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Gore Vidal

National Book Award

Gore Vidal: It was a book about the absolute normality of "same-sexuality," as it was sometimes called. Remember, I spent all my life not only in boys' schools, but here I am stuck in three years of the Army. I knew exactly what went on in the real world. It was Walt Whitman who said, "No one will ever know what goes on in armies." Everybody thought it was the bloodshed and so on. Whitman was after different game. I knew what went on in the real world, and I thought, well, nobody would write about it.
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Antonio Villaraigosa

Former Mayor of Los Angeles

Antonio Villaraigosa: I've met many people who have grown up in alcoholic homes -- or abusive homes of some sort, whether physical or psychological -- and I say to people, "You gotta take responsibility," and "You gotta stop the cycle." You've got to just say, "It stops here." And that is not always easy, because you don't necessarily have the role model for it. But you've got to stop the violence. I do a lot of work around domestic violence. I feel very strongly about it. I always tell people, "You gotta break the cycle." You've got to just say, "I gotta take responsibility." And I think that's what I finally did, probably later in life than some. Probably late teens, early 20s, in college, when I started realizing you can't feel sorry for yourself. You've just got to move ahead. I think those years when I was kind of getting in trouble and getting kicked out and dropping out and fighting all the time, I think it was a lot of anger, and it was my way of coping. And then over time -- and I think it was in college -- where I just said, "You know, you gotta let it go. You gotta move forward. You gotta take responsibility for your life." So I think that is how you break the cycle. And you talk about it, you can't be afraid to talk about it. My dad has never really lived with us since we were five. He gets very upset that I talk about it. But my mother said to us, "The way out, the way to break the cycle, is to lay it out, just to say what happened, say it was wrong, and to move on." And so I do and I have.
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Bert Vogelstein

Cancer Researcher

One of my first patients was a little girl who was diagnosed with cancer. Actually, I diagnosed her cancer. Her parents brought her into the clinic because she looked pale and she was bruising, and a few simple tests showed that she had cancer. The little girl was only four at the time, and the look on her parents' face is something that has indelibly etched in my mind. It was terrible in the sense that I couldn't tell them anything about their daughter's disease. I couldn't tell them 'why' or 'what.' I could offer some encouraging words about some therapies that may potentially help, but what they really wanted to know was, "Why?"
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Bert Vogelstein

Cancer Researcher

The father of this little girl was a mathematician and I related to him quite a bit from my college days. And, he just wanted to know, why "my little girl" got this terrible disease, why her, and why this plague? And, I just shook up my hands. "I don't know, nobody knows." It's just this total black box, this thing that just struck people randomly, when they shouldn't be struck. And, right then and there it became clear to me that, if I wanted to spend my life on a puzzle, on a problem that I could apply my skills towards, that was going to be a good one.
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