A day to enjoy the nation’s collective humanity

For many Americans, perhaps most, today is best known as “Black Friday,” one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Although I realize it is going against the crowd, I prefer to think of it as the National Day of Listening.

For the past decade, Dave Isay and his friends at StoryCorps have been collecting stories from people across our country and recording them for posterity at the Library of Congress and playback on National Public Radio. So far they have visited 1,700 cities and towns and produced 50,631 recordings from people of all walks of life with nearly 500 national radio broadcasts since 2003.

The National Day of Listening was born of this effort. Since 2008 on the day after Thanksgiving, StoryCorps asks Americans to take one hour to record an interview with a loved one using standard recording equipment. Its website (storycorps.org) even offers a do-it-yourself guide.

The stories are not the windy rhetoric of big-name politicians, but the poignant personal tales of real Americans. Some of the stories are tragic, some are triumphant, but together they make a grand chorus.

Those stories are a reminder that our collective humanity is something to be cherished and preserved.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen for yourself today on KNPR-FM (88.9).

CIRCUS COUTURE: I can think of no cooler way for a person to help fight children’s childhood cancer in Southern Nevada than to buy a ticket for the upcoming Circus Couture event Dec. 8 at the Hard Rock Hotel. The fundraiser includes a fashion show, acrobatics a la Cirque, a cocktail party and a very live art auction.

The event is the creation of the high-flying acrobat and actress Erica Linz, and proceeds benefit the Children’s Specialty Center of Nevada and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. For more information, go to circus-couture.com.

TYSON’S TRAINING: Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson freely admits he was on drugs during some of his big-time fights. You might think this admission would be a cause for concern at the Nevada Athletic Commission, which is in charge of looking after the propriety of boxing matches and the safety of the combatants.

BIG JULIE: Friends of the local police department remember when Julie Goldberg was one of the toughest and most reliable badges on the street.

He was no stranger to the ring as a boxer, and at one time he was part of a department crew that bench-pressed some serious weight. His friends are thinking kind thoughts about Julie these days as he faces life’s greatest challenge.

ON THE BOULEVARD: The Down Syndrome Organization of Southern Nevada’s annual charity auction was a big success, but if you missed it there are still plenty of ways to help this worthy nonprofit. For information, go to dsosn.org or call 602-648-1990. … Piero’s restaurant was set to serve more than 1,000 at-risk kids and families on Thanksgiving. The families were associated with Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, the Boys &Girls Clubs and the After School All Stars. … A toast to the approaching passing of the full-service Triple Play and Big Dog’s taverns. Reportedly to be replaced by those terribly efficient slot parlor operations.

OLD VEGAS: It’s approaching the heart of football betting season, and Lem Banker continues to make winning plays well into his 80s. He made a couple scores on Cleveland — of all teams — earlier this season. Lem can find a needle in any haystack. … I ask again, when do you suppose we’ll start hearing more details from the federal drug and prostitution investigation of Charles Horky’s well-connected limousine company?

Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to Smith@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0295. Follow him on Twitter @jlnevadasmith.

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