Wednesday, December 17, 2014

'Tis The Season Of Giving

Everyone knows what time of the year it is, and we all know it is better to give than to receive. We all know how crowded those malls can be between now and whenever family and friends get together to exchange gifts.

Today, I am giving you an opportunity to save yourself from that horrendous horde of humanity and do a little online shopping. As most of you know, I wrote, "I Still Believe In Tomorrow" in 2012 and have been selling it online from my website, at speeches, conferences, schools and libraries ever since.

One small social service company ordered an ebook version for each one of their employees off my website after my presentation.

Please let me remind you what a great gift the book is to put on that new electronic device you are giving that special someone! They will be pleased to open that new iPad, Kindle, Android, laptop or computer complete with a nice, short, inspirational book already loaded and ready for reading as that tryptophan-induced nap starts to kick in!

They will be so excited and enthralled by reading my words; it will keep the effects of that nap at bay!  Well, maybe not, but they can finish the book after the nap.

Or, you can order the paperback version off my website at and surprise them with a nice gift to put in their pile of new socks and other goodies.

If you live in the Twin Cities area and would like an autographed copy or copies, I have plenty of copies here I would be willing to personally sign them to the intended receiver with a special note made just to that person. There is still plenty of time to get that done so you desire.

If you are not familiar with my book, here is the cover:

Click on the image to make it larger:

Since this is an unabashed plea for holiday gifts, I want to implore you exactly how important this book can be to someone's life. Let me leave you with a quote from a reader I received a few months ago:

"I look up to you. Your speech was tremendous and I loved the book!"

She was in a workshop I did and I had an opportunity to speak with her after my keynote.

As if I have not made myself perfectly clear yet, I will make one more plea. The book makes a great gift for someone on your list and if you have not already read it, I believe you would like to read it as well.

It never hurts to give you that special gift either.

I hope everyone has a great Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, office party and any other celebration this holiday season. Drive safely and remember to keep your hands on the wheel and not on that cell phone!

I look forward to your comments.



Friday, December 12, 2014

Merry Christmas!

It is hard to believe another year has come and gone and it is time to put out the annual Christmas lights. Some entire neighborhoods get the Christmas spirit and go all out trying to outdo their neighbors.

In one Christmas past, I have put out my annual online Christmas card complete with a contest about which set of Christmas lights people liked best. One year I put out three sets of lights with two of them very extravagantly organized to loud, well-organized spectacular music. I got another one the other day on my Facebook page, but decided not to show that and have another battle over my dueling light shows.

As I understand it, these light shows were often very destructive to entire neighborhoods, as people would get into traffic jams as they drove through neighborhoods videotaping the light shows. According to one report, there was more than one accident caused by distracted drivers and disgruntled neighbors.

I can only imagine what it must be like for neighbors who live next door to these over-the-top displays of one upmanship trying to make a bigger and better show of a waste of electricity!

As my little survey turned out, the people who responded most favorably to my display of lights gave this example as the winner!

Click on the image to make it larger:

From my understanding of the description when I got these lights several years ago, a man's wife was harassing him to put up the Christmas lights. Finally, after much consternation he decided to hang the lights the way he wanted to. I wonder if that couple is still married?

The great author, Maya Angelou once stated, "I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights."

I am guessing she is as much of an expert as anybody and how can you argue with Maya Angelou?

Please consider this my annual Christmas Card, Happy Kwanzaa Card, Happy Hanukkah Card or whatever religion you follow, that is if you do follow one at all, and enjoy the next few weeks right on through New Year's Day with your loved ones and special people doing holiday activities.

I would not want to make a certain Fox broadcaster angry with me an excuse me of assaulting Christmas! Notice I did not even type his name, as I do not believe he is worth it! I know that is not in keeping with the holiday spirit, but he is just one man who lives in a world of his own!

As always, I look forward to your comments.



P.S. Click on the Christmas Lights label at the end of this post and you can see my contestants from 2008. There were three good comments on that post worth reading as well.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What Is In A Name?

Have you ever thought about where names of automobile companies, insurance companies, retail stores or any other business get their names?

There is a commercial running for Dodge automobiles telling us the Dodge brothers worked for Ford Motor Company for 10 years before leaving and forming Dodge one hundred years ago in 1914. They felt the assembly line as Henry Ford was running it was not the way to go.

That got me thinking about where companies get their names. We know Henry Ford filed bankruptcy twice before he started his enormously successful Ford Motor Company. He made the assembly line run exceptionally well to make the Model T.

After a quick Google search, I found more information about Horace and John Dodge and their initial work in manufacturing a ball bearing for bicycles. The two brothers worked for a number of companies before the owner of Oldsmobile came knocking on their door seeking their advice and offering them a job. His name was Ransom Eli Olds.

Now we know where the name Oldsmobile came from. Horace and John Dodge were known in the automobile industry as very creative, industrious and hard-working young men. When Mr. Olds found out about these two young men, he hired them to design hundreds of engines, transmissions and axles for him over the next several years. It was Ransom Olds who started the first assembly line building automobiles in 1902. In 1903 Oldsmobile was manufacturing 30% of the automobiles made in the United States.

In 1872, in a completely different industry, Charles Alfred Pillsbury formed the company along with his uncle, John S. Pillsbury where they processed grain and had built a flour mill on the Mississippi River to transport their small grain and flour all the way down the Mississippi River. I think it is safe to say Pillsbury is known pretty much worldwide.

Pillsbury competed with General Mills, another Minneapolis-based company until 2001 when General Mills bought out Pillsbury. However, antitrust laws forced the companies to diverge and get rid of some of the Pillsbury products. General Mills kept the rights to refrigerated and frozen Pillsbury products, while dry baking products and frosting are now sold by Smucker under license.

We have all heard the Smucker's commercial which goes something like, " ... with a name like Smucker's, it has to be good."  James Monroe Smucker founded his company in 1897.

The list of people who have named their companies after themselves goes on and on. I am sure you would recognize more of them if I were to go on and list other industries. However, I think you get my point. I would like to hear companies in your part of the woods that were started by people and named after them. There are regional companies around the country, national companies and international businesses that do business around the world.

If you live in Minneapolis, and you go to the Macy's store in downtown Minneapolis, remember that used to be Dayton's.

Where would we be if the Mayo brothers had been named Johnson, Peterson or Anderson? The most famous medical clinic in the world would be called the Johnson Brothers Clinic. It just does not have the same ring.

I look forward to your comments and names that fit my little survey.



Sunday, November 30, 2014

Is Another Canal Necessary?

I have always contended I never know where my inspiration will come for my next post. This is another classic example! I saw an article on about building a new canal connecting the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea across Nicaragua, and it struck my interest. 

I started reading about the pluses and minuses of building a canal that is a 173-mile artificial waterway — which is three and one-half times the length of the Panama Canal. There are many advantages and disadvantages on both sides of building such an enormous project through dense rain forests, wetlands and Lake Nicaragua.

Without going into a lot of the details, suffice it to say, it is a very controversial project that is scheduled to start next month!

Here is a map of the proposed canal:

Click on the image to make it larger: has another great article on the Panama Canal, its rich history and the expansion that was started in 2007 and will bring it to a point where it will handle most of the large ships going through the proposed Nicaraguan Canal. That project will be finished in 2015. The new Panama Canal will have more locks, deeper and wider navigational channels.

The thing that struck me about building an all-new canal through Nicaragua, besides the environmental effect, is the area is a large hurricane area, which is prone to dramatic hurricanes, which could cause significant damage at any time! 

Like every project of any size it all boils down to money! When the United States turned over complete control of the Panama Canal to Panama in 1999, all of the tolls went with it. It is a significant amount of money each ship must pay to travel through the canal. Tolls for the largest ships can run $450,000! One can only imagine what the cargo on that ship must be worth.

I am positive that kind of money could help Nicaragua, which is one of the, if not the poorest country in Central America. It is an interesting dilemma.

Personally, I believe we should stay with the current Panama Canal with its new updates that will allow most mega ships through.

One last interesting fact I got from the article: "Some 52,000,000 gallons of fresh water are used each time I ship makes a trip through the Panama Canal. The water comes from Gatun Lake, which was formed during the canals construction by damning the Charges River. Within area of more than 163 square miles, Gatun Lake was once the world's largest man-made lake."

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to post this tonight before my annual dosage of tryptophan kicks in sometime during the Eagles-Cowboys game. I did a little research on the origin of our Thanksgiving holiday and found a video on the History Channel which revealed some interesting facts:

Starting in 1621 when the pilgrims shared their successful harvest with their Indian "hosts" it was not celebrated as a single feast but rather a three-day festival complete with contests, entertainment and other activities of the day.

The Indians brought five deer, so venison was definitely on the menu. Turkey was not. They also did not have pumpkin pie or potatoes, which had not been introduced to New England yet.

The pilgrims did not plan on creating an annual tradition and so it was not held for many years. In 1789, President George Washington declared it a national holiday for Thursday, November 26, 1789.

It did not become a national holiday until the 19th century when Sara Josefha Hale, more famous for writing, "Mary Had a Little Lamb" decided to re-create the menu from the first celebration back in the 17th century. She made her own substitutions with certain items and waged an almost thirty-year campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday.

In 1863, during the heart of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday a national holiday. It stayed that way until 1939 when President Franklin Roosevelt moved the holiday up one week to give depression era retailers an extra week for Christmas shopping.

The bill was widely criticized and in 1941 FDR moved the holiday back one week to its present location of the fourth Thursday of November.

As always, click on the image to make it larger:

It was not until 1989 when President George H.W. Bush gave the first presidential pardon of a turkey. That tradition remains today and every president since then has pardoned one or two turkeys on every Thanksgiving.

This year President Obama pardoned two turkeys. The video also stated the pardoned turkeys are given to a farm near Washington where they live out their remaining days in Turkey Heaven.

There, probably more information about our beloved Thanksgiving holiday than you ever wanted to know.

Now, I am off to Walmart to wait for their 6 PM opening on Black Friday! If you believe that, I have some land I will sell you in Canada that is full of black gold or better known as tar sand oil!

I look forward to your comments.



P.S. If you are one of those Black Friday shoppers who just cannot wait for the giant retailers to open up, be patient, courteous and think about what you are doing when you could be home buying all those important commodities online?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I Enjoy Watching A Skilled Craftsman At Work

Many of you know my cousin, Michael Patrick Bailey. He has a lifetime of picture framing and hanging experience. He came over last night and hung seventeen photographs, my 1955 calendar and one small poster! They had been in storage since I moved out of my house in 2011!

He did a yeoman's job in only two hours time! He hung photographs in several different places and I only had to supervise on a few occasions!

Mike hung a collage centered on a photograph that is one of Tom Wallace's favorite photographs of a high school basketball game between Luverne and Jasper in the District 8 tournament in 1973 in Worthington! Tom as been shooting since high school and has shot me on many occasions. He is now on staff at the Minneapolis StarTribune newspaper. The fun thing about Tom is he was the first person I met when I started school in Worthington partway through my eighth grade year. We have remained friends ever sense, and he has recently told me he wants to upgrade my profile photograph.

Jim Brandenburg mentored Tom when they worked for the Worthington Daily Globe. Yes, that Jim Brandenburg! It does not get any better than Jim for a photography mentor!

The irony in this picture is it features one of my favorite people and Mike Bailey's brother-in-law, Tom Brakke, boxing out his opponent and waiting to grab one of his many rebounds! His photograph is surrounded by smaller photographs of me as a baby on my first New Year's Eve and my second birthday photograph. The next photograph up the left side is a unique photograph my aunt, Dorothy Fish took of a picture of George Washington's profile on Mount Rushmore! Moving around is a photograph I took of a woman many years ago after she had been at a professional modeling studio that day, so she was all made up and it remains one of my favorite photographs.

Along the top are pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, which was taken by a friend of mine from way back in the dorm when I attended the University of California at Berkeley, Mike Ross. Next to that is a time-lapse shot I took of downtown Chicago that is rather unique. Moving down the right side are pictures of two little boys that had some inquisitive looks on their face when I shot them one day many years ago out at Valley Fair. Moving down the right side of the collage are two pictures of my favorite building to shoot, the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis. I must confess, Mike Ross took one of those as well.

Mike also put three concept photos on the other wall I took of the IDS Center.

In my bedroom, he hung three photographs from when I went downhill skiing in Winter Park, Colorado in 1980. He also hung my calendar from April 1955! It was a rather racy photograph at the time as the seductress on the calendar has a quote that reads, "Tell me more!"

It is often said, "The time to buy an antique is when you see it." That was the case with my calendar girl. When I saw it in an antique mall and it had January, February and March torn off, showing April. I had to buy it!

Mike was operating a framing shop at the time and I asked him to put my calendar in a period frame. He hit it perfectly!

There was one more sign Mike put up for me last night. He hung it by my front door where I will read it once again like I did in my house for many years. It reads, "HELP WANTED" on the first line and underneath it in slightly smaller letters it reads, "NO IRISH NEED APPLY"!

The irony in that simple sign is it was made by the Boston Sign Company on September 11, 1915! I had that hanging in my house by my door and have not been able to get most of these pieces hanging on the walls because there just was no room in an eight hundred square foot apartment!

I hang it by my door to remind me how my Irish immigrants were treated in the late 19th century and the early 20th century! It seems timelier today when we are discussing the immigrants and the situation about letting them continue to build our workforce! There was a time when Boston did not embrace the Celtics like they do today! It seems every minority group has taken its fair share of lack of being welcome in this country that is built on immigrants! I believe everyone should read the words at the base of the Statue of Liberty!

I still have more pieces I want to hang and Mike will be back to do that after the Thanksgiving holiday trip to be with his extended family. He has assured me he will not wait as long to hang the next batch of photographs as he did in this one!

I apologize for not getting any of the pictures up on this post. However, if you were ever at my house and saw photographs by my friends listed above and me, you know what his photographs I am talking about.

I promise I will post another photograph once Mike gets some of my other pieces up and show you what my apartment is starting to look like! We simply did not have a phone or camera to take photographs of Mike's work.

I look forward to your comments.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More About My Dreams

Once again my dreams have led me to write about them. I have written other posts about my dreams and how I intersect between my life before my accident and after. I have also written about my relationships with relatives who have passed on and how I dream about them.

I have done some research in the past on dreams, and as I understand it, the average dream is only about twenty seconds in length. It is difficult for me to imagine how much information can get in roughly twenty seconds!

I also listen to Jim Wand, a master hypnotist who helps me with my short-term memory issues. I have written about him in the past as well. Jim says we will dream about the last thing we think about before we go to sleep at night. I find that to be somewhat true because I do that on occasion, and other times I will dream about something that happened during the day.

Lately, I have been having issues with my sleep apnea and a new breathing machine. It seems I am not getting into the deepest REM sleep stage all the time and for the maximum length of time.

I understood there was only one REM stage. I recently found out there are several stages of REM sleep. If you are not aware of all the stages of sleep, REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. That is the stage when sleep is at its deepest and when we dream. I would suggest doing your own research on REM sleep to get a better understanding if you wish to know more.

I remember in my early twenties watching a news story on how many Americans suffered from sleep issues the older they got. I could not imagine what it must be like to not be able to get a good night sleep. Now, I know what that story was all about!

The reason I wanted to make this post was to discuss recent dreams and not necessarily what they mean, although I am sure a dream analyst would have opinions, that is not why I want to share with you what has been happening and see if you can relate.

I have been having dreams where I find myself in a terrible situation that could end in a life or death dilemma. Some of them have been pre-accident mixed with post-accident scenarios mixed with people who often are faceless. Fortunately, in these dreams, just before I am going to meet with my impending death or tragedy, I wake up only to be relieved it was just a dream!

Needless to say, I am always relieved at waking up! Sometimes, I will go back into my REM sleep and find myself back in the same situation. However, most of the time I will go into a completely different situation where my life is not threatened.

Recently, I had another sleep study done and they gave me a new machine with different settings for my inhalation and exhalation patterns. I do not know if that new machine has anything to do with my dreams, but I do find it rather coincidental they started when I got this new machine.

I did learn there are several new types of sleeping disorders machines besides CPAP and BiPAP. I do not have all of the names now, but my new machine has the acronym ADAP. I cannot tell you what it stands for now as I cannot find my information on the new machine.

I know everyone has had bad dreams, and I am not saying I have them every night. I wanted to ask you, my readers, and your thoughts on what is going on and if you ever have the same run of bad dreams. If you do, is there anything you can advise me on what to do to get out of that cycle? I would appreciate any advice you might have.

Maybe this episode of bad dreams will cycle out and stop on its own? Or, maybe it will continue and possibly get worse? I do not want to think that way; however, that is something I think about.

As always, I look forward to your comments and suggestions.



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mo'ne Davis Throws Like A Girl

That's correct, Mo'ne Davis throws like a girl! That is because she is a 13-year-old girl from Philadelphia who can bring the heat! In the Boy's Little League World Series on August 15th she pitched a complete game shutout for the Pennsylvania team to throw her second shutout in the first round of the Little League World Series in the game against a team from Nashville, Tennessee.

She also pitched a no-hit shut out in the game that qualified her team to go to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to play in the World Series! She did not have far to travel staying in her home state.

She throws 70 miles an hour, which is equivalent of a 90 mile an hour fastball the big boys can throw!

She looks and acts completely calm and relaxed as she strikes out one boy after another. She is doing only seventeen other girls have done, and that is playing in the Little League World Series! The amazing thing about her is how she is taking her celebrity status in stride. She is very calm for a 13-year-old.

Her mother, LaKeisha McLean, is "very proud" to see the success her daughter is having and how well she is handling it. She says Mo'ne has a great relationship with her teammates and they protect her when they go out.

Nobody messes with Mo'ne when the Taney Youth Baseball Association team in Philadelphia is around, which is making history as the first time the Taney Youth Baseball Association has made it to the Little League World Series! Her teammates protect her like a little sister.

Here is a photograph of Mo'ne pitching in her first game of the Little League World Series:

Click on the image to make it larger:

ESPN did a great story on her I had seen a couple of times. She has also been on all the news shows and featured interviews with several talk shows. She is very composed for young lady of only thirteen!

She also loves to play soccer and basketball. From interviews I have seen, it looks like she is even better at basketball and soccer then baseball! The good thing for her is there may very well be a college scholarship waiting for her to play college  basketball after she finishes high school.

The WNBA and NCAA scouts are supposedly already looking at her. The problem with a star at such a young age is they develop early and often the other children catch up to her physically.

That remains to be seen with this young phenom. It will be exciting to follow her career and see how well she does with one or more of the three sports.

The young lady has been on quite a ride since her Little League World Series success. She had the privilege of throwing out the first pitch of Game 4 of the World Series in Kansas City and spent some face time with Hall of Famers Frank Robinson and Hank Aaron. In my book, that would have been a huge highlight!

Here she has walking off the field after throwing out the first pitch in Game 4:

Again, click on the image to make it larger:

I know this is old news to some of you, but if you are not a big sports fan, this may be new news to you. I have been holding it for an appropriate time to do it; and since the Vikings had a bye week today seemed like a good time to post this.

I look forward to your comments.



Thursday, October 30, 2014

COLOSSAL Is Tremendous

I did something last night I do not usually do! That's right, I missed game seven of the World Series! Instead, I went to a play with my cousin, Victoria Patrick. The Mixed Blood Theatre started a play entitled COLOSSAL, and guess what it was about?

Football, imagine that? Victoria invited me to see the premier of the play about a young, college senior who breaks his neck playing football! You can start to see the similarities already.

COLOSSAL is the story of a senior defensive back with promise to be a professional football player the following year. As you are waiting in the lobby for the free performance, you hear the team warming up and the adrenaline is flowing like the beginning of every football game as the players are shouting through their drills on a football field complete with green floor, yard markers, working scoreboard and bleachers. They transformed the theater into a football field. That does not happen very often.

As patrons came in, the team dressed out in full football equipment less the jerseys were going through their pregame warm-ups. It was if you are at a college football game sitting next to the field. The stage and audience became one. It was very well done. The closest I had been to a football field was the night I got hurt more than forty-three years ago.

The play was divided into four quarters with the fully functioning scoreboard facing both sides of the field. In fact, as the players, who were all actors, went through their warm-ups one of the players came down right in front of me, looked me in the eye and winked. It was obvious to all the actors I was sitting on the end of the bleachers.

The play has two actors playing the lead role whose name was ironically Mike. One of the actors, Toby Forrest plays Mike after the accident. Torsten Johnson plays Mike before the accident and David Deblieck plays Mike's father. A host of other fine actors and dancers round out the cast.

As the first quarter begins, the team runs several plays and some dialogue starts to take place. Part way through the second quarter (just like in my accident) Mike gets hurt trying to make a tackle. Again, just like my accident!

As the play unfolds Mike interacts with the pre-accident and post-accident character. Several of the characters are portrayed as they go through their lives both before and after Mike's accident.

You watch Mike as he progresses through the grieving process and how it affects not only him but all of those around him. In my opinion, it really is done very well.

Without telling you any more, I suggest seeing it if you know anyone who has had any kind of football experience, be it as a player, coach, spectator or victim of a football accident of any kind.

As theater critics would say I give it a two thumbs up!

You certainly cannot beat the price.

I look forward to your comments.



Friday, October 17, 2014

25 Years Ago Tonight The World Stopped!

Actually, it was not the whole world but rather the World Series! At 5:04 PM Pacific Time the Loma Prieta earthquake hit about ten miles from Santa Cruz. That is where the name of the earthquake came from.

Reports differ in size from 6.9 to 7.2 on the Richter scale. It was felt on the San Francisco Peninsula and North up into Marin County. There is all kinds of information on it on the Internet. Videos, articles and opinions are abundant. I could spend an entire post discussing the effects of the earthquake, but that is not the point of this post.

If you were alive during the earthquake and live in California, you constantly live in a state of knowing anyone of the fault lines could fracture at any time.

Personally, I was watching the game with several friends who came over to watch Game Three of what was called, "The Battle of the Bay World Series." We were a bunch of frustrated, former baseball players living out our fantasies with a monthly meeting where we did our fantasy managerial and ownership trades, drops and adds of new players. It was great fun!

Just as everyone was settling in to watch Game Three and Al Michaels was beginning to talk about the game, everything went to black. We were all upset and cursed ABC because they were messing up our evening and taking away our baseball game. Notice, I said, "our baseball game." After all, nobody knew at the time what was going on, we knew the world revolved around us!

As we sat for a while, not quite knowing what to do as our evening unfolded, reports started flowing in about what had happened. Before we knew anything someone made a joke about there was an earthquake. It was a joke! Little did we know exactly what was happening!

When they started showing footage of the Bay Bridge section collapsing, the Nimitz Freeway collapsing on itself and San Francisco on fire we knew there really was an earthquake! All of a sudden, our joke was not so funny!

Nobody had smart phones and instant access to videos and cell phone technology was not there yet, so almost 62,000 people in Candlestick Park were left wondering what to do. As more and more information came out about the earthquake, Commissioner Fay Vincent had to decide what he was going to do about playing game three or evacuate the stadium.

I just watched an ESPN 30 for 30 episode showing players, fans, broadcasters, cameramen and interviews with people throughout the bay trying to figure out what they were going to do. If you have the interest, I am sure you can find that episode somewhere on your cable or Internet connection. It is quite fascinating to see just how far technology has come in twenty-five short years!

Just think how social media today would have changed the coverage of the way this earthquake was covered!

One of the most striking images for me was watching Candlestick Park's upper deck swaying up-and-down the circle as the quake hit. It is a good thing buildings, bridges and freeways are built earthquake resistant in that part of the country or we would have seen many more than sixty-three people perish, especially in an area where people were concentrated like Candlestick Park! Imagine what could have happened if the epicenter would have been closer to the ballpark?

The GOODYEAR blimp provided images like this were shown on television, people began to understand the gravity of the situation:

Click on the image to make it larger:

It was a night to remember. It was an experience when the entire country realized baseball is just a game. Earthquakes change your perspective about real-life in a hurry! I believe we all realized what is important at least for the week or so after the earthquake.

The World Series was put on hold for a week while the two stadiums were structurally repaired to make usable so the umpire could yell, "Play ball," again, and life was back to normal for some of us.

Please feel free to share your memories of this post.

I look forward to your comments.