Vol. 2, Issue 3
What’s Up With Me?
My Pasadena Media TV show “NewsRap Local with Justin Chapman” has been selected as a finalist in the Alliance for Community Media West’s WAVE Awards! (WAVE=Western Access Video Excellence). Category: News Programming (Community Producer). Winners will be announced next month.
This month’s guest on “NewsRap Local” was Roman Korol, a Caltech grad student who is collecting aid to send to his native Ukraine. Watch the episode here and find out how you can help the people of Ukraine during this unspeakably difficult time.
I was quoted in a great new book about Flat Earthers and conspiracy culture called Off the Edge by Daily Beast reporter Kelly Weill. She interviewed me about Mad Mike Hughes, the Flat Earther daredevil rocketeer. The book was published February 22 (two years to the day that Mad Mike died in the rocket launch/crash that I filmed). Check it out!
My LA Press Club journalism award certificates finally arrived (for my Mad Mike article in Alta Journal).
I received “citizenship” from a new micronation in the desert near the Salton Sea called Slowjamastan, founded by a radio DJ from San Diego who calls himself the Sultan. It’s all very tongue-in-cheek, but he’s really run with the bit. We took a trip out to the Motherland last weekend.
We also attended the Bombay Beach Biennale, a Burning Man-esque art event also near the Salton Sea, a truly apocalyptic place.
What’s up with you? Drop me a line.
Here are some recommendations for great books I’ve read recently:
Hitler’s Traitor: Martin Bormann and the Defeat of the Reich—Louis Kilzer
An in-depth look at Soviet intelligence operating within the highest ranks of Nazi Germany during World War II. I’m fascinated by Martin Bormann and accusations that he was actually a Soviet spy the whole time, as well as by allegations that he survived the Führerbunker and escaped Berlin and then Germany as the war came to a close. Not sure if it’s true or not, but fascinating nonetheless. This book makes the case that Bormann is the reason Germany lost the war, and explores the battle between Germany and Russia on the Eastern Front, a side of the war not understood nearly enough by Americans.
Off the Edge: Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Culture, and Why People Will Believe Anything—Kelly Weill
I can’t recommend the book I mentioned earlier enough. This is a mind-blowing look into the cray cray world of Flat Earthers and other conspiracy movements. This is also a subject that Americans would do well to know more about, as “truth” is rapidly becoming subjective, surely the sign of dangerous times ahead for society (think Qanon, Pizzagate, etc.). This book provides some clues as to why this is happening. Plus it quotes me, so it must be doing something right.
Spotlight on My Past Stories
In 2019, I wrote about the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and their lawsuit for equal pay after their fourth World Cup win. I interviewed Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan at the Rose Bowl as they played Ireland in their first post-World Cup game. Now, the players have reached a $24 million settlement with the U.S. Soccer Federation. It’s a win for them, no doubt. But it’s also a third of what they were seeking, and amounts to about $1 million per player. Either way, it’s a step in the right direction, especially for future players. Read my 2019 story here.
The Making of MEMAH
By Jim Morris
When I was in my 20s, I went to see my father-in-law with my wife at that time. He had passed away earlier that day. I went into his room and saw him with his mouth open and how small and frail he was. That stayed with me for many years. I always thought about him as I started reading about prostate cancer. Seeing his facial expression in his final hours had a lasting effect on me for almost 40 years. I never forgot that expression on his face. Because he died at such a young age, I wanted to know why. My research yielded some staggering results. I found out that African American men have the highest rate of prostate cancer in the U.S. There was a lack of education and screening whether from a doctor or anyone else. The main reason is fear of losing manhood. Women in our lives, e.g., mother, wife, girlfriend, etc., are generally the ones who tell us we need to see the doctor. It was time for men to take ownership of their health just like women who generally outlive us. Thus was the birth of Men Educating Men About Health (MEMAH), a Pasadena-based nonprofit.
Former Pasadena Mayor Bill Paparian, along with other men and women united with the MEMAH movement, held our first health event in June 2011 at the Pasadena Senior Center with a performance by Barbara Morrison (who sadly passed away last week). We provided first-class health screenings, for free. Over 1,000 men and women were screened. Two years later, we hosted a screening event at Pasadena City College thanks to the Dean of Health, Dr. Barbara Fruend, and another board member. We have never looked back since. From 2011 to 2019, MEMAH has aided in screening over 11,000 men and women in Pasadena, Altadena, and the San Gabriel Valley community. Screenings were interrupted in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. We are looking to resume screenings in September 2022. Outside of screenings for prostate cancer, we are also known for ultrasound screening of the heart, arteries, liver, kidneys, and more.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation estimates that African American men are about 1.6 times more likely than all other men to get prostate cancer, and twice as likely to die from it. Early detection is critical as prostate cancer is always treatable and often curable. African American men develop high blood pressure at younger ages than any other group in the United States. They are also likely to develop other complications associated with blood pressure including stroke, kidney disease, blindness, dementia, and heart disease. One 2018 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that, of its participants, 75.5% of Black men and 75.7% of Black women developed hypertension by the age of 55. This compares with 54.5% of white men and 40% of white women. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and some Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are all at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes than Caucasians, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
With the combination of the above facts, it was necessary to provide top-notch health screenings for the public. Diet and exercise play a vital role in living a healthy life. I am fortunate that my family participates in screenings including my children and we’re committed to continuing to do this along with MEMAH.
MEMAH also holds annual galas during which we honor outstanding men, women, and businesses in our community. In 2014, we honored Mrs. Joan Williams, who was selected by her colleagues at Pasadena City Hall to be Miss Crown City 1958, a Rose Queen-esque honor at the time who was supposed to represent the city in the Rose Parade. As writer and former MEMAH President Justin Chapman reported in 2013 in Pasadena Weekly, after city officials learned Mrs. Williams was African American, they canceled the float she was supposed to ride on in the parade and denied her other benefits. After Justin’s article and MEMAH’s gala, city officials apologized to her and she rode on the lead float in the 2015 Rose Parade, nearly 60 years after being discriminated against. You can read more about her story here. This was another example of MEMAH giving back to the community that we serve.
MEMAH is purposefully composed of a diverse board of men and women. Recognizing that in order for women to be connected with our purpose, the MEMAH Advisory Board was formed to bridge the gap. We believe in diversity and feel that the MEMAH Board of Directors and the MEMAH Advisory Board is one of the most diverse in Pasadena and maybe in all of San Gabriel Valley. The more diversity we have, the more we can learn about each other and help each other.
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