The Showstoppers

“A leader without followers
is simply a guy taking a walk.”
– The Economist



The Showstoppers


I had not watched the Grammys for years. Not in a toothless boycott or any such nonsense like that. It was simply due to early on, The Neighborhood had made the decision that we would support the underground, truly believing we could produce our own star. Why I tuned in this year, was not for anything profound – or perhaps it was – the President, the lies, the protests, and lack of cohesion had begun to take its toll. All I wanted to do was get away from the Trump tweets and the constant outrage for one night only, so I turned to the entertainers, but somehow they forgot the golden rule.  Donald Glover

It is unconscionable to have a platform and not put it before our own interest. But there is a fine line that should also be respected  As performers, sometimes the greatest contribution we can give is to entertain. I enjoyed every moment of the 3 1/2 live broadcast of the Grammys, but with seemingly every cause claiming the stage, I felt bad for my fellow music lovers, who disagreed with the politics (but now that is over).  But for a few moments, Donald Glover as Childish Gambino no more, allowed us to fall deeply inside the music, by turning Madison Square Garden into an inferno, thus delivering the show stopping moment.

Childish Gambino w/ Terrified


by Kendall F. Person

No gaffe or slight, that the Mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico – the Honorable Carmen Yulin Cruz – is the only woman to appear. With so many men falling from grace, either deservedly so or by misunderstanding, I thought the good guys should be celebrated all on the same stage.

Year of the Woman
Mayor Carmen Yulin CruzFor many Americans, there is no need to imagine. Natural disasters have visited across the land so often, it seems like a plague. But imagine death and destruction all around, and days have passed and your country – the richest on earth – has forgotten all about you. Now imagine you were in charged of a city in peril. Sleeping on a cot, no fresh water to drink, so death begins to mount. Most would crack than break. Say what you will about Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, but days after Maria brought hell to San Juan, everytime we saw her, she was leading them back from the brink, while fending off attacks from Presidential tweets.


Jeff SessionsI understand if you think that No. 2 Jeff Sessions is hard to swallow. The laws he is implementing may be more than draconian and his past views on race are documented. But with so many politicians  bowing down like Devin Nunes or eating whatever is served like Paul Ryan, it is some saving grace that the U.S. Attorney General follows the rule of law (whatever it may be). Even as his boss bullies him, so far he is airtight, while others run for dear life.


In 1982, the United States of America crowned Palo Alto High the first National Champion of The Academic Decathlon. It has never really been a seesaw battle, as only a handful of schools have ever scored the highest and been crowned the absolute brightest. In fact, in the past 10 years, only three schools have touched the holy grail. It begins on the local level, county by county where each High School (in theory) fields a team of 6 (2-A students, 2-B students and 2-C students). Preparation is grueling and last for months and is considered one of the most coveted titles in academia. With pressure on the young, it can certainly lead to unexpected breakdowns, but is known for delivering the show stopping moments.

1984 Academic DecathlonIn 1984, my alma mater fielded its one and only squad in 36 years. Only 2 days before a true blue civics teacher by the name of Mr. Fallon, scurried around our campus – star-studded if you played football – and cobbled together a ragtag army, allowing us to discover, that we had intellectuals too.

Sacramento’s Grant High – nationally recognized as a Football power – without any preparation whatsoever, the 1984 team walked out of the moment as winners of an unexpected seven medals. It also produced one gold, which was not only my show stopping moment, but it stands as the lone gold medal from my alma mater in 36 years (I say with equal parts pride and chagrin).

While I have resigned as a volunteer judge in a boycott that neither the Principle nor Director even voiced a “Why?” And maybe it is a fool’s dream, but if any student or parent or teacher or alumni can hear me from Grant High, demand they field a team. It matters that our young intellectuals know who they are, for they are even on the football team.



10 Items Or Less (improvised scene)

Producer John LehrSo much is made about how genius is accomplished within the arts & sciences. But until we actually meet a master of their craft, their speeches at award shows or carefully crafted interviews, seems more dramatic than real. Enter improvisational comedian John Lehr whose approachable demeanor allowed for a personal connection in The Neighborhood. TAG VOL II An Anthology ED. VI ‘You Mean I’m in Charge?’ added depth and star power to a randomly popular, but still underground blog, giving a Hollywood director and actor a show stopping moment.




Community Leadership

Councilmember Allen Warren

Sacramento Councilmember Allen Wayne Warren

Volunteerism in all of its forms – philanthropy included – I once believed was the most giving thing a person could do in support of their community, closely followed by teaching and earning the right to become an elected official. But time strips the gloss off of everything, forcing a discovery of what is inside. Debunked nonprofits, extreme partisanship and unprepared mentors have not by any means disgraced their industries, but rather it has revealed Leadership as more important than any title ever could be. Leaders inspire, not provoke. Leaders motivate through their actions not jibes and leaders teach us we can win, through the showstopping moments of their lives.

Thank you Allen for your leadership.

— this is… The Neighborhood 

Next Edition….

Jay Z
Warren Buffett
Doug Jones
Charles Barkley

By Feb 4th, choose a flag or become an interloper
The Strawman and The Crow


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