Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Anything School Can Do, You Can Do Better… Teach Yourself Everything.

By Margherite Cermak

For the most part young people are told that in order to have a good career you must have a good college education, however not everyone can afford a college education and those who can are severely over paying. The value that is placed on getting a degree is overrated. Collectively people are under the impression that in order to have certain careers a specific degree and college education is required and that is in fact untrue. You don’t necessarily need a degree, you just need to be able to pass the tests. It’s true that you will be judged by your education, but anything you can learn from a university you can teach yourself. 

Colleges require you to take many classes that may not apply to what you’re trying to do. The time it takes to complete a degree is inefficient. And the financial system behind universities only further perpetuates unjust inequalities between low income and high income families. The education system itself is an insult to intelligent Americans. Everything that is taught in school is taught from books and is based off of a curriculum. What’s more insulting is that this information is mostly taught by people who were taught to teach it rather than by people who have been successful in the careers they are preparing their students for. 

There are cases where experts in a subject are put in place to educate students, but even then they are still teaching what they are told to teach. This makes for a waste of time and money as a universal education can’t possibly apply to everyone in the class. We each need a unique skill set and strengths to be powerful in our fields. That is why self educating is the fastest, most efficient way to learn what it is you need to learn in order to be successful in your craft. 

Now this idea may seem overwhelming at first, but let’s put it into perspective. In a typical case a student must complete 120 credit hours of college classes to earn a Bachelors Degree and it takes 4 years and tens of thousands of dollars to complete. You pay for books, you pay for transportation, you pay for teachers and most often you pay to live on campus. The text books you’ll buy will cost you three times what an average book on the subject will cost, you’re paying teachers who will only interact with you for a few moments out of a few hours a week, and the cost of living will be at least double what you’ll pay at home. But worst of all, after all that, you’ll only retain some of what you’ve learned and in most cases you’ll only apply a fraction of that information to your actual career. 

So first, let’s break down the time it would take to educate yourself instead of going to a university. A credit hour equals 3 hours a week per course so 120 credit hours equal 1,800 actual hours of in-house learning. Universities divide those hours into a variety of 40 classes, including ones you most likely don’t need, and spans it over a course of 8, 15 week semesters or 4 years on average. That’s 45 hours per course multiplied by 40 courses that’s how we come to a total of 1,800 in-house hours of learning. But how much time does 120 credit hours of education actually take to learn? Well, if you sit down and spend 3 hours a day, every day, teaching yourself what you need to know then it will take you 600 days which equals 20 months, or 18 months if you take two days out of the week off and study for 5 hours a day instead of 3. Now which scenario seems more overwhelming? 

Next let’s take a look at these books students of universities are taught from. First of all, they are just books. They aren’t special books with information that is only publishable in the form of text books and owned by the rulers of education. They are just books, usually written by teachers and published by the schools they are taught in. If they aren’t published by a specific school then that means they are books available to the public by various means. Sometimes you can even purchase these books used for very discounted prices. But since all this is true, why use them at all? They are specific books used to teach a specific class. Text books feature a variety of bits and pieces of general information in a subject, so if you are your own teacher why not use books that better suit your needs? You can instead study from a variety of books that each individually contain thorough detailed information about the specific subject or topic you need to know about. 

If you want to learn how to be a botanist instead of spending $100 on Biology 1 on 1, spend $14.95 on a book about how plants grow, $19.99 on a book that describes environmental conditions relating to plants, $25.99 on plant species that grow in your area and $29.95 on how to maintain a healthy garden or whatever. Doing it this way you can learn what you need to learn and discard anything that is irrelevant to you such as what plants King Henry VIII used a million years ago to try and cure the plague. With so much information thrown at you it’s important to take what you need and be able to apply it without useless distractions. 

You just have to know what it is you’re going to need. While this kind of knowledge will definitely come most often from trial and error as well as experience but it isn’t hard to investigate such things yourself. When I was 9 years old I decided I wanted to create a magazine about cats written from a cats point of view. I compiled stories about all my neighbors cats as well as my own, wrote them down as if written by a cat and drew pictures of cats to correlate with the stories and then I made a few copies and called it “Cat’s View”. When my Uncle Joey saw this he asked “Why don’t you get it published?”. This question to 9 year old me was the beginning of my career. 

I had no idea what publishing means so very simply, I asked. Once Uncle Joey explained it to me I picked up some of my mother’s magazines about cats, a subject similar to mine, and I found the name of the company that published the books along with the addresses of such companies and I wrote them all letters explaining my goals and asking for their advice and guidance along with a dozen questions. While most of my letters were ignored, some of them were not and many of my questions were answered. All I had to do was ask how is what I’m trying to do done, and just like that I taught myself how to copy right and publish a body of work. Cat’s View never got published, but when I was 12 and wanted to be a Hip-Hop Lyrical Writer many of my songs, poems and short stories were and 20 years later here I am, a professional writer. 

Now if I was able to do that as a child 20 years ago before technology hand delivered any and all information to anyone with an internet connection, that means that today any teenager or adult can find the information they need within the resources available to them today. You start by asking yourself what it is you need to know, then ask someone who might know. Back then that someone to ask had to be someone you knew personally but today that someone can be anyone who pops up on Google. Take the first step and ask Google “how do I do xyz” and go from there. Just keep asking questions. 

Another really great resource is Barnes and Nobles. Anyone can go to a Barnes and Nobles, find a book they want to read and sit there quietly reading through the book. You don’t have to buy it, you don’t have to be a member of anything, and you don’t have to limit yourself to the information in that one book. Amazon also has a really great program where you can sell back books you purchased in the past. I would say the library is a good source but it’s government funded and so you need a library card and everything you read is documented but if you do want to utilize them, make sure you know that if they don’t have the book you want they are required by law to try and find the book for you and have it sent to that location if requested by a library member. Just don’t hold your breath waiting for it and don’t ever loose a book you borrowed. 

The resources you can find in bookstores, libraries and on the internet is so much more valuable than those you’ll find in schools. Yes, teachers are great, but teachers, even professors, are underpaid and 90% of the time they are people who are teaching things they were taught to teach rather than things they lived and experienced. While books that get published by actual publishing companies are written by professionals who have lived and experienced the subject at hand. That’s why they get published, because they are good, informative books that people will invest in in order to obtain the information they hold. And no matter how good a teacher is, or how dedicated they are to you and your education and career, their attention is divided amongst hundreds or at very least dozens of students but when you read a book, it’s a one on one experience between you and the author. 

Save your time, save your money and educate yourself. Applying that education is equally as important if not more. Because there is so much hype around getting a degree, a self educated person will have to prove their knowledge to employers. Again, this may sound overwhelming but business people are usually people who think outside of the box, use that in your favor. If you’re studying to be something like a lawyer, then you’ll have to pass the bar exam. If you’re studying to be a carpenter for the Fire Department than you’ll have to pass their test as well. But if you’re applying to a job or chasing a career that has no test then you’ll need something to show instead. Proof that you are qualified. 

Don’t be discouraged. Again, find out exactly what you need to qualify for the position and instead of listing awards won by school contests make a list of all the books you read in completion from A to Z, write an essay on what specific things you’ve learned and how that retained information applies to the job at hand. Write a blog and publish 30 different posts on what makes you an expert on whatever topic you’re discussing. These things will get you the attention from employers and mentors that you’ll need to achieve your goals. And remember, there isn’t just one dream job, there are dozens, hundreds, thousands of amazing high paying jobs that you will qualify for if you study hard. In fact, by educating yourself you will be vastly more qualified if you truly are dedicated. 

Spend 3 hours a day, every single day, asking the world of information questions and give yourself the homework of applying that information to your life and career and I promise you’ll achieve so much more than you can imagine possible. Don’t let a system designed to separate classes and put people in debt stop you from becoming whatever it is you want to become. Be smart, be unique and be diligent. Your dreams will come true.  


Friday, September 23, 2016

Stop Arguing With People Who Act Like They Don’t Understand What’s Happening in This Country…

By Margherite Cermak

Everyone in this country knows that the conditions black and brown people are subjected to here in America is a result of racism except for the racists who believe it’s genetics. When you scan the USA you will find that there ins’t a single privileged, or for the simple folks, “good” black community. You can have one of two beliefs as to why that is. You either believe that it’s because black people are genetically inclined to be less productive, less intelligent, or in some way unable to take proper care of themselves and their families. Or you believe it’s because society makes it so that black communities can’t get ahead by making it more difficult for black people to accomplish things than white people. You may not know or understand exactly how Systemic Racism works, but if you don’t blame poverty on genes, then somewhere in your mind you know that it exists, and that it’s effective. 

Millions and millions of racist people will swear to you that they are not at all racist. They will pledge that they have friends and family and black people whom they love. The’ll name all their favorite black celebrities and tell you all about why their opinions aren’t racism. But no matter how much a person wants to deny that they are racist it doesn’t change the facts. Racism isn’t a broad, vague term. It’s very, very direct and it’s very simple. 

Racism: The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

So, if you don’t believe that society in America keeps black communities poor, then you believe it’s due to genetics because aside from how people are treated, the only difference between people of one race and people of another are genes. Just like your genes are different from the genes of your neighbor or any other person for that matter. The question you have to ask yourself now is, do you really believe that your genes so strongly effect and influence your personality to the point of determining whether or not you’ll be rich or poor? Do you believe that the person that you are, and the condition of your life is due to your genetic makeup and not how you are treated, the opportunities you’re presented and the experiences you’ve had? Do you believe that if you were of a different race that you’d be more or less able to do something if everything else was exactly the same? If you do, that’s racism; if you don’t, then you recognize society’s role in systemic racism. 

Whether or not people want to admit where they stand is irrelevant. It’s clear to everyone where a person stands because it’s not a complicated issue. When people argue or debate with others they already know where their opponent stands, how they feel and what they believe. What we need to recognize is that those people also know where they stand, how they feel, and what they believe and are only arguing because they want to feel justified for what they know to be true. Most people who believe genetics are responsible for our behavior and abilities don’t want to be shamed for their feelings so they try and convince others that’s their feelings aren’t racist. And many people who believe society is responsible for our behavior and abilities don’t want to take responsibility for their participation, or lack of, that contributes to the horrible conditions of blacks and browns in the United States. 

And of course not. Taking responsibility for the role a person plays in the systems of society that oppress the underprivileged in this country can be absolutely terrifying. As long as a person denies responsibility for something, they at least have a small chance that they may be deemed innocent if they can possibly convince the judging party that they just didn’t know any better. But admitting that you see and understand that something is wrong and that you participate in it, or at least, participate in allowing it means that you’ll be judged and pay consequences. 

The goal here for an activist is not to convince someone that their opinions are wrong, but to make absolutely clear that you know that they know the part they play in this disgusting oppressive mess. Instead of trying to define racism for people, state that you know they know what it means and insist that for as long as they hold on to their beliefs that they will be in your eyes seen as an oppressor, a contributing factor. Insist that if they wish to be seen differently they must prove it. They must prove it passionately with action, and that if they don’t then they put themselves on the side of a people who are being fought back against. That we, the revolutionaries, the activists, the oppressed, the people who believe that all people should be respected based on their person and not their nation, are fighting and willing to continue fighting, with passion, with fury and with all of our strength, wisdom and intelligence until this oppression is annihilated. 

Instead of explaining to people why what is happening, explain what is and will continue happening. Don’t explain why we do what we do or why people are responding with force. Just make it known that this is what's happening. If you’re going to explain something, explain that people are going to act, and react whichever way we have to in order to protect our people. Remind people that dirty fights are fought dirty, that violence is fought with violence. You don’t need to explain to anyone why that is, they understand that already. You don’t need to explain that some people are peaceful and some people are not, they know that already too. All you should spend your time explaining to anyone is that this is happening; oppressive thumbs are to be lifted and that we don’t have a choice but to fight. 

Explain that we are all kinds of different people, with all kinds of different tools, that we must fight with. Some of those tools are words, some of those tools are influence, some of those tools are money and some of those tools are weapons. Explain that the only thing anyone can do to stop us is obliterate the systems that oppress people based on the things they cannot change such as race. The dumbest of the dumb will understand that and if they claim they don’t then they are lying. Don’t waste your precious time and energy explaining to people that there is a problem, spend it explaining what they can do to help solve it. Explain to them that their resistance, guilt and fear are all normal feelings considering the circumstances but that none of it deserves pity or empathy. Explain that we don’t have room or time for that. Speak to them in a non judgmental tone but hold them accountable. Instead invite them to be part of the solution and explain that it would relieve their guilt and fears. 

Understand that such an invitation may be intimidating or overwhelming, even for those who really do recognize and dislike the injustice of our land. Changing the world seems impossible especially for someone who hasn’t ever done anything for anyone but themselves. Most of us would much rather wait for someone else do what we want done instead of doing it ourselves even if that means waiting forever to get something done. So when presenting someone with an opportunity to do something to improve the community it’s important to present easy, tangible, concrete options, tasks and direction. Again, maintaining a non judgmental tone will always increase your likelihood of being heard and will decrease resistance to what you’re saying. Be practical and simply present them the why and then the how

For example, here’s a why…
We need to hold police officers accountable Because innocent black and brown people all over the country are being killed since police officers are rarely reprimanded. 

And here’s a how…
To stop this we need to get the attention of our police commissioners, city council members, and mayors across the country and demand they raise the standards of conduct within our police departments and enforce harsher penalties for using force. We can do this by writing and mailing letters by the hundreds or by showing up to their doorsteps by the thousands with our expectations. 

A straight, clean, concise, factual message. 

Examples like that may make participation less intimidating and overwhelming for someone who doesn’t know what to do, or that they can do anything at all. One truth that I find amongst the sea of people who claim impoverished black and brown communities can’t possibly be the result of society, is that these people truly don’t believe that they themselves can do anything to change it which is why it’s so easy for them to believe that these issues can’t be a result of society. They believe that society is made up of millions of people just like them who are just as incapable of making a difference as they are. So presenting that kind of a person with a concrete thing that they can do, that will be effective, is a guaranteed way of showing someone that they are wrong about that. And the truth is, anyone who still doesn’t do anything just doesn’t want to, and those people we have no time for so move on. 

Blacks and browns in America are oppressed. People may want to call that an opinion, but it’s a fact. No buts, no exceptions, no debate. We don’t have room for you if you disagree. We don’t have room for you. We don’t have time to explain to you the things you want to pretend you don’t know. And we don’t have patience to hold your hand and coddle your embarrassment. We are busy. The people we love are being killed. People we love are being targeted, oppressed, abused, and we don’t have time or patience or energy to waste on you or anything else. So just get out of the way, because if you don’t, we are going to plow right through you, anyway we can, until the people we love are safe. And that’s all there is to it. 



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Contracts! What Constitutes as a Legal Agreement and How To Protect Oneself…

By Margherite Cermak

A contract is a written or spoken agreement, especially one concerning employment, sales, or tenancy, that is intended to be enforceable by law.

What that means is, if you have a written or spoken agreement with a person, persons, or entity,  then the court and judicial system is obligated to protect you from the agreement being broken.

1-That doesn’t mean that all agreements are forced, an alternative is a settlement or revised renewal of the contract.
2- The purpose of a documented agreement, such as a written agreement, is to prove your entitlements in regards to the agreement itself. It is used to reflect on in future dealings sometimes, and called into question sometimes, but if there’s proof of it, disputes are easier to resolve.
3- For your Contract to be a Valid Contract, and ultimately recognized by a court it must contain certain elements.

  1. The Date. This absolutely must be the date that all parties are engaging in, or in other words signing, the Contract. If it’s even 1 day earlier or later than the date it’s signed it can be ruled Void, which means the court decides it doesn’t recognize it at all.

  2. The names of the entities entering the Contract, and preferably all entities addresses as well.

  3. The terms of the agreement between all entities. Financial agreement terms would go here. They would specify a product, service, or tenancy in exchange for a dollar amount or something else of value set by the entities.

  4. The signatures of all entities engaged in the agreement.
4- Contracts of anything Illegal are not recognized by the court.  
5- You must use blue or black ink only when signing a contract, green is used for temporary notes and red ink is used on sample contracts and makes a contract void.
6- If the contract has multiple pages you must initial all the pages. This is to protect you from signing a contract and then someone switching out pages, paragraphs, or points without signatures attached.
7- Anytime something is changed in a contract but the contract is not redrafted all parties must initial the changes to indicate the change is agreeable by all parties.
8- All entities entering a contract are entitled to a copy of the agreement engaged it.

If you follow these instructions your contracts and legal agreements will be very, very difficult to contest and you will remain protected.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Starting Your Own Business... Why You Should and How To Get Started...

By Margherite Cermak

When deciding to form a business the first thing I like to do is look at all the types of businesses possible, and pick a formation that fits best for me based on what I want to do.

The types of businesses or corporations are:

Sole Proprietorship
Limited Liability Company
Limited Partnership
Limited Liability Partnership
C Corporation
S Corporation
Non Profit Organizations

I now know to go straight to and then navigate through the site until I have my answers.

Filing for an LLC
You need:
A unique name
Articles of Organization:
Announce in your local paper that you have formed your LLC
Get an EIN (Employee Identification Number) so that you can hire employees and pay taxes.

A C Corporation has share holders and exchange money and assets.
They are subject to taxes regardless of whether or not they profit
They pay taxes and then split profit evenly among share holders
Each share holder has to pay taxes individually and as the corporation as a whole this is called double taxation
C Corps can operate internationally.
C Corps reduce individual taxes by paying most of their expenses out of corporate funds and pay themselves a very low salary.
C Corps are the types of businesses that qualify for bailouts because of the taxes they pay and because they can very easily become a business umbrella due to all the people with stakes in the corporation.

They are legal individual entities also owned by share holders.
Big successful S Corps can sell stock backed by their company which makes it easier to raise capital and profitable to sell if desired. However it’s the most complex and costly corporation to form. The tax forms are complex and have many legal requirements.
Best for people who intend to expand or become chains.
Also the type of Corporation that may qualify for bailouts.

Limited Partnerships:
Limited Partnerships are corporations that split responsibility between all the owners. They must be partnerships and cannot be owned by one person. This is useful when looking for a silent partner. One of you will be solely responsible for all the initial capital to form and run the business and one will be solely responsible for day to day operations. Neither partner will have incur responsibility for the other’s position. Partners of an LP spilt profits as described in the partnership agreement.
First you register your company based on your Partnership agreement, a customized contract between partners.
Then you choose a name. If you don’t agree on one in your partnership agreement then you will be assigned a name based on the last names of the partners.
Then finally you get permits that you might need.
Another benefit to an LP is that Partners can sell off fractions of their shares.

For questions either comment here or email me at


Thursday, July 7, 2016

In Response to Today's Murders and Overall Police Brutality...

By Margherite Cermak

(Insert today’s FULL date here)

(Insert the name of the person the letter is written to here)
(Insert the title of the person the letter is written to here)
(Insert the name of the establishment: Board of Commissions here)
(Insert the Street Address of the person the letter is written to here)
(Insert the City, State and Zip Code of the person the letter is written to here

Dear Commissioner (Insert Commissioner’s name here)

My name is (Insert your name here), I’m a (Insert demographic, age, gender, race etc, here) residing in (Insert neighborhood or community here) as a (Insert profession here).

I’m writing to acquire answers to the following questions in regards to Police, Police Policy and Policing Methods within my community.

1-      How are you ensuring that the members of the departments, which you are responsible for, are being held responsible for their actions?

2-      What actions do you take, or would you take, in the event Abuse of Power took place within the departments you are responsible for?

3-      How are members of the departments you are responsible for, being trained to deescalate potentially dangerous situations, and carry out their duties without using violence?

4-      How are you evaluating the overall mental health, and individual mental health of the members of the departments you are responsible for, and how are you ensuring that conditions such as trauma, PTSD, depression, and social biases, for example, are not playing a part in the decision making of such department members both on duty and off duty?

5-      How are you combating bigotry and biases within the departments you are responsible for?

6-      How are you ensuring that solving victimizing crimes takes priority over victimless crimes and revenue generating tasks, within the departments you are responsible for?

It is important to me that the Mayor’s Office, Board of Commissions and Police Department not participate in Abuse of Power, and that such entities protect my community, as well as me, from Police Brutality.

I thank you for taking the time to read this letter, and in advance for responding with answers. In addition to providing me answers I request that you also prioritize the Prevention and Punishment of Police Brutality to the absolute best of your ability, and to the furthest of your reach.

--(Insert printed name here)
(Skip a line)
(Skip a line)
(Skip a line)
(Skip a line)
(Insert Signature in space above)     (Insert Today’s Full Date here)

(Insert mailing address in the footer)

List of Contacts

Police Commissioners or Board of Police Commissioners are in charge of Police Departments
The Mayor Elects Police Commissioners and City Council confirms them.

In Los Angeles:

Mayor is Eric Garcetti
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90012
(213) 978-0600

City Council District 13
200 North Spring Street, #450
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 473-7013

Board of Police Commissioners
President Matthew M. Johnson
Vice President Steve Soboroff
Commissioner Sandra Figueroa-Villa
Commissioner Kathleen Kim
Commissioner Robert M Saltzman
100 West First Street, Suite 134
Los Angeles, CA, 90012
(213) 236-1400

And you can watch Police Commissioners Meetings Every Tuesday at 2pm on CityView Channel 35

In New York:

Mayor Bill de Blasio
City Hall
New York, NY, 10007

City Council
1757 Union Street
Brooklyn, New York, 11213
(718) 953-3097

Police Commissioner William J Bratton
Can only be messaged online


Police Commissioner William J Bratton is involved with many businesses and ventures outside of the commission, among them is Bratton Technologies, which runs BlueLine, a global law enforcement professional social network.

BlueLine Grid
7250 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 320
Bethesda, MD, 20814
(917) 831-4332

His wife is TruTV analyst Rikki Klieman and her publicist is:
Suzanne Wickham
Senior Director of Publicity, Harperone
Harper Collins Publishers Inc.
10 East 53rd Street,
New York, NY, 10022

For Minneapolis

Chief of Police JaneƩ Harteau
350 South 5 th Street
Room 130
Minneapolis, MN 55415-1389
Fax: 612-673-2613

Mayor Betsy Hodges
Mayor's Office
350 S. 5th St., Room 331
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone: (612) 673-2100

Minneapolis City Council
City Hall, Room 307
350 South Fifth Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mon. – Fri.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Dirty Diamonds Tour- These Ladies Take Pebbles From The Pavement And Turn Them Into Gems…

By Margherite Cermak

Described as "powerhouse vocalists", Corina Corina and Angi3 are currently on their third consecutive tour and outlining a fourth one set to follow no later than when this one is done. These ladies embody female empowerment by letting listeners know that they stay on the grind and can't be silenced. With their popular hit, Walk a Mile, they outline the systemic social practice of underestimating women, and combat it with raw, uncontainable talent and fierce ambition that can be felt even if not heard.

Their unique style is a pure representation of every single experience they have had while on the road, and in life. They take everything that society deems unworthy of attention and convert it into something irresistible and impossible to ignore. In Corina Corina's first album, The Eargasm, she tackles and sings freely about the realities of love between women, replacing shame with pride, and her latest album, The Free Way, addresses unpopular issues such as American Privilege; a topic widely shied away from by mainstream media. However, this woman is true to her opinions, stands firm beside her lifestyle and is fearless of societal backlash. "If you don't like it, don't look" is what her musical posture says to audiences.

Angi3 on the other hand, has a knack for infiltrating the mainstream, corporate world with her musical talents, and easily adaptable ways. With corporations like Cosmopolitan, ABC, MTV, and NBC under her belt as a featured artist, she knows how to work the system without compromising her uniquely untouchable artistic style. While everyone else is beating around the bush, Angi3 is giving it to us straight, holding back no aspects of her feelings; evidence lay within the lyrics of songs like Damage and Talk Sh*t. The titles alone speak for themselves.

These women do not let misogyny or male dominated areas of their profession stand in their way. They plow right through anyone who puts them to the test and they convey a strength and confidence that is a whole new kind of sexy to pop and the Hip-Hop industry. Labeled as "Indie", their success within the genre is the epitome and definition of Independent. Through straight up collaboration and population, Corina Corina and Angi3 have taken their Dirty Diamonds Tour from Portland, to Cincinnati, Chicago, Virginia, Ohio, the city, the boondocks, paradise and everywhere in between; best yet, they're only about half way through!

So check out these amazing women, soak up their energy, feel their vibe, and recognize their hard work and dedication to moving through music with purpose. They'll be in your town sooner or later so keep your eyes peeled; you won't want to miss the movement.


Upcoming Dirty Diamonds Tour Dates to Come:
Wednesday 9/9/2015 Sacramento, CA @ Blue Lamp
Thursday 9/10/2015 Eugene, OR @ The Granary
Friday 9/11/2015 Bellingham, WA @ The Swillery
Saturday 9/12/2015 Longview, WA @ Club 360
Sunday 9/13/2015 Seattle, WA @ 88 Keys
Tuesday 9/15/2015 Olympia, WA @ Le Voyeur
Thursday 9/17/2015 Portland, OR @ The Panic Room
Friday 9/18/2015 Hood River, OR @ Trillium Cafe
Saturday 9/19/2015 San Jose, CA @ Back B
Sunday 9/20/2015 Berkeley, CA @ The Gilman
Friday 10/2/2015 San Francisco, CA @ Amnesia
Thursday 10/15/2015 Buffalo, NY @ DTR Headquarters
Thursday 10/22/2015 Charlotte, NC @ Snug Harbor
Friday 10/30/2015 Brooklyn, NY @ Friends and Lovers

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thoughtful Gifts From Socks, The Cat...

By Margherite Cermak

Socks: The Gift Giving Cat...
Every morning my mother and I sit on our back porch and chit chat over coffee. A few furry companions chime in from time to time, but one fine fella- Socks- is especially social. He is a handsome, and charming young cat who loves to bring us the occasional gift.
But one morning I made an observation that blew my mother's mind and prompted this study. 

On Tuesday, Socks came dashing down the tightrope of a fence with a maple-like leaf from the neighbor's yard clenched between his teeth. The leaf was big, and had a mixture of green and yellow pigment on it but most importantly it was perfectly intact. 

When he came and dropped it by my Mother's side we praised him, thanked him, scratched his chin, and joked about how much effort he put into selecting such a beautifully, vibrant leaf for her. 

Exhibit B...
One half of cup of coffee later, here comes socks, strolling down the fence- this time with a stem of many leaves between his teeth. When he dropped it by me, Mom and I assumed it was simply an accident in an attempt to drag it all the way to Mom. After all, it was a very long and awkward stem and he had stepped on it many times on his journey with it, so we forgave that it was a few feet shy of Mom's side and had landed closer to me. A gift is a gift and it's the thought that counts, so again we gave the kitty he's due credit. 

On Wednesday morning, Mom and I followed our daily routine, as did Socks. Now, the night before we had experienced some heavy rain so there were many leaves, stems, branches, and flowers readily available on the ground. "Oh the selection" Socks must have thought...

So here he comes, with pride on his face, racing along the fence with a stem in his jowls, similar to the one form the day before and when he got to me he dropped it from his mouth onto my shoulder and sat beside me. There was no question this gift was for me. Now as you could imagine, I was completely taken with flattery as he has never brought anyone but Mom any presents. She's Mom after all, and this was the first gift I had ever received from any cat. I'll admit, I was filled with joy and perhaps blushing a little. Mom and I laughed, smiled, praised Socks with coolie rubs, chin scratches, and pats behind the ears- he was loving it. 

But this is where things got really interesting. The next gift Socks dragged along the fence to us was another large, perfectly intact leaf, this time a dark green one. Not knowing who he would bring it to, Mom and I waited, filled with anticipation... the leaf was for her. 

All throughout the day, Socks brought us beautiful, intact gifts. The next was a stem which he dropped by me, then a leaf which he dropped by Mom. That's when it occurred to me; he's selecting these gifts for each of us specifically- custom presents! He was only bringing me stems of many leaves, and only bringing Mom large, colorful, individual leaves. 

Flabbergasted, we waited to see if this was a coincidence or not, and sure enough, here he comes with another stem, dropping it as he reached me and finally a big yellow leaf he took all the way to Mom. We couldn't believe it. Socks was shopping for gifts the same way you and I would, carefully deciding which item our loved ones would like the most. This one will be for my sister, this one will be for my mother... Sis will like this one, Mom will like that one...

This revelation was shocking! Extremely kind, generous, and flattering, but also shocking. This raises the questions: How does he select these gifts? Why does he decide I will like one kind and Mom will like another? And finally, what does he think we will do with all these leafy gifts? 

Resting after a long day of work...

Well, what I did was photograph them and write an article about the gift giving cat, now, that is love and appreciation! But please, no autographs; Socks hasn't got any thumbs and can't hold a pen to sign with...

--Marg (Mom and Socks)

Photos Courtesy of Angela Lynch

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ridiculous Questions People Ask Me About My Desire to Adopt Kids…

By Margherite Cermak

AdoptionFor as long as I can remember, I have wanted to raise children, and my method of choice has always been adoption. Shortly after I established my first business I began taking the first of many steps towards actually doing so. Since then, I have been asked, on many occasions, as slew of questions which I find to be absolutely preposterous, however I opt to be firm yet polite about it. Truthfully though, the ignorance of such questions, gets under my skin and I do wish to address them in a more direct and straight forward manner. The bottom line is, if anyone just takes a moment to think about their questions prior to asking them, they will most likely realize just how offensive they are. Here are just a few I would like to share with you...

“Don’t you want your kid to look like you?”
Sure, it would be nice to have a kid who has my cheekbones and eyes, but the need of a child with no home or family to be adopted into a loving household instead of bouncing around in foster care is significantly more important.

“Why do you want to adopt instead of having your own?”
Because there are millions of children who don’t have parents, don’t have homes, and don’t have anyone who actually loves them. As a human being I can most definitely love a child who did not come from my body just as much as a child who did come from my body.

“If you get pregnant, will you consider abortion or adoption?”
No, my desire to adopt comes from an embedded love for children, why on earth would I want to inflict pain or loneliness on a child I have become pregnant with? I’m an adult, I know where babies come from, considering that I am old enough, financially secure enough and emotionally ready enough for parenthood it would be incredibly irresponsible of me to terminate a pregnancy or give up a child to the very system I wish to help kids out of.

“What if you get a bad kid?”
What if I get a bad kid? You mean, what if I raise a child who turns out to be a criminal or drug addict? In the event that a child I adopt has problems in his life I will act accordingly, just like any other parent who raises kids who don’t turn out exactly how they expect or desire. After all, is it impossible to parent a biological child who breaks the law or gets into trouble? Don’t all kids at some point in their lives get into trouble? Like every other parent in the world, I will love and support my kids no matter who they are, what they do, or where life takes them.

“Why would you want someone else’s problem?”
No child is ever a problem. Clearly, anyone who thinks so doesn’t know what it means to be a parent and most certainly shouldn’t raise kids.

“Do you think it’s fair to a kid to be adopted by a single mother?”
One parent is far greater than no parents. What I do think is unfair is that people who are incapable of raising children, procreate, and then give their children to a system that doesn’t have the proper means to attend to all the vital needs of kids aside from basic nutrition and education. Children need love, experience, friends, stability, happiness, and guidance. It doesn’t matter where those elements come from, as long as they come from somewhere.

“What if after you adopt you meet someone who doesn’t want kids?”
If I meet someone who doesn’t want kids then I most certainly don’t want them. The love I have as a parent will always exceed the love I have as a partner. When choosing a partner, one must think about how they want to spend their lives, what is important to them, and who can best provide them with these things. If having children is a priority in your life, then a person’s desire to raise kids with you must be an important factor in deciding who to settle down with. You never met anyone who gave up their biological children to please a potential spouse now have you?

“What if your kid finds out they are adopted?”
I want my kids to know they are adopted. I want my kids to know that I could have given birth to a random child but specifically chose them instead. I want my kids to know that they were not a backup plan or plan B. I want them to know that although the person who carried them wouldn’t be the person to love and raise them, I am here to do that. I want my children to know that I worked hard and did everything I could I get them, and that I already loved them long before I had ever met them.

“Isn’t adoption expensive?”
Yes, there are fees and expenses related to adopting children, however giving birth and raising children is equally, and often times even more expensive than adopting children. Think about how much money expecting parents spend on prenatal care, medical expenses, parenting classes. Then once the baby arrives, think about how much parents spend on baby clothes, baby shoes, diapers, formula, daycare, medicine, and education. Are those expenses not worth it? So then how could anyone expect that paying adoption and lawyer fees might be a reason not to be a parent?

If you can’t imagine yourself adopting a child and don’t understand why someone else would then perhaps you can imagine this: picture a child you know, your own even, then imagine for a second that he or she has no one in their lives who loves them because they haven’t known anyone long enough to be loved by them. Imagine that that child is in a group home with dozens of other children, doesn’t get undivided attention, doesn’t get love and affection, doesn’t get rewarded for good behavior, doesn’t get the toys they want, doesn’t get read to before they go to sleep. Imagine that a child you love is not in your life but instead is at an adoption agency care center waiting for someone to choose them. Maybe now you can understand the tragedy these kids face, and why someone like me would do anything in their power to put an end to it, at least one child at a time.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Written by Enrique Grijalva: An Article About the 5Pointz Rally; The Most Memorable Day I Ever Spent There...

5 Pointz - Art is Life


Published On November 19, 2013 | By Enrique Grijalva | ART + DESIGNNATIVE VIBE,TOPICSUNCENSORED NEW YORK
This was my first time at 5 Pointz. I confess, it’s a shameful admission. To be clear, I had always admired this artistic monument from afar, usually when entering Long Island City via the 7 train. For years I had believed it was the best possible view. Clearly, I was wrong.
I put off ever making this pilgrimage to the graffiti mecca for years. It wasn’t until I had learned that the owners of the building, Jerry Wolkoff and son David Wolkoff, were planning on demolishing the building, once known as the Phun Phactory, by the end of 2013 in favor of a pair of luxury, residential towers conveniently equipped with an indoor climbing wall, a golf course and a pool.
On Saturday, November 16, I attended what without question will be the first of many rallies to save 5 Pointz. Artists, musicians, hipsters, hip-hop heads, punks, children…and even Captain America were all in attendance. Each collecting digital memories of the large-scale works of art, many of which are filled with distinctive characters whose eyes are in danger of never connecting with the children of tomorrow.
5 Pointz Mr Blob 628x840 Uncensored New York: Save 5 Pointz or Lose New York City History
Image courtesy of New York Natives, Photographer: Enrique Grijalva
New York City leaders have consistently overlooked and undervalued the importance of art in our public school systems, cutting the budget by 45 percent between the 2007-2012 school years, according to data compiled by the Center of Arts Education. It never mattered to them that studies have shown that the arts can improve children’s math and reading skills, social development and memory. Most significantly, these art programs could instill at-risk youth with the necessary motivation to continue improving in the classroom and in life.
Still, budgets for art programs in schools continue declining.
It’s almost as if those kids, we, don’t matter.
No worries, though.
Lack of arts education between the walls of these industrial academic institutions had always been commonplace. So when Hip Hop was born, the unconquered children of imagination expressed themselves in a radical manner: The writers became emcees, dancers became b-boy/b-girls, musicians became DJs and the modern day artist—the graffiti artist whose work was initially barred from traditional art galleries—went outside the box and took that confined imagination and laced their creativity on the streets of New York.
5 Pointz 40 Years of Hip Hop 628x840 Uncensored New York: Save 5 Pointz or Lose New York City History
Image courtesy of New York Natives, Photographer: Enrique Grijalva
“Outside is where art should live,” said Banksy, in the audio that accompanied his final piece during his recent invasion of New York, which paid homage to the ubiquitous graffiti-style bubble letters made famous in the 1980’s. Soon, it was apparent that many New Yorkers agreed with his statement.
Those in attendance, at the rally, showed support by signing request forms to preserve 5 Pointz as a landmark in New York City, and while standing inside the loading dock area we watched as teachers, artists and members of the community spoke on the importance of 5 Pointz.
“New York is kind of boring right now,” said Meres-One, a graffiti veteran and the gallery curator for 5 Pointz. “They’re overdeveloping it. They’re building these glass-tissue boxes that are made cheap—have no soul and they’re destroying all of our communities.”
The highest honor for an aspiring street artist is the chance to bless the mecca of graffiti art with the masterpiece which they’ve been preordained to create. But in the absence of Mecca, where does this artist go? The system has already told this child that his profound imagery is irreverent and has no place in the halls of learning, and somehow we expect this child to close his eyes and do nothing as this sadistically cunning and imbalanced system attempts to eradicate their institute of higher burning?
“A lot of people believe in using the system to change the system. It’s not our system. The public education system is not our system. The police, they’re not our police, “said Homeboy Sandman, a Queens-based rapper and supporter of 5 Pointz. “The systems are working fine. They’re just not ours!”
Homeboy Sandman proposed, as a last resort effort in the event of looming demolition, that we come together to organize and form a human barricade around 5 Pointz.
Gentrification has removed us from our communities and continues to do so. Today, it’s threatening to remove the beauty New Yorkers have created. A part of New York’s cultural history is on the brink of extinction, with two mundane structures prepared to simply exist in its place. These hollow towers are prepared to contribute nothing to the city, and despite the Wolkoffs’ ostensible promise for 20 artist studios, this admission of guilt is only evidence of a typical landlord’s apathy for the people’s concerns.
5 Pointz Marge 628x840 Uncensored New York: Save 5 Pointz or Lose New York City History
Image courtesy of New York Natives, Photographer: Enrique Grijalva
One of the last speakers at the rally, Marge, a thin woman with a heavy Brooklyn accent spoke about her ongoing relationship with 5 Pointz. As a child, she rode the 7 train back and forth just to admire the art on the building—a ritual which soon became refuge for a young woman who was forced to face the sprouting hardships which had planted themselves into her life as she got older.
One day, like me, Marge mustered up enough courage to get off the train to finally encounter the individual worlds each artist had spray painted on those walls she spent years admiring.
“This place has inspired me so much,” said Marge as her voice began to tremble. “I definitely feel this place has saved my life on more than one occasion.”
Now, it’s our turn to save 5 Pointz.
Editor’s Note: Sadly, 5 Pointz could not be saved. Days after the rally to save 5 Pointz thatNew York Natives contributor Enrique Grijalva attended, the Long Island City graffiti destination was painted white.

Featured image courtesy of New York Natives, Photographer: Enrique Grijalva

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Peace, thanks, love & reflection as we approach a New Year...

This year, for myself, as well as many of you, has been a cultivation of creativity, unity, hard work & a testament of strength. It has consisted of the rise & fall of empires, wins & losses of wars & battles, closed doors, new opportunities, move outs, move ins, move ons & never letting go. I have had the endings of relationships, both personal and professional, and the development & introduction to new ones of both manners. Inspiration, heartache, destruction, creation, illness, wellness, births and deaths. Overall it's these experiences and how we deal with them which shape who we are.

I'd like to thank and acknowledge many people in my life for their contributions, significance, and impact to, of, and in my life.

Starting with the women in my family: my mother who despite her many faults remained the most loving, forgiving, accepting, and supportive person I have ever known; a woman who taught me how to treat people, embrace all cultures & colors, the value of life and living things over possessions and who through her struggles showed me what not to do. Many years since she has passed and I am still learning from her.

Grams, my Aunt Darlene, cousins Jackie, Christina, Marissa, Mary, Cait, Jennifer, Amanda & Carole, Sister Marie, Laura, Lindsey and Mommy Lynda... we are all alike in the way that we are head strong, steadfast, unwavering examples of strength and endurance. Regardless of the times and or situations we always kept our chins high, our voices loud, our dignity in tact and our will power supersedes all things and we move through life with elegance, beauty & grace that is unmatched and unbreakable. Even on the pavement as adversity kicks us we do nothing against our wishes and we fight back with vengeance right down to our very graves. I'm proud to be the woman I am and have been influenced by all of you.

To the men in my family, Poppy, Brother Jint, Nick & Jonathan, Uncle Joey, Uncle Chuck, cousins Christian, Chris, Gary, Brian & baby Sal... you simultaneously taught me how to be a lady and treat a man. You're the reason I'm strong under pressure, selective with intimacy, yet giving of affection, honesty & above all loyalty. You're the reason no amount of anger, lack of happiness, temptation, lust or anything else could ever bring me to infidelity because Lord help a women who has broken one of YOUR hearts. Ironically, you have also taught me how to treat women starting with myself. Because of you I have always embraced sexuality, opposition, I have always known to let go when necessary, hold on when worth it, hold out when unsure, and give in when appropriate. Through watching your experiences I know that no two men are the same, that men are not meal tickets or joy rides, that as a woman it is my responsibility to any man in my life to be respectful, accepting, open minded, compassionate, supportive, strick, sensual, domestic, compassionate and hardworking. That one man's screw up is not the next man's clean up. And for those of you who have more brilliance and creativity than braun you're the reason I write, create, produce and have an undying fiery passion for the arts and beauty. For those of you who have more braun and mischief embedded in you, you're the reason I'm aggressive, masculine, physically strong and can kick the shit out of any man who wishes harm on me regardless of the difference in size. This has come in handy...

To my closest and dearest friends: Crystal, Nikki, Angie, Marie, Meres, David, Siki, Steve, Karina, Yuriy, Maria, Kimmarie, Happy John, Michael DiMartino, Noelle, Joe Velez, Hoacs, Jay, Fumero, Poet, Bisc, Allison, Dread, Zimad, See TF, Q, Gregory, Kid Lew, NME, Renee, Noah, Just, G-Wiz, Greymatter, Rabbi Sam, Illspoken, Rosa, Tah, Mariella, Cres, Julian, Pam, Eytan, Chris, George, Reganomics, Nana Bet, Jana, Nicole, Missy, Brian DL, Big Tom, Fat Kid, Vinny Bif & the Nitti brothers... boy oh boy have you people had an effect on me! You make it easy to love you and be proud of my unconventional self. I know that win or loose you always have my back like a pack of angry wolves, you taught me that friendship is real even when caught in the middle, trust can be acquired, and that love and like are two separate things. By my helping you, you've given me a reason to keep pushing, stay grinding, never falter, and always, always be myself and damn proud of it. To the 5Pointz Family- anyone who has ever contributed to that Mecca, you are hands down the reason I survived my toughest days and I will never, ever stop loving you; my support & thanks are with you always. Crystal, thank you, my love, for teaching me how to trust unconditionally, love deeply, regret nothing, protect everything, how to dream, and for ripping my heart out teaching me that, no, you cannot die from a broken heart- blood continues to flow, air you continue to breathe & eventually the tears slow down. On my mind, off my lips, in my heart and through my veins, I miss you and I love you.

My mentors, colleagues, employees, associates and bosses, especially Russell Grey, Lisa Pollock, Cricket Rumley, John Carr, Tom Hammack, Sonny Calderone, Chris Denson, Matthew Kohen, Matt Arnold, ItsMarg Productions, ItsMarg Marketing, Jason Markman, Tommy Smith, Colin Moore, Colm Horgan, Lucky, Raff Diaz, Andres Ospina, Brittany Goodman, all of Light-In Group, Red Ten, Client Solutions, Alta-Vista, Jon White, WPIX, GBC, NET NY, GRB... Jeezis, this list is long; thank you for helping me achieve my goals, dreams, sucess, for driving my career foward, humbling me, working for and or with me, teaching me business and for being there when I bottomed out. You're the reason my name is as heavy as it is and why the end of ItsMarg Productions and the formation of ItsMarg Marketing happened in the same year. All my meals and drinks... here's to you.

Finally to my enemies... you know who you are; this year's for you...

-- Marg