unable to be anything but thankful. I’ve never felt so blessed to be able to run, to stretch, to stand. My legs are strong. They’re powerful. They’re mine.

For the victims who are lying in hospital beds trying desperately to feel a limb that isn’t there, I wish greater feeling somewhere else. Heightened sensitivity to what they see, hear, or taste. Renewed passion for art, music, food, or writing. Peace through the nightmares and the phantom limbs and the anger and shame ahead of them. Forgiveness for people who will stare, ask dumb questions, and awkwardly look away. Desire and courage to pursue athletic events in racing wheelchairs or on prosthetic legs. Strength for another day.

Yesterday it could’ve been me, but it wasn’t. So tonight, I’m going for a run. And I’ll be thankful for every step.

Quickly Around Town

TUGG Fundraiser Donations Matched by Venture Firms

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You may have heard of TUGG, Technology Underwriting Greater Good, through their South End wine events or their annual Tech Gives Back day of service. TUGG is again helping the greater good of Boston following Monday’s bombing. TUGG has organized a fundraiser in which 100% of the proceeds will benefit victims of the attacks. The destination of raised funds is unclear at the moment, but TUGG has a long record of good repute.

In particular, Boston area-based Dan Primack and Katie Benner of the Term Sheet newsletter and Fortune Magazine have channeled donations from the financial community to great affect over the last 24 hours. Data Collective, Bulger Partners, and now Flybridge Capital Partners, whose offices are located on a closed portion of Boylston Street, are matching donations above $50 up to a total of $5000. Donate with the firms’ match through the Term Sheet.