Posts Tagged ‘Dalai Lama’

A neurosurgeon’s road to compassion: “They need each other – the brain and the heart.”

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

The good doctor with the Dalai Lama. (Photo: Firdaus Dhabhar)

Dr. James Doty is one of the more fascinating people I know – I’ve written about him here and here. He is the founder and director of Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE, pronounced “see care”), which is at the forefront of a growing movement to bring the tools of psychology and neuroscience to the study of empathy, compassion and altruism. His friend, the Dalai Lama, is one of its benefactors.

I visited him last week at his office to discuss his brand new book Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart, which has quickly climbed the New York Times bestseller list. It’s terrific tale – and he assures me it’s all true. The book begins with his impoverished childhood on the edge of the Mojave Desert, the son of an alcoholic father and clinically depressed and suicidal mother. He describes his struggles to go through medical school, eventually becoming a distinguished neurosurgeon. But most of all, it tells of the important lessons he learned in a magic shop in a rundown strip mall when he was twelve years old.

A video clip of my 2010 interview with him is below. And here’s an excerpt from the introduction:

There’s a certain sound the scalp makes when it’s being ripped of of a skull – like a large piece of Velcro tearing away from it’s source. The sound is loud and angry and just a little bit sad. In medical school they don’t have a class that teaches you the sounds and smells of brain surgery. They should. The drone of the heavy drill as it bores through the skull. The bone saw that fills the operating room with the smell of summer sawdust as it carves a line connecting the burr holes made from the drill. The reluctant popping sound the skull makes as it is lifted away from the dura, the thick sac that covers the brain and serves as its last line of defense against the outside world. The scissors slowly slicing through the dura. When the brain is exposed you can see it move in rhythm with every heartbeat, and sometimes it seems that you can year it moan in protest at its own nakedness and vulnerability – its secrets exposed for all to see under the harsh lights of the operating room.

magic-shopThe boy looks small in the hospital gown and is almost swallowed up by the bed as he’s waiting to enter surgery.

“My nana prayed for me. And she prayed for you too.”

I hear the boy’s mother inhale and exhale loudly at this information, and I know she’s trying to be brave for her son. For herself. Maybe even for me. I run my hand through his hair. It is brown and long and fine – still more baby than boy. He tells me he just had a birthday.

“Do you want me to explain again what’s going to happen today, Champ, or are you ready?” He likes it when I call him Champ or Buddy.

“I’m going to sleep. You’re going to take the Ugly Thing out of my head so it doesn’t hurt anymore. Then I see my mommy and nana.”

The “Ugly Thing” is a medulloblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor in children, and is located in the posterior fossa (the base of the skull). Medulloblastoma isn’t an easy word for an adult to pronounce, much less a four-year-old, no matter how precocious. Pediatric brain tumors really are ugly things, so I’m OK with the term. Medulloblastomas are misshapen and often grotesque invaders in the exquisite symmetry of the brain. They begin between the two lobes of the cerebellum and grow, ultimately compressing not only the cerebellum but also the brainstem, until finally blocking the pathways that allow the fluid in the brain to circulate. The brain is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen, and to explore its mysteries and find ways to heal it is a privilege I have never taken for granted. …

I know both Mom and Grandma are scared. I hold each of their hands in turn, trying to reassure them and offer comfort. It’s never easy. A little boy’s morning headaches have become every parent’s worst nightmare. Mom trusts me. Grandma trusts God. I trust my team.

Together we will all try to save this boy’s life.



Benefactor. (Photo: L.A. Cicero)

The surgeon assisting me is a senior resident in training and new to the team, but he is just as focused on the blood vessels, and brain tissue, and minutiae of removing this tumor as I am. We can’t think about our plans for the next day, or hospital politics, or our children, or our relationship trouble at home. It’s a form of hypervigilance, a single-pointed concentration almost like meditation. We train the mind and the mind trains the body. There’s an amazing rhythm and flow when you have a good team – everyone is in sync. Our minds and bodies work together as one coordinated intelligence.

I am removing the last piece of the tumor, which is attached to one of the major draining veins deep in the brain. The posterior fossa venous system is incredibly complex, and my assistant is suctioning fluids as I carefully resect the final remnant of the tumor. He lets his attention wander for a second, and in that second his suction tears the vein, and for the briefest moment everything stops.

Then all hell breaks loose.

The blood from the ripped vein fills the resection cavity, and blood begins to pour out of the wound of this beautiful little boy’s head. The anesthesiologist starts yelling that the child’s blood pressure is rapidly dropping and he can’t keep up with the blood loss. I need to clamp the vein and stop the bleeding, but it has retracted into a pool of blood, and I can’t see it. My suction alone can’t control the bleeding and my assistant’s hand is shaking too much to be of any help.

“He’s in full arrest!” the anesthesiologist screams. He has to scramble under the table because this little boy’s head is locked in a head frame, prone, with the back of his head opened up. The anesthesiologist starts compressing the boy’s chest while holding his other hand on his back, trying desperately to get his heart to start pumping. Fluids are being poured into the large IV lines. The heart’s first and most important job is to pump blood, and this magical pump that makes everything in the body possible has stopped. This four-year-old boy is bleeding to death on the table in front of me. As the anesthesiologist pumps on his chest, the wound continues to fill with blood. We have to stop the bleeding or he will die. The brain consumes 15 percent of the outflow of the hear and can survive only minutes after the heart stops. It needs blood and, more important, the oxygen that is in the blood. We are running out of time before the brain dies – they need each other – the brain and the heart.

(What happens? Read the rest of the story below…)


Tibet’s Tenzin Seldon and the slow “silencing of our cause.”

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Tenzin Seldon is now in Bangkok, working with the U.N.

Tenzin Seldon was Stanford’s first undergraduate from Dharmsala, the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile. The recent Ozy article that calls her the Dalai Lama’s righthand woman overstates the case (she’s met him “more than 10 times”), but I knew when I met her that she would be a powerful spokeswoman for Tibet and the decades-long “silencing of our cause.” After a stint at Oxford, the 26-year-old is now in Bangkok, working with the U.N.

I didn’t know much about her backstory, however. Like so many Tibetans, it’s a somewhat chopped-up history:

From her apartment in Bangkok, Seldon tells me about her refugee-kid days. An Indian-born child, she first attended boarding schools on the subcontinent before finding herself in the U.S. as a preteen. Here, she encountered her mother, who’d left her in India a decade earlier. Seldon says she “never quite fit in” anywhere and “always felt confused.” …

Seldon’s father — who remained in India as the minister of education — took her to vigils and protests as a 5-year-old, before she could even spell “nonviolence.” She attended a small public school in Minnesota, moved to California in high school and then headed to a local community college for two years before starting at Stanford. Seldon has “the sensibilities of the West, of America,” says Tenzin Tethong, the president of the Dalai Lama Foundation and former prime minister of Tibet.

Chinese hackers have infiltrated her computer and intercepted her emails – that’s to be expected – but they aren’t slowing her down. That’s to be expected, too:

You can find Seldon’s version of the nation in dignified protest around the world: She’s gathered 100-plus Tibetan and Chinese students to debate censorship and suppression under the moderating hand of His Holiness himself; she speaks out at multilateral delegations. She appears as the young, fresh face of Tibet in documentaries. And, of course, at the endless protests in the U.S. and the U.K., which find her quietly presiding — no megaphones or pickets here.

Seldon’s is perhaps the most high-profile political marketing job in the world, grander than the work of an average press secretary — when you don’t have a physical country with borders to protect and defend, your job becomes defining those borders. For decades, the Dalai Lama and the exiled Tibetan government’s strategy has been a kind of public evangelism for the Tibetan cause. Their success depends on world leaders acceding to their pressure. And if you’re not self-immolating, the next most important task is to present a face of peace and tranquility as an unofficial diplomat of sorts.


“Resolution, resolution!” (Photo: L.A. Cicero)

I met Tenzin during the visit of the Dalai Lama to Stanford back in 2010. She was organizing a private meeting with the Dalai Lama and Bay Area Chinese students and leaders. Here’s what I wrote then:

During his official Stanford events on Thursday, the Dalai Lama constantly stressed the importance of dialogue in resolving conflict – and he meant what he said.

At a late-afternoon private gathering at the Stanford Park Hotel, he spoke to nearly 100 Chinese university students from Stanford and Berkeley, as well as faculty, artists and a dozen Tibetan students from around the Bay Area.

Unlike his public talk at Maples Pavilion or the address to students in Memorial Church, this event was not sponsored by Stanford. The private event was organized by Tenzin Seldon, president of Stanford Friends of Tibet and the university’s first student from Dharamsala, where the spiritual leader’s government-in-exile is based. Seldon said of the Chinese students gathered in the courtyard, “These are the change-makers of the future.”

Perhaps the most moving query was by Fang Zheng, a wheelchair-bound young man who lost both his legs when he was crushed by tanks in Tiananmen Square. In a Chinese exchange that evoked applause and laughter, he asked the Tibetan leader where he anticipated meeting this year’s imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner, the writer Liu Xiaobo. Tibet’s Nobel Peace laureate answered, to more laughter, that it was hard to anticipate the future, but the likeliest spot was Beijing.

His advice to those fighting for more freedom in China showed less levity and more steel: “Resolution, resolution – persist to the end.”

Read the article about Tenzin here.

“I tricked myself to write”: Philip Glass discusses his new book on home turf

Saturday, April 18th, 2015
Philip Glass with Ira Glass at Barnes & Noble, Uniion Square, NYC. 3/6/2015

Cousins: Ira Glass interviews Philip Glass at Barnes and Noble in NYC. (Photo: Zygmunt Malinowski)


The latest word from the big city on the Atlantic, from our roving reporter/photographer Zygmunt Malinowski (he’s written for us before here and here and here and here, and lots of other places):

Philip Glass, considered to be one of the best contemporary composers, is part of the New York City fabric. He is a quintessential New Yorker who had his start in the New York downtown scene of the 1970s.

So I was pleased when I picked up a local paper for a subway ride recently, and learned he would be appearing locally, at Barnes & Noble on April 6, to discuss his new autobiography, Words Without Music. I had photographed Czeslaw Milosz for his book launch of Roadside Dog, the same sort of event at the same venue.

Philip Glass at Barnes & Noble, Uniion Square, NYC. 3/6/2015

Time for a close-up. (Photo: Zygmunt Malinowski)

Glass’s first opera, Einstein on the Beach, a collaboration with Robert Wilson, catapulted him to fame in 1976. He had honed his craft in Paris, where he was inspired by avant-garde theater and Samuel Beckett plays. He went to India in 1966, and encountered refugee Tibetans and Buddhism. Eventually, he would write the score for Martin Scorsese’s 1997 film about Dalai Lama, Kundun, using the repetitive Tibetan cymbals and horns as a motif.

At Barnes & Noble, the 78-year-old composer was accompanied by his cousin Ira Glass, who was also his interlocutor for the event, as well as the host and producer of NPR’s “This American Life.” The organizers warned me that the photo-op would be short, but I still had enough time to get a good close-up as he posed in front of bookstore’s logo. The overflow event, on the bookstore’s top floor, featured a large panel of Moby Dick graphic and Gulliver’s Travels. The green panel behind the center table blocked the large windows and view of city buildings, a photographer’s minor disappointment at a great event.

“Before age 41 I had a day job, I was moving furniture and things like that,” Glass told his cousin. “This is very common in our country, artists, dancers …have a day job … I thought I was successful. I had an ensemble, I went on tours. I was traveling in Europe and America.” However, even after the Einstein on the Beach triumph at the Metropolitan, he returned to his day job, driving a taxi. Soon afterwards he received a lucrative commission from Netherlands.

He claimed that it is still hard to write and sometimes he has to throw away what he started and start over. One of the ways he described it is that writing music is like “looking out the window at buildings on a foggy morning, and after a while you can see a [an outline of] a window.” Then he has to figure out a way to describe it in music. Rather like writing, in fact.

Nowadays, he particularly likes “offbeat music, especially music from other countries and music from 30s and 40s.” His tastes are omnivorous, he likes all music, and said that he has heard “some awful playing but young people are doing wonderful things.”

The written questions from the audience were randomly selected at the end of the session.

Q: Is it best to write music when you are heartbroken?

Glass: No. To me music is continuous like an underground flow…

Q: What music do you listen on a subway?

Glass: The other day, symphony music … that I composed. When we have a Tibet concert I listen to everybody. [Glass is the artistic director of annual Tibet House benefit concert at Carnegie Hall.]

Q: It’s hard to sell music.

Glass: The question should be who wants music [i.e., dancers and others need music.] Find someone your age…theatre needs music. One of the things that goes on today is collaborative. No one says you will make money; you do it because you love it. This is what we call vocation, from Latin word ‘vocare’ [to call, to name, to invoke]

Glass recalled that when he was young he set aside a period of time to compose. “I sat at the piano between 10:00 and 1 in the morning waiting for what would happen. I tricked myself to write. At first it was difficult and finally I wrote music to pass the time. Now I write anytime I want to. Now there is a feeling of anticipation, of satisfaction to come. Writing now has become joyful, but it was not like this when I was younger.”


Philip Glass books; Barnes & Noble; Uniion Square; NYC. 3/6/2015

In prose, not music. (Photo: Zygmunt Malinowski)



Joseph Brodsky, Shirley Jackson, and the “no-fault Holocaust”

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Literature as “moral insurance”

“As a form of moral insurance, at least, literature is much more dependable than a system of beliefs or a philosophical doctrine. Since there are no laws that can protect us from ourselves, no criminal code is capable of preventing a true crime against literature; though we can condemn the material suppression of literature – the persecution of writers, acts of censorship, the burning of books – we are powerless when it comes to its worst violation: that of not reading the books. For that crime, a person pays with his whole life; if the offender is a nation, it pays with its history.” — Joseph Brodsky, 1987 Nobel lecture

At the time, I had reservations about Joseph Brodsky‘s absolutist view of literature as “a kind of moral insurance.”  I am less ambivalent now.  I was reared … or rather, I reared myself … on the novels of Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo, and the Brontës; I suppose the great heart of the 19th century formed much of my moral and political education.

Great-hearted Hugo

As Susan Sontag said, “Reading should be an education of the heart.”  In a world where offline reading is occurring less and less, I wonder where and how such a shaping of the heart will occur.  (The graphic novel is a promising form — but, as in the case of “Borderland,” I think it is better as an appeal to pre-existing values, and lacks the nuance required for “the education of the heart.”)

Yesterday, I ran across this 1997 article, “A No-Fault Holocaust,” in U.S. News and World Report:

‘In 20 years of college teaching, Prof. Robert Simon [of Hamilton College] has never met a student who denied that the Holocaust happened. What he sees quite often, though, is worse: students who acknowledge the fact of the Holocaust but can’t bring themselves to say that killing millions of people is wrong. Simon reports that 10 to 20 percent of his students think this way. Usually they deplore what the Nazis did, but their disapproval is expressed as a matter of taste or personal preference, not moral judgment. ‘Of course I dislike the Nazis,’ one student told Simon, ‘but who is to say they are morally wrong?’

She refused punditry

The article also discusses a Chronicle of Higher Education piece by Kay Haugaard, a writer who teaches at Pasadena City College, about Shirley Jackson‘s famous 1948 story, ‘The Lottery,’ which used to be a staple of high school reading lists.  The story:  A sunny small-time American town that gathers every year to implore an unnamed force to grant a good corn harvest. Annually, the citizens draw slips of paper from a wooden box to select a victim for human sacrifice. A young mother draws the losing card, and is stoned to death by the community.

“Until recently, she says, ‘Jackson’s message about blind conformity always spoke to my students’ sense of right and wrong.’ No longer, apparently. A class discussion of human sacrifice yielded no moral comments, even under Haugaard’s persistent questioning. One male said the ritual killing in ‘The Lottery’ ‘almost seems a need.’ Asked if she believed in human sacrifice, a woman said, ‘I really don’t know. If it was a religion of long standing. . . .’ Haugaard writes: ‘I was stunned. This was the woman who wrote so passionately of saving the whales, of concern for the rain forests, of her rescue and tender care of a stray dog.’ …

“The search is on for a teachable consensus rooted in simple decency and respect. As a spur to shaping it, we might discuss a culture so morally confused that students are showing up at colleges reluctant to say anything negative about mass slaughter.”

Jackson refused to explain “the meaning” of her story, except to tell the San Francisco Chronicle a month after the story was published in the New Yorker:

Explaining just what I had hoped the story to say is very difficult. I suppose, I hoped, by setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village to shock the story’s readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives.

According to one critic, Jackson intended “a sensitive and faithful anatomy of our times, fitting symbols for our distressing world of the concentration camp and the Bomb.”  But what to do when readers are tone-deaf to “symbols” and even meaning?

Mind, Jackson’s story was written at a time when anyone’s stoning seemed unthinkable and archaic, and not part of the daily news — today?  different story.  Think of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, among others.

Undoubted courage (Photo: L.A. Cicero)

So I wonder at the popular appeal of the Dalai Lama last week, and the euphoria at his teaching, which suggests that our compassion should be motivated by the universal search for happiness, and also by the knowledge that compassion contributes to our own physical well-being — it lowers our blood pressure, releases endorphins, etc., etc., etc.  Is compassion motivated this way compassion at all — or just an extension of endless cycle of self-help routines? Is that the only common denominator left? And how will such a self-serving compassion help one when the Nazis bang on the door, looking for the Jews? Or when the NKVD asks for names during a Lubyanka interrogation?  The most immediate response — to lower one’s blood pressure, reduce one’s heartbeat — is to hand them over.

What bugs me is that the Dalai Lama — the man who faced off bloody Mao Zedong, one of the last century’s immortal genocidaires — is a man of endless courage.  He knows this stuff.  It’s a peculiar reverse case of our current malaise — he walks the walk, but why doesn’t he talk the talk?

Without a compensatory virtues of independence of mind, and, beneath that, courage — which the ancients believed is the foundation of all virtues — is there any compassion at all?

Hello Dalai! (VIDEO added)

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

The Dalai Lama has come to town. I will be covering his speech at Maples Pavilion tomorrow morning, and later in the day, “Harry’s Last Lecture” at Memorial Church.  I have already written about why he is returning to Stanford here.  (Clue:  It’s not the palm trees or the ipods.)

(Update on Oct.16:  Coverage on the articles here, here and here.  VIDEO BELOW.)

Tonight, I returned briefly to his 1990 autobiography, Freedom in Exile, in which the spiritual, the superstitious, the mythical, and the matter-of-fact are tossed in a uniquely Tibetan salad.

He recalled the summer 1950 earthquake that, to him, was an “omen from the gods, a portent of terrible things to come.” He remembered crashing “like an artillery barrage” a few days before news of the Chinese invasion.  He was 15 years old:

“Some people even reported seeing a strange red glow in the skies in the direction from which the noise came. It gradually emerged that people had experienced it not only in the vicinity of Llasa but throughout the length and breadth of Tibet …

HHDL doesn't think he told "the whole story"

Now from very early on, I have always had a great interest in science. So naturally, I wanted to find a scientific basis for this extraordinary event. When I saw Heinrich Harrer a few days later, I asked him what he thought was the explanation, not only for the earth tremors, but more importantly for the strange celestial phenomena.  He told me he was certain that the two were related. It must be a cracking of the earth’s crust caused by the upward movement of whole mountains.

To me, this sounded plausible, but unlikely.  Why would a cracking of the earth’s crust manifest itself as a glow in the night sky accompanied by thunderclaps and, furthermore, how could it be that it was witnessed over such immense distances? I did not think that Harrer’s theories told the whole story.  Even to this day I do not. Perhaps there is a scientific explanation, but my own feeling is that what happened is presently beyond science, something truly mysterious. In this case, I find it much easier to accept that what I witnessed was metaphysical.  At any rate, warning from on high or mere rumblings from below, the situation in Tibet deteriorated rapidly thereafter.”

Browsing through the book, what’s remarkable is the equanimity of tone, which blunts the edge of drama at Chinese lies and betrayal, even though he admits to being at times “scared” and “furious.”  He had to slip away to escape, in disguise, to slip the tens of thousands who had gathered to protect him from the Chinese:

HHDL and his Cambridge-educated sidekick (Photo: L.A. Cicero)

“We left Lhasa at dead of night. It was cold but very light, I remember. The stars in Tibet shine with a brightness I have not seen anywhere else in the world. It was also very still and my heart missed a beat every time one of the ponies stumbled as we made our way stealthily from the courtyard at the foot of the Potala, past the Norbulingka and Drepung monastery.  Yet I was not really afraid.”

In Nepal, in the 1970s, I remember interviewing a monk who had been one of about 2500 in one of Tibet’s monasteries.  When the Chinese attacked, they had four antiquated rifles to defend themselves.  Sipping Tibetan tea as we spoke (and sipping is all you can do unless you’ve acquired the taste for it; it has butter and salt in it), I remember his patient voice and calm smile as he told of the onslaught of the modern Chinese forces.  I also remember sophisticated Tibetan hoteliers who had been shepherds in the Tibetan mountains, alone for days with their yaks.  Tibetan practicality again.

For all of them, the story of their own exile began with the Dalai Lama’s end flight into India, never to return:

“After bidding these people a tearful farewell, I was helped on to the broad back of a dzumo [a cross between a yak and a cow — and no, I couldn’t find a photo on google], for I was still too ill to ride a horse.  And it was on this humble form of transport that I left my native land.”

If you have a romantic image of the Dalai Lama chewing on his pen, scribbling his autobiography, you should know I have it on very sound authority that the Dalai Lama does not actually write his own books.  Who is the culprit?  I suspect Jinpa Thupten, the Cambridge-educated sidekick and translator, now a member of the faculty of McGill University of Montreal.

“Dude, you have no Quran!” — Terry Jones, book reviewing, and the sin of sins

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

I didn’t have many thoughts about the Terry Jones Koran-burning stunt (or is the politically correct spelling “Quran,” nowadays?).  It seemed another of those strange boil-overs that are a regrettable byproduct in a nation that enshrines free speech.

What I didn’t understand was why a guy with — what? — maybe 20 followers gets a huge international spotlight, and a shout-out from a U.S. President, and fiery responses from national and even international leaders.  It seems to me that people like Jones should remain in the obscurity they so richly deserve.  (Surely Bibles are burned every day — why no protests there?)

Once he had become an international figure in the media, Jones responded clumsily and inadequately to his 15 minutes of fame, as one would expect. I doubt he ever met a Muslim.  In confusion, he called off the bonfire.  In any case, 18 Afghan men died in the riots that followed — real people died protesting an event that never happened.  Life gets more and more surreal.  (There’s something to be said for the burqa and female seclusion — it kept the women from the streets on that occasion.)

Then I read this in the Wall Street JournalThis, this is truly unforgiveable:

Pastor Jones, dressed in a dark suit, said at a press conference Friday that he had never read the book he intended to burn. “I have never read the Quran,” he said. His opposition to the book, he said, was rooted in his belief that it doesn’t contain the truths of the Bible.

In short, as Jacob Isom in the video above says, “Dude, you have no Quran!”

In not reading the book he condemns, Jones joins a club that includes a growing number of big-name book critics.  For example, Ana Marie Cox of the Washington Post:

I cannot claim to have completely read Going Rogue — I had to skim the last 150 pages (or more than one-third). I only got the thing into my hands late Monday afternoon with a deadline of early evening. It’s terrible, I know, but if I didn’t read it all, neither can Sarah Palin claim to have completely written it.

It's the thought that counts (Photo: L.A. Cicero)

I was speaking to a friend of the Dalai Lama’s yesterday, and he told me that the Dalai Lama hadn’t exactly penned the books under his name, either.  I wonder how many high-profile people were barely in the same room with their manuscripts before publication.  Are we now freed from having to read their books before reviewing them?  Or burning them, for that matter?  I think of all those conscientious late nights with coffee — I was determined to finish the book before I finished the review.  Am I hopelessly passé?

Nevertheless, the horror of Ms. Cox’s crime — writing a review of a book you hadn’t read — did not shame her out of appearing on MSNBC to discuss the book she hadn’t read.  No more than it kept Terry Jones from wanting to burn one.

I’ve written for the Washington Post Book World; I wonder how the editors would have reacted if I had admitted I had not read the book I was considering — and would they have published the admission?  Some reviewers get caught, of course.  A critic friend told me of a case where a music reviewer (was it for the San Francisco Chronicle?) cut out of a concert at halftime.  In reviewing the program, he didn’t realize that the program had been rearranged at the last minute, and hence he discussed pieces that were never performed.

Crime never pays.

In any case, a Facebook discussion on this topic turned up the Youtube video above.  As my friend Jim Erwin said, “A tiny spark of sensible behavior and a catchy tune.”  The guy in the video, incidentally, is a 23-year-old skateboarder who works in a pizza shop.

Enjoy.  I like happy endings.