Stories from Latino Writers: Rudy Ruiz Receives Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Book of Fiction for Valley of Shadows

Rudy Ruiz, acclaimed author of literary fiction, recently won the Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Book of Fiction for his book, Valley of Shadows. This honor recognizes his exceptional writing skills and his contribution to the literary world and highlights an important issue in the publishing world: the underrepresentation of Latino writers and books featuring Latino characters. Ruiz’s win is an important step in the right direction, especially considering the importance of Latino culture in the United States.

In Valley of Shadows, Solitario Cisneros is a retired lawman who has lost everything – his wife, family, and country. When a series of murders and kidnappings threaten his town’s volatile mix of Anglo, Mexican, and Apache settlers, Solitario feels compelled to involve himself, confronting the parts of life he’d left behind as well as his own mortality. With the help of Apache-Mexican seer Onawa, Solitario faces questions about the human condition and the possibility of rewriting our own history and shaping our own future.

Rudy Ruiz’s Valley of Shadows is a powerful work of historical fiction that effectively uses the tools of magical realism to uncover lessons that are immensely relevant today. Through luminous prose and soul-searching reflections, Ruiz explores themes of belonging, identity, and the human condition that are as relevant today as they were back then. Solitario Cisneros and Onawa’s journey into the desert is a powerful reminder that as lonely and defeated as we might feel, we are never truly alone.

Specifically, Ruiz’s writing has been praised for its lyrical prose and its ability to capture the complexities of the human experience. His win of the Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Book of Fiction is a significant achievement. The Jesse H. Jones Award is one of the most prestigious literary awards in Texas. Bestowed by the Texas Institute of Letters, it recognizes the best in Texas fiction. Ruiz’s win puts him in the company of literary giants and solidifies his place in the canon of not only Texas but American literature. According to the Texas Institute of Letters judges, “Rudy Ruiz’ Valley of Shadows is a masterful weaving of the best of American Literature: a realistic historical novel, a riveting, edge-of-your-seat Western thriller with a dose of horror and magic. Most of all, Rudy Ruiz’ simple, brilliant and penetrating writing transforms Solitario Cisneros’ struggle for meaning and redemption into an existential inquiry about the quest we must all undertake to save our world.”

Another reason Ruiz’s win is significant is that it highlights the contributions of Latino writers to the literary world. Some individuals believe this to be a valuable goal, as, according to a study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, only about 7% of children’s books published in 2022 featured Latino characters. This lack of representation extends to the world of adult literature as well. In 2019, an industry study found that less than 6% of publishing employees identified as Latino. Some believe this to be undesirable due to the real-life diversity of the audience of readers in the United States. 

Given the rapid growth of the U.S. Latino population and its emergence as the largest minority group in America, it is possible that we might see a growing trend of high-profile Latino literary fiction enter the market. These narratives reflect rich cultural traditions, languages, and perspectives of the Latino community. As more stories from Latino writers are published and celebrated, it is possible we’ll see their place in the world of literary fiction grow. This could lead to more awards for Latino narratives. Ruiz’s win could be seen to shine a light on the often-overlooked history of Latinos in the United States and, specifically, Texas. 

One reason Ruiz’s win for Valley of Shadows might be seen as notable is that the Latino population in Texas is growing at a remarkable rate. According to recent census data, Latinos now make up nearly 40% of the population in Texas, making it the second-largest Latino population in the country after California. This demographic shift has significant implications for Texas and the United States as a whole. The growing Latino population is influencing everything from politics and education to business and culture, with a vibrant and diverse community reshaping the state’s identity and future.

Ruiz’s win for Valley of Shadows brings visibility to Latino literature. By recognizing the work of Latino writers, these awards validate their experiences and stories within the publishing industry, serving as a call to action for publishers, and encouraging them to seek out and publish more diverse authors and stories. In this way, awards can help to break down the barriers and biases that have historically prevented Latino writers from gaining equal representation in the publishing industry. Awards can have a ripple effect on other areas of the publishing industry and beyond, from literary agents, booksellers, and book reviewers to TV and film adaptations of books. By recognizing the value and importance of Latino literature, these awards can help to shift the cultural conversation around diversity and inclusivity in the publishing and entertainment industries, inspiring change and progress in all areas of the industry.

Clearly, the impact of diversity in publishing and fiction cannot be overstated. Literature has the power to shape our understanding of the world and ourselves, and diverse stories allow for a richer and more accurate representation of the human experience. As Texas – and, indeed America’s – population continues to grow and include more Latino individuals, it will be even more significant to pay attention to whether or not that the media we produce and celebrate reflects those changes. 

When we prioritize diversity in publishing and fiction, we open the door to new voices and stories that may have been previously unheard or marginalized. Some people believe this can benefit readers who can see themselves reflected in literature, and that it can contribute to a more informed and empathetic society. Their argument is that more diversity in media and increased representation can allow readers to expand their worldview and their understanding of humanity. They hope that this will promote greater understanding and respect for diverse cultures and communities.

The publishing industry has a unique opportunity to foster a culture of diversity and inclusivity in its offerings, and celebrating Latino narratives could be a critical part of this effort. By publishing and promoting a wide range of diverse stories, the industry can help break down barriers and create a more equitable and representative literary landscape. Furthermore, diverse stories have the power to challenge and subvert dominant cultural narratives and stereotypes, leading to a more accurate and nuanced portrayal of the world we live in. By prioritizing diverse voices in publishing and fiction, we can ensure that literature truly reflects the diversity of our world, and opens up new pathways for empathy, understanding, and growth.

Vancouver: The Golden City of the Northwest

Vancouver, WA, is rapidly emerging as a highly livable city in the US. As bigger cities become expensive and overcrowded, Americans are slowly turning their attention towards smaller, more manageable cities. These smaller cities offer lower rents, a stronger community, and affordable sources of entertainment, while maintaining the services that people are accustomed to.

In 2021, SmartAsset analyzed 500 large cities and three cities in Washington state have emerged as leaders, one of which is none other than Vancouver. In the past year, its population has increased by 5% and alongside the hike in population, the GDP has grown by more than 6%. As individuals, families, and businesses gradually make their way toward Vancouver, there is also an increased need for housing and commercial infrastructure. 

Catering to this need is a long-time Vancouver resident, Ryan Hurley. Hurley is the founder and CEO of Hurley Development, a development and infrastructure firm. Hurley started his company with a focus on playing an active role in the development of his community. He grew up in Vancouver and attributes much of his success to the golden city of the northwest. Through Hurley’s unwavering commitment and passion, his company has become one of the premier commercial real estate companies in the region. More importantly, the company continues to play an active role in the development of the city. 

According to Hurley, what makes Vancouver so unique is its location. “It’s very close to Portland, about 10 miles from it, and being close to a very progressive but metropolitan area, we get the benefits without the drawbacks,” said Hurley. As compared to Oregon, Washington has no personal or corporate net income tax, which has continued to drive growth in recent years. Being close to Portland’s urban areas also means that Vancouver is trendy enough to attract crowds of all types. It is a bustling place known for good food and coffee, and a thriving art and culture scene. 

For Hurley, the best feature of life in Vancouver is the mix of different worlds springing up uniquely in the city. “We have what I would consider to be a little bit rural lifestyle blended with urban opportunities,” shared Hurley. In addition to a vibrant urban core, Vancouver also benefits from a incredible natural environment that offers plenty of outdoor activities, including golf, hiking, and camping. The massive Fort Vancouver national historic area, the Columbia river and gorge provide some breathtaking views. A beach and ski runs are only an hour and a half either direction. Doesn’t matter what you like…Vancouver offers something for everyone. 

As someone who has always emphasized and worked towards a cohesive community, Hurley appreciates Vancouver’s kind and receptive community. While there may be a threat of the US fracturing along political lines, this city has largely remained immune from division. As Portland is quite progressive, when it comes to politics Vancouver benefits from taking the middle-ground. Elections are always a close call. “I think that’s a positive thing, because that middle ground just provides for understanding a variety of people, their views and issues,” said Hurley.

This middle ground that Hurley is a fan of also includes the climate in Vancouver. It enjoys all four seasons, which gives its residents the chance to enjoy a whole breadth of activities. This has created what Hurley calls a “really sweet pocket of the in-between”. 

Good amenities, a welcoming community, a beautiful environment, and access to urban living without the troubles of a big city have attracted thousands of new families to Vancouver. It is the city that you live in if you are working in Portland and are raising a family. The city also attracts scores of people from states other than Oregon, including California. “Half our population came from California,” jokes Hurley. 

There has been a huge influx of families from Portland and Hurley’s company has been working double time to accommodate all the new citizens the city has been receiving. Hurley is overseeing a massive project next to the waterfront on the east side of Vancouver called HQ Vancouver, and another beautiful apartment building in downtown called Adera. He is keenly aware of the benefits the population influx brings to the economy, which is why his focuses on affordability without compromising on quality. 

“Affordability is such a major facet of HQ and a standard of our developments. We’re offering smart, sophisticated, luxurious living where people of all ages, abilities, incomes, and backgrounds can thrive. We want this environment to bring people together and provide opportunities where everyone has access to housing, lightning-speed fiber internet, recreation, art, and culture,” shared Ryan. 

HQ also incorporates a smart city approach, which Hurley thinks will put Vancouver on the national map, adding to its growing rapport. The smart features include public wifi, smart parking, electric-powered driverless cars, and multiple smart security features. The design has been guided by climate consciousness, inclusivity, equity, and affordability, all of which are reflective of Vancouver’s values.

Vancouver is not a place to pass through on the way to Seattle or a vacation town, it has transformed into a place where you build a life. You might take it for granted if you have been living in the area for a while, but those who visit for the first time are blown away. “When you’re new, you’re like, ‘Man, Vancouver’s awesome! It’s brand new and shiny.’ And that perception is even growing for a lot of Portlanders too,” Ryan exclaimed. 

Hurley’s company, in addition to developing residential properties, has also developed multiple commercial real estate projects. This has added a boom to the local business, with new restaurants opening up and taking advantage of the modern infrastructure. Hurley opened SAAP Fusion Kitchen, multiple coffee shops, and several sprawling retail centers. 

What makes Hurley unique is that his work drives a purpose. Talking about his latest project, he said, “We’re building this for our city and as a model community for the nation that together – even in the multifamily, retail, and entertainment real estate environments – we can actually achieve things like carbon neutrality, inclusivity, and affordability.”

Miki Agrawal On The Three-Pronged System

On her YouTube interview series, Kiki L’Italien often chats with innovators, industry leaders, and generally creative professionals. L’Italien often broaches topics of inspiration and innovation, and chats about ways to change the world. Recently, L’Italien sat down with serial entrepreneur Miki Agrawal, the founder of companies like Wild, Thinx, and Tushy. Often described as an industry disruptor and innovator, Miki Agrawal has created her companies with visionary insight, awareness, and desire to innovate traditionally antiquated sectors. Through her work, Miki Agrawal has become a revered public speaker, often lending her insights and experiences to interviews such as this one. Read excerpts from the conversation here:

Miki Agrawal On Association

Kiki L’Italien: Okay, association chat, people! The thing that people say over and over about whatever industry that you’re in or whatever practice that you’re in for marketing, is challenging that, right. And what that looks like and the fact that you have people who continue to push back even though rationally, logically, it’s all there. That’s it.

Miki Agrawal: I mean and also like when you think about you know, even from yeah, let’s talk about the associations, right. Like, what can associations keep doing to innovate, to bring in more young people to freshen up that blood to get people more excited about joining, I think it’s really about thinking about is a new disruptive way of thinking about it? What is it? What can I do to get people from thinking about associations as this to this? And for me, I have a very simple thesis around how to get people to shift their behavior from this.

Kiki L’Italien: I love this. I was talking with my husband before I came here saying this is actually the question. This is a question I wanted you to answer.

Miki Agrawal: So, amazing. Well, great. Well, so for me, it’s three-pronged, right.

Kiki L’Italien: Okay.

Miki Agrawal: It’s a three-pronged system to really shift culture and to challenge societal norms.

Kiki L’Italien: Okay.

The Three-Pronged System

Miki Agrawal: The first, and how to do it through a product. As a product or a service, right.

Kiki L’Italien: Okay.

Miki Agrawal: So number one it has to be a one of one innovation. One of one best in class product, right. So period-proof underwear or a bidet or coming up with a new way of thinking about an association, right. Like it has to be a one of one steps of creating that like the product right.

Kiki L’Italien: Yeah.

Miki Agrawal: So what is that product? Is it a one of one product or is it a one of many product?

Kiki L’Italien: Okay.

Miki Agrawal: It has to be a one of one product. So best class product. That that’s kind of a basic obvious thing. The second thing is it has to have considered design across every touch point of the brand.

Kiki L’Italien: Okay.

Miki Agrawal: If someone is going to like look at something new and different that they’ve never seen before or find to be gross or weird or old school or just not relevant. All of a sudden they’re looking at art. Looking at something beautiful and artful and creative. They can then be like, wow, that’s so refreshing. That’s beautiful. Oh, they’re talking about period. They’re talking about who they’re talking about this old school. Visually aesthetically every touch point of your brand you have to consider from an artful visual perspective.

Kiki L’Italien: Right.

Miki Agrawal: And not like I’m just going to throw something on paper and blah. I’m to put it out. My favorite two words when it comes to visual design is breathing room. Breathing room.

Kiki L’Italien: Yeah.

Miki Agrawal: There has to be space to breathe, always breath.

Kiki L’Italien: Making notes.

Miki Agrawal: Because if it’s so much clutter with so much information in one place you’re just like I can’t think and then you’re just you’re out of there. You’re like it’s too much.

Kiki L’Italien: Yeah.

Miki Agrawal: What are the most like the 5 words or the 1 word or the 3 words that can boom pop your idea for people who poop.

Kiki L’Italien: For people who poop.

Miki Agrawal: And just like I poop.

Kiki L’Italien: I poop.

Thinking About Aesthetics

Miki Agrawal: I click on that. And so it’s and you have to really think about the aesthetics across every touch point of your brand or website what it looks like and is it busy? Is it clutter? Get too many dropped up. Is it just too much or what is the 3 most important things you want to achieve from your website? You want to acquire email addresses. You have to have a really strong email capture kind of value proposition. A beautiful image at the top with one word that describes what you’re doing. For your one sentence that describes what you’re doing and that’s it and the rest is an image and you scroll down, you have space to breathe every time when on the whole website and when you have space to breathe on the website, you can make an interpretation for yourself. Oh, this is what this means to me. You have now, you’re going to have a say in the experience. Instead of it just being thrown at you.

Kiki L’Italien: I so wish that I had the crowd around me right now that I could see what all of you guys are writing in or typing in. Because I can imagine that there’s some processing Happening right now. So we’ve talked about one of one innovation and then we’re talking about considering the design.

Miki Agrawal: Yes.

Kiki L’Italien: Okay so those are the two.

The Power of Relatable Language

Miki Agrawal: Yes and then the third is accessible relatable language across every touch point of your brand. And so what that means is you can’t be too technical, too academic, too clinical. We’re also like cerebral in our own ideas and what we’re doing what we’re creating and we think we all we think that everyone knows what we’re talking about.

Kiki L’Italien: Yeah.

Miki Agrawal: But nobody knows what we’re talking about. Nobody has any clue.

Kiki L’Italien: And so that’s so true. I was just voice first. Anybody who’s really into like when you say voice first does anybody know what that means? Like nobody knows.

Miki Agrawal: And it’s like one of my biggest test is if I tell you what I do. Can you repeat it back to me?

Kiki L’Italien: Right.

Miki Agrawal: And a lot of people are like oh what do you do? I be blah blah blah blah blah blah and they’re like, huh. And then they don’t remember anything. They walk away. They don’t remember your name. Remember what you do. But the minute they remember like one about you because they can repeat back what you say, boom, it’s done. Oh, she created a product that helped people poop better. You know what I mean?

Miki Agrawal is also the best-selling author of “Do Cool Sh*t” and “Disrupt-Her”, two inspirational tomes. To hear these books, head over to the Miki Agrawal Audible author page.

Travis Scott Opens Up About Astroworld Tragedy in an Exclusive Interview with Charlamagne Tha God

Travis Scott spoke out for the first time since the Astroworld tragedy in an exclusive interview with media mogul Charlamagne Tha God. Scott took the opportunity to break the silence over the incident with Charlamagne on his YouTube channel in an interview that aired on Dec 9.  

The interview showed Scott and Charlamagne discussing the tragedy at the Astroworld festival when a crowd rush during Travis’ performance led to the deaths of 10 individuals and the injury of several others that attended the event. The discussion reveals how the weeks following the event were an emotional roller coaster for Scott and all the affected families. Scott, who had a serious expression throughout the interview, spent nearly an hour going over the events that led to the tragic night as Charlamagne listened carefully and displayed a deep sensitivity towards the topic. A seasoned interviewer and veteran of the entertainment industry known for his honesty, Charlamagne asked the questions on everyone’s minds and gave Scott the opportunity to speak openly about what transpired. 

Charlamagne opened the floor with a question we were all eager to hear. “Let’s talk about that night, man. When did you find out things got as bad as they did? That’s the question everyone wants to know.” 

“Yeah, it wasn’t really until like minutes until the press conference until I figured out like exactly what happened,” Scott began. “You know, even after the show, you’re just kinda hearing things… but I didn’t hear the exact details until minutes before the press conference, but even at that moment, you kinda just like… ‘what?’ Like, you know, you just went through something and it’s just like ‘Wait? What? Hold on…”

Travis went on to add how he was unaware that anything had gone wrong during the concert. Recreating his own perspective for Charlamagne, he spoke about how everything amalgamates into one single stream on stage. You have lights, sounds, pyro, and in-ears alongside music, as well as the band playing. It becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate between an excited crowd and one that may be calling for help. 

Charlamagne also questioned Travis about the raging culture prevalent at his concerts. 

“You know, raging…Raging has been a part of the culture for your shows. You didn’t on this night, but in the past, you’ve encouraged the type of energy that led to something like this happening,” he said. “Do you think that contributed to the energy of this night?”

Travis, after much thought, replied, saying, “Yeah, nah, I think…you know…it’s something I been working on for a while, of creating these experiences and trying to show experiences happening in a safe environment. As an artist, we trust professionals to make sure that you know, things happen and people leave safely, you know what I’m saying?”

He went on to say: “Raging is just a textbook definition, but in concerts, we’ve grown it to be just the experience of having fun. It’s not about just…‘Oh! Harm!’ It’s about letting go and having fun. Y’know, help others…y’know, love each other. It’s not about, just, y’know, harm…That’s not what it’s all about. The show isn’t just rambunctious for an hour, that’s not what it is.”

Charlamagne also asked the rapper about responsibility for the tragic occurrence at the concert. Although Travis refrained from mentioning anyone by name, he spoke about how an artist’s job was restricted to the creative process. This includes bringing other artists together and creatively producing the show. For the rest of the planning, he said, “You know, we just trust in the professionals to make sure people are taken care of and, you know, leaving safely. I can control what I can on the stage, and the professionals control what they can in the crowd.”

Scott’s facial expression wore a look of pensive mournfulness throughout Charlamagne’s line of questioning. His answers came after long purposeful pauses, especially when he was asked whether he believed he had done everything possible to help in the situation.

“Yes. Everything I physically can, I’m sure, yes,” he replied. 

Many people have called out Scott over the Astroworld incident and claimed that the tragedies were preventable. To assist their theories, they have cited Houston police chief Troy Finner’s concerns over the “energy” of the crowd. Upon Charlamagne’s questioning on the matter, Travis was adamant that this was merely an angle brought up by the media. 

“Well, I think that’s what the media said, but I think it read more so that [Finner] knew that our crowd was the type of crowd that comes with a heavy crowd, so to communicate with him if we were doing anything outside of the week’s itinerary, you know? That week we were doing a lot of charity stuff before the festival, so you know there’s security at most of the events, you know, but in that statement, I think he was just saying ‘If (you’re) doing anything outside of the itinerary, let me know,’ but it didn’t get to that point.”

The two also spoke about the devastating impact of the incident and the collective grief of the victims’ families. Healing from a tragedy of this scale is a lifelong battle, and people are still hurting from the loss. “You’re a father, you know. God forbid your kids are of age, they’re in a situation like this. Put yourself in those parents’ shoes right now. What would you wanna see come of this situation?” asked Charlamagne. 

“I would wanna see people put their heads together. I wanna see people… really figure this out. Not take this lightly, you know, and really act on it, because, you know, that’s one of the main things that’s important. They gotta just act on it, you can’t just be like something that happens and… just roll over. It’s gotta be something that’s taken seriously and addressed seriously and things formed around it… Time and a lotta time and a lotta… You know, thinking power spent on this you know and really fixing you know whatever system it is that needs to be fixed.”

Looking forward, Scott spoke about how he aimed to double up on all kinds of security at events and also use innovative technology solutions to provide a safer environment at concerts. “People come into these festivals with these bands that only scan you in. You have all types of tech now that can track your heart, track your oxygen levels if you feel sick,” he explained. “You can put these things on now if you get lost. There’s all types of ways that the band that only gives you access to entry to the line or to food trucks can save lives… I feel like there is a way.”

The interview ended gracefully by Charlamagne giving Scott a chance to reach out to his fans and send a message to them. 

Following the interview, it is clear that Charlamagne is a vital presence in the entertainment space. His ability to bring honesty and compassion to his conversation with Scott is one of the most recent examples of his versatility and integrity as an interviewer. Charlamagne has earned his place in the pantheon of the world’s most influential tv personalities, and rightfully so. For those of you less acquainted with Charlamagne Tha God, aka Lenard McKelvey; the Breakfast Club host has been at the forefront of addressing issues that carry weight for ordinary Americans.  His latest venture on Comedy Central, “Tha God’s Honest Truth,” is another attempt at delivering hard truths using deep dives, sketches, and social experiments. 

What You Drive Reveals A Lot About Your Personality

Can a car reflect its owner? There’s an idea that the type of vehicle you drive (and the condition you keep it in) can reveal important facets of your personality. There are exceptions, of course (if you bought a car that keeps breaking down, for instance, that just means you need to find the best lemon law lawyer in town), but by-and-large, your vehicle choices mean something. 

Today, we’re going to take a look at what some of those supposed connections between automobiles and their owners’ personalities might be (you may want to keep your fingers crossed in hopes that yours doesn’t reveal anything awful about your character).

If You Drive A “Beater”…

Let’s say you drive a beatdown, less-than-modern vehicle. It might not have the freshest coat of paint, and it might even be a little junky on the inside. Don’t worry, though, because this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve got some crazy personality flaw, no. It just means that you’re a free spirit! You aren’t fettered by the need to show off material wealth through what you drive. You’re content letting your ride be a plain one, and that’s not a bad way to live!

If You Like Your Cars Red And Sporty…

You probably already know that we, as a society, associate the red automobile with driving fast. What you may not have realized, however, was that choosing a fast, red car for yourself might also mean that you enjoy risks. Going fast, after all, is a risky action, and it’s quite possible that you are similarly comfortable rolling the dice in other areas of life.

Even if you aren’t prone to speeding, though, red cars give the impression of such, are more likely to be targeted by the police for traffic stops, and more likely to be a mark for thieves if they are going to steal a vehicle for joyriding purposes. Even if you aren’t a speedster, your red car certainly tells others that you’re reveling in all the attention you’ll be getting!

If You Hit The Road In A Minivan…

Now, the obvious assumption, if you drive a minivan, is that you have children and need a practical ride to ferry them all around town. While this certainly could be the case, it’s not the only prominent interpretation of all the minivan mavens out there. 

It could also mean that you like to travel in groups with your friends, and to accommodate them all drive a large and comfortable vehicle. Alternatively, your love of the minivan might mean you indulge in a hobby that requires you to carry a lot of gear from one location to another (like a musician), and, instead of an overpriced pickup truck, you opt for the simpler solution.

If You Put A Sticker On Your Car…

Stickers on vehicles can be a hot-button issue for certain segments of the population. We’ll just put it like this: if you’ve got the courage to put what you’re thinking on display like that, you’re most likely outspoken and have deeply-held convictions about what you’re putting out there. On the flipside, though, you might just know that stickers can get under people’s skin, and you revel in stirring up a bit of mischief!

Favorite Pizza Places in Berkeley

Favorite Pizza Places in Berkeley

With many people quarantining or simply staying in because of the shutdown, the Pandemic of 2020 made food delivery more popular than ever. So, one can only imagine what the Pandemic did for the already popular pizza delivery. It probably skyrocketed into another atmosphere especially pizzerias in Berkeley California where there are some of the most popular places to get pizza according to Jonathan Osler. Yes, Berkeley, although it may not be the first place one would think of when pizza is on the brain, but the West Coast’s Bay Area has numerous restaurants that have mastered California Pizza. It has been stated that pizzas in this area have a Californian Twist added to traditional pizza along with new creative options. Let’s take a look at some of the favorite Pizza Places in Berkeley.

First, Cheese Board Pizza or The Cheese Board Collective started in 1967 as a small cheese shop. Then, employees began to check out pizza recipes and experiment using their cheese and sourdough bread along with different veggies (no sauce), there, a revolution of pizza started in Berkeley. Before the pandemic, it was not unusual to see long lines every night winding around the building and block. It is one of the best as the long lines speak for itself.

Next, Sliver Pizzeria is similar to Cheese Board Pizza as it too uses a sourdough crust and veggies (no sauce). This has been called the student’s pizza because it is located on the campus of the University of California Berkeley and is so very popular among the students.

Third, Little Star Pizza is also considered one of the favorite pizza places in Berkeley. Although technically it is on the border and actually in Albany, it is considered a popular place in Berkeley with its deep dish and regular style pizza. However, it has been stated that the crispy cornbread-like crust is the true gem of Little Star as many enjoy having pizza with this kind of a twist.

Fourth on this list is Zachary’s Chicago Pizza. Often referred to as deep dish heaven because of its Chicago style deep dish pizza, Zachary’s Chicago Pizza had remained popular in Berkeley for over 30 years. It has flakey dough that is homemade and layered twice with cheese to add its own twist. This is another that is a must try as it has been awarded the Best Pizza award over 170 times in the Bay Area.

And last on this list of favorite pizza places in Berkeley is Gioia Pizzeria. For some, Gioia Pizzeria is credited for introducing the Bay Area to New York style pizza. It is fairly new being only 10 years in the area but has become popular as it works with and uses local farmers’ vegetables for their recipes. And, Gioia Pizza covers both sides of the Bay, having a location in San Francisco, too.
There are others that could be listed as this is a “starter” list of favorites in the Bay Area as Jonathan Osler would agree.

The Value of Family Traditions

Shalom Lamm is an American entrepreneur and philanthropist who has been in the business world for over three decades. He is currently the CEO of the nonprofit organization Operation Benjamin . His family traditions are very important to him and he shares them here with us. He was raised Jewish and celebrates all festivals, such as Passover or Hanukkah, which are also traditional holidays throughout the year.

Besides being a successful entrepreneur, he is also a philanthropist. He was born to a family that practiced The grand traditions of celebrating Passover or Hanukkah as well as other traditions like lighting candles on Friday nights to commemorate Shabbat (a sacred day) became very sentimental and precious to him. He lights candles on Friday nights to commemorate Shabbat. He’s a very religious man and he has strong family values. He celebrates all of the holidays that come with being part of this faith. The traditions he shares with his family are something that should be shared with everyone because they’re so special!

Mr. Lamm has shared some family traditions that are very sentimental and precious, such as taking walks in nature together every Sunday morning before breakfast while listening to music from Israel – his homeland-or reading books about Jews who have made great contributions to humanity throughout history. The memories created through these simple yet meaningful activities last long after they’re over because they were done intentionally and consciously by him. He makes every effort to keep the traditions alive since he knows they will have a long-lasting and unforgettable influence on his family’s life. Every family has its own set of traditions that are passed down from generation to generation. The holidays are the perfect time for reflection and reminiscing about all those precious moments with loved ones. The story of the Hanukkah family traditions is a reminder to all that it takes time and effort for children to remember something, but when they do-it becomes unforgettable. Lamm believes that familys from every aspect of life will enjoy the sentimental value of traditions. It brings people closer together and creates unforgettable memories. In addition, it helps build quality and long lasting relationships with the people you share them with. Shalom Lamm strongly encourages people who do not already celebrate family traditions to do so if they can because it really is an amazing part of life and family. 

In conclusion, there are many reasons why traditions can be important to families, such as they are to Shalom Lamm. First and foremost they provide a sense of belonging which is so essential in the development of a child’s identity. Secondly, it provides a means for family members to bond with one another through shared memories. Also, having these rituals helps us feel grounded when our lives may otherwise seem out-of-control or chaotic. Lastly, traditions give us something that we look forward to all year long because they’re always happening during specific times each year–they help make life more valuable and predictable!

Should You go to Graduate School?

Should one go to graduate school? This educational pursuit is a question many have asked at some point in their lives. The answer may surprise one. A graduate degree can significantly increase their earning potential, but only if one pursues their chosen interests in depth.

Judge Napolitano, a former law professor, agrees that a degree from a traditional four-year university or one of the many online institutions will guarantee an income and increase their opportunities for advancement in their field. While this is undoubtedly the case for many, not all will be satisfied with their results. The difference in pay and what it takes to get a decent job, especially in today’s marketplace, is vast. The difference in potential advancement between people with an associate’s and bachelor’s degree is enormous as well. Therefore, the decision of whether to go to graduate school makes a great deal of sense.

If a graduate degree is required for a desired career, it is wise to pursue their educational goals. If a graduate degree is not required for their career goal, why pay thousands of dollars more? Many career-oriented graduate programs do not require a’s through the program. They require a bachelor’s degree to start, and then a’s can be obtained through various community colleges. These graduate programs are more affordable than most higher education institutions, and one can complete the requirements at their own pace.

If their goal is to get a higher salary in their chosen field, one will want to attend a graduate degree program accredited by the higher education board of public interest. This certification will assure potential employers that their degree is from an accredited institution. In addition to tuition, there are other costs associated with attending graduate school. Some schools will require one to pay for textbooks, which can be a costly expense. If one is looking to earn a higher salary in the field of study of their choice, this expense will have to be factored into their financial plan.

There are also graduate programs available for those who wish to advance their careers. If one is currently employed, one may be eligible for a higher salary in their position. One may want to consider a higher degree if the job one currently holds does not require a higher degree or desire more compensation.

When one takes graduate programs to improve their education and increase their salary, one will find the best jobs, and the highest pay deals are found at schools that offer these types of degrees. These schools are often the same ones that offer professional development courses. This development means that if one already holds a bachelor’s degree, one will continue their education and obtain a master’s or doctorate. If one currently holds a high school diploma, one can use their GED to upgrade their educational status to become eligible for these advanced degree programs. Their chosen graduate school may even be able to give one a certificate in this field upon completing their studies. Judge Napolitano believes in the value of a graduate degree.

Does Social Media Violate Our Privacy?

Of the many current topics of national concern is personal safety on social media platforms. Social media is used for many purposes, such as marketing, politicking, family connections, and opinion sharing. There are more ways social media is used, yet this provides a good sample of some of the main uses of social media. The giants in the industry such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter are now part of this nation’s culture and daily utilization. Do users of these platforms understand what personal data is gathered by social media and do users understand what the personal data is used for? 

Legal expert and former New Jersey Supreme Court justice, Judge Napolitano, has written and spoken about the complete lack of personal privacy on social media. He has written how social media is used to obtain data on where someone is from or where a person is located at the moment. For example, Napolitano informs readers concerning the National Security Agency, or NSA, a federal agency of 60,000, which monitors every text, email, and cell phone call within, entering or leaving the United States. This domestic capture of personal information is not generally known yet it continues on a daily basis. In this same line of thought, social media platforms collect an enormous amount of information on Americans. Every post, every tweet, every picture posted, and everything searched for on the internet is collected by social media companies. This data is then used in many different ways. The most transparent and recognizable use of personal data is in marketing and advertising. Social platform companies take what users talk about, post, or search for and use that data to send focused, targeted, individual advertisements to users. This data is especially pertinent since the onset of the COVID pandemic.

Users shop more online, post their most recent purchases online, and ask online friends for shopping advice, thus giving social media platforms additional data to send advertisements based on the user’s purchases. Additional use of personal data is regarding the business of politics. Social media platforms share and sell user’s data with polling companies and political organizations to perform statistical analysis on voters. Demographic data is like gold to political planners and strategists. Political campaigns then use the data to focus political messages to voters most likely to agree with a particular point of view. Judge Napolitano believes all personal data is now a commodity to be bought and sold and then be analyzed by anyone with the money to purchase the data. Of course, there also exists the ever-present danger of hackers breaking into a database of social media users. Hackers want users’ information not for marketing or analysis. Hackers use the user information in attempts to obtain financial data, which they can use to steal users’ money and assets. This is the reason for user awareness when using social media. Everything that is posted is analyzed to determine how the data can be used and turned into a commodity.

3 Branches of Government

The United States Government is divided into three distinct chambers. The three compose the basic functions that allow us to have the liberty and freedoms we enjoy on an everyday basis. Composed of the Judicial, Legislative, and Executive branches, Judge Napolitano knows the American Government manages and facilitates an active role in managing all the process under the heads of congressional order, the president, and the Supreme Court.

Judicial Branch

The Judicial Branch of Government in the United States interprets acts of law passed by the Legislative Branch of Government. This acts as a means of checks and balances to passed laws, which are evaluated by the 9 Supreme Court Justices that serve for their entire lifetime.

As a brief history recap, it was the Articles of Confederation that outlined the basic format of our current Judicial System in a vague sense of originality. That is to say, they failed to show the necessity of powers dedicated to the Supreme Court and thus, it was left open to interpretation to the Judiciary body. The Judiciary Act of 1789 started the foundation of the Judiciary Branch with one Chief Justice and five associate Justices. Throughout time the Judiciary Branch has settled countless scores including Plessy v. Ferguson, Miranda v. Arizona, and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. This was a former person, Judge Napolitano who sat between the years of 1987 to 1995 on the Supreme Court.

Legislative Branch

This portion of the American government is composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate. With its establishment of Article 1 of the United States Constitution, congress was form from the ashes of the Revolutionary War. Congress is the sole authority in the system of checks and balances to be able to declare war as well as enact newly formulated legislation, restrict or confirm presidential appointments and even the act of substantial investigation of powers.

The House of Representatives is made up of 435 seats in proportion to their populace of their particular state of representation, with the added factor of 6 non-voting members who represent the District of Columbia, CommonWealth of Puerto Rico, and four other United States territories. The Senate is composed of 100 total seats and is not based on population but an equal state basis.

Executive Branch

This branch of government carries out the law, or in other words enforces it on the citizens of the United States. This includes the president, vice president, Cabinet, and other federal agencies that serve the American people. The Cabinet is composed of high ranking government officials, the vice president, and other heads of executive departments. In order to sit on the Cabinet of the President you must receive a total of 51 out of 100 votes from the 100 Senators.