June 18th, 2010
08:06 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Neda Agha-Soltan

The night before she was killed on the streets of Tehran, the woman the world would come to know simply as Neda had a dream.

"There was a war going on," she told her mother, Hajar Rostami, the next morning, "and I was in the front."

Neda's mother had joined her in the street protests that erupted after Iran's disputed June 12, 2009, presidential election. But on that fateful morning, she told her daughter she couldn't go with her. As Neda prepared to leave, she was filled with anxiety, her mother told CNN last November.

"I told her to be very careful, and she said she would."

On June 20, Neda headed to Tehran's Nilofar Square, where thousands of protesters gathered. Tear gas was lobbed at the crowd. Her eyes burning, Neda headed to a medical clinic to get them washed. As she walked toward her car, a single bullet struck her chest, and Neda, 26, was dead. It was captured on video by bystanders and the graphic images were sent around the world.

Journalist Saeed Kamali Dehghan traveled to Tehran to interview Neda's relatives for a new HBO documentary on her life and her tragic death. "For Neda" airs Sunday on HBO and can be seen on HBO's website.

CNN: 'For Neda' tells story of symbol of Iran's post-election protests

HBO: 'For Neda'

Tony Cordero

The son of an American serviceman lost in Vietnam will celebrate Father's Day this Sunday at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.

On Father's Day 45 years ago, Cordero's father, Air Force Maj. Wiam E. Cordero, did not return from a bombing mission over North Vietnam. Twenty years ago, his son helped found an organization to remember and honor fathers lost during that war, Sons and Daughters in Touch. This Sunday, the children of veterans are scheduled to place some 2000 red, yellow and white roses at the base of The Wall, each rose carrying a message to a fallen father.

Tony Cordero, who works for an oil company and lives in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, told CNN on Wednesday, "I don't know yet what my message will be. But I will be there with other hundreds of sons and daughters, and I know my inspiration will come from my interaction from them.

"Fate and history gave us the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Sons and Daughters has transformed The Wall into our own family tree."

Sons and Daughters in Touch website

Bruce Feiler

After the best-selling author of "Walking the Bible" was told in May 2008 that he had a rare, deadly bone cancer, Feiler - 45 years old at the time - came up with an idea to provide fatherly advice to his twin daughters if he died.

He put together a group of men and called them his council of dads. Six men from different stages of Feiler's life would be his voice and teach his girls the life lessons he might not be there to teach.

"I'm a person who has tried in my life to dream undreamable dreams." He said. "Who's gonna teach them how to dream? Who's the person that's gonna tell them if they want to run a marathon, open a restaurant, write a book, cook the hardest soufflé. Who's gonna say to them, 'You can do it?'"

Feiler tells his story to Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the documentary "Dads for My Daughters," Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

CNN: A struggling father asks, Who will teach my daughters?

Phil Jackson

The Lakers captured their second consecutive championship against the Boston Celtics, 83-79, Thursday in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. It's the 16th national championship for the Los Angeles Lakers and the 11th for Jackson, whom NBA.com reports is the most decorated coach in NBA history.

"It wasn't well done, but it was done," Jackson said after the game. "We did it with perseverance. Our defense was terrific."

USA Today reports that Jackson's contract is up and the Lakers have asked him to take a pay cut.

But Thursday night's win "does improve my chances" of returning, Jackson, 64, said. "I'll wait to make that decision in a week."

In his book "Sacred Hoops: Spiritual Lessons of a Hardwood Warrior," Jackson wrote, "Yes, victory is sweet, but it doesn't necessarily make life any easier the next season or even the next day."

NBA.com: Hardly pretty, but title No. 16 plenty sweet for Lakers

USA Today: Sluggish Lakers turn it on in nick of time

Camille Zamora

The co-founding director of the non-profit arts group Sing for Hope found 60 pianos to leave around New York City streets. The New York Times reports that, beginning Monday, the donated pianos - repainted fancifully by volunteers - will be placed on street corners and in parks for anyone to play.

After Zamora read that the idea by British artist Luke Jerram worked in London, England, with 30 pianos, she wrote to him and got his permission to try "Play Me, I'm Yours" in New York's five boroughs.

The newspaper reports that each piano will come with a "piano buddy" from local communities to watch over it.

Zamora, an opera singer, told CNN on Thursday, "We are an artists peace corps of more than 600 artists who volunteer in schools and hospitals. Our vibe is social change through artistic expression. The street pianos are our way of saying that art belongs to everyone."

New York Times: Pianos as public art, and the public's playthings

Sing for Hope website

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    Expect those to quickly disappear from the streets.

    June 18, 2010 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • George White

      From what I've read, it wasn't a problem in London. Hauling off a big decorated piano is a tough sell.

      June 18, 2010 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim D

      That's why the article said a group of community volunteers will be taking shifts alongside the pianos, to make sure nothing happens to them.

      June 18, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • thor

      Anyone want to buy a nice, slightly used, artfully decorated piano.

      June 18, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rick Grubbs

    Lancaster PA has had them for a few years. It is fun to see how they allow people to interact and share. Good for community.

    June 18, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. marcus

    As a Pianist, I'm hoping that these instruments will be placed indoors? Because they won't last long with the extreme weather in NYC – they'll just become piles of dust. Nice thought though 🙂

    June 18, 2010 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • thor

      As a Neurologist I hope people make sure to have proper ergonomics so they don't develop carpal tunnel syndrome or even a focal action specific dystonia due to these pianos.

      June 18, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nik Green

    Political correctness is a strange animal. We can mourn for Neda.. an Iranian girl.. but to mention Rachel Corrie, an American girl murdered by another vile regime, is taboo in the snivelling, corporate weasel media.

    June 18, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • thor

      Why is my reply not showing up?

      June 18, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Grouchy1

    They are putting penices on every corner? What's the world coming to!

    June 18, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • thor

      What is a penice?

      June 18, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. thor

    Now it shows up so I'll try again. These two cases you mention are 1000% different. You have revealed your biased hate filled, emotionally tattered opinion, so your opinion is therefore not worthwhile listening to. Tone it down, stop calling Israel a vile regime (one that is also responsible for having the only true democracy in the entire middle east – how many Jews I ask are living in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.............. The answer is not that they don't want to live there just do your history. Regardless, Rachel Corrie's death was an accident (you can choose to believe it or not but it was).

    June 18, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |