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.



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I Voted Absentee — Again!

Once again, I exercised my Constitutional right and civic responsibility and voted absentee today! I am not sure if I am going to be able to get to vote on Election Day, so since I was across the street getting my new tabs for my van, I decided to vote today!

I am glad I did. I was the only one there, and had to search out a poll worker to help me vote. The signs are clearly marked and when I got to the place I was supposed to be, there was no one there. It was only about 4:10 PM, so I knew I had another twenty minutes before City Hall closed.

They were not exactly ADA compliant, (Americans with Disabilities Act), but I imagine they will be on Election Day. Since I was the only one there, they bent over backwards to make sure my experience was a good one. I was done in less than ten minutes. I am guessing many people will not have that same experience come Election Day!

Having voted absentee before, I knew what to expect and it lived up to my expectations.

I had to mention my sister, Tammy Patrick, and her involvement in the Voter Registration work she has done all over the country. It fell on deaf ears as the poll worker was focused on getting me voted.

I am positive not all of the polling places around the country will be like the one I voted at today.

My mother likes to tell a story about riding along when Tammy was the Federal Compliance Officer for Maricopa County in Arizona and had to take a voting machine to an Indian reservation the evening before the election, and pick it up again at the end of the day. It is a great story about how our indigenous people had never voted before in their own country. It is a great story about Tammy's dogged commitment to seeing everyone who is entitled to vote gets to vote.

There I go, wandering from my point again. As my longtime readers know, I have a tendency to do that. Let me get back to my original point of this post. I want to get this done today before it goes out to my subscribed blog readers, so let me wrap up this post.

We have all been told ad nauseam every election cycle to make sure we vote. I cannot end this with doing the same thing and stressing to every one of you to make sure you vote on or before November 4th!

The midterm elections are always a low voter turnout. We need to change that trend! I cannot encourage you enough to do your civic responsibility and make sure you exercise your constitutional right and vote!

Here is visual proof I voted today:

If my nose is not large enough for you now, you can always click on the image and make it larger!

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Monday, October 6, 2014

Mike Caught A Big Fish!

Mike Smith caught himself one big halibut a few weeks ago! Now, according to a quick Google search of the worlds largest halibut ever caught, this 63 inch, approximately 130 pound halibut is a mere baby!

According to the Weekly World News newspaper on August 16, 2013 the world's largest halibut had to be towed in because the boat the Norwegian fishermen were fishing from was too small to handle the size of the fish!

 That halibut weighed in at 513 pounds, breaking the old record of 419 pounds!

Mike is an avid salmon fishermen and seldom do they fish for halibut.

Here is a picture of Mike's prize possession:

Click on the image to make it larger, as if you really want to!

To give you a little history on why I am posting this particular fish story is Mike is my cousin and makes his home with his wife and new baby girl in Anchorage, Alaska. Mike's given name is Michael Patrick Smith. He is the firstborn boy of Terry and Toni Smith, of Sterling, Alaska.

His father, Terry is three years older than me and gave Mike the fishing bug at an early age.

Between hunting pheasants every fall at the home farm my uncle Bob has kept in the family and turned it into a pheasant hunting, deer game preserve or fishing salmon and other game fish in Alaska, I do not know what they love more. I have a feeling it is whatever is in season is their favorite!

I am excited to see several of them at the annual Smith hunting trip in about a month. This photograph was taken several years ago and shows my uncles Terry, Bob, Bill and the youngest of the family, Tim. It is one of my favorite photographs:

 Click on the image to make it larger:

Terry and Tim will come down from Alaska and Bob will come up from Mississippi.  Bob has been working on the barn to restore it to its original 1901 condition and turning into a hunting lodge. He does not like it when I refer to it as a man cave, so I better call it a hunting lodge. There will be several more family members joining the hunt and lots of stories will be spread in the ten days they will be hunting.

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Friday, September 26, 2014

Details, Details, Details!

I am constantly telling my Personal Care Attendants (PCA's) it is all about the details! Last Friday the details came back to bite me in the butt to the tune of one hundred seventy dollars! One hundred thirty-eight for a tow to the Minneapolis Impound Lot and thirty-two for a parking ticket!

I was on my way to an elpisenterprises board meeting on the twenty-third floor of 150 South Fifth Street, in downtown Minneapolis. Since I cannot park in parking lots if I am alone because I cannot pull the tabs out of the dispensers, I pulled in to the last meter on the corner of Fourth Street and Marquette. I did not bother to look up and see the sign that read, "No Parking 4 to 6 PM." That was a big mistake! With my handicap plates, I am able to park at a meter for up to four hours. I knew I would not be in the meeting that long, so I decided to park there.

I left the meeting a little after 4:30 only to watch the tow truck pull away with my van a block and a half ahead of me. I had this sickening feeling I was going to have a very difficult time getting home.

I knew that tow truck was taking my van to the impound lot, so I took off across downtown Minneapolis during rush hour and people walking to the Twins game.

My chair has six speed settings and C is the fastest. You have heard people talk about multiple-choice tests and questionnaires, and they will tell you to, "Always answer C." That is the way my power wheelchair is. I clicked on C and took off the 1.4 miles to the impound lot. I cannot tell you how many times I told people as I was approaching them, "Passing on your left." I always do that so people do not get scared when I go speeding past them. It is also fun to watch oncoming pedestrians as they oftentimes do not know what to do as they approach me.

I asked a couple people who were waiting at bus stops if they knew if the bus stopped at Glenwood by the impound lot? One man told me, "That's a long ways. You can't get there in a wheelchair." He was not sure which bus I would take; he just knew I could not get there in a wheelchair.Obviously, he did not know my wheelchair!

Once I got on the bridge going over the freeway, I knew I was home free. I saw a gentleman in an SUV that was marked City of Minneapolis Protective Services. I managed to flag him down and he was very helpful. He got on his walkie-talkie right away and asked someone about the impound lot and their hours. He told me they were open until 11 PM. That eased my mind considerably as I knew I would not have to hurry and get there by 5 PM.

I only had a few blocks to go and as I was turning off Aldrich Avenue, I saw the tow truck right in front of me. He was turning to go down Colfax and enter the impound lot. I got a charge out of that! I almost beat the tow truck who was towing my van to the impound lot!

I did catch up as he was entering the lockdown area. I asked the woman in the booth if she would ask him to park the van somewhere where I could get in the passenger side door so I could get in my ramp. She was less than cordial and I am sure not in a good mood because of the angry clientele she deals with all day long. If you have ever been to an impound lot you know they can be places you do not want to spend any time! 

I was pleasantly surprised when I went inside to settle up with the towing fee to get my van back. There was only one woman in the waiting area with me! I could not believe there was nobody in there. The only problem was I could not get the door open! I believe  that is in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

I approached the first window and started to talk to the man on the other side that was also not wearing a smile. 

He told me what I needed to get my van and when he asked for my ID which I cannot get out of my wallet. My wallet would not fit under the window and he was not willing to come around and help me get my ID and a credit card.

Fortunately, my new friend, Allison, who was there to get her car because it had been towed after she had a little too much to drink the night before. I love to start conversations with complete strangers and get their stories. She was more than willing to tell me her story.

Allison took my ID and slid it under the window. After a quick check of finding I had no outstanding warrants, the nice man behind the window passed my ID back for Allison. Then she gave him a credit card and helped me through the entire process.

The nice man behind the window told me to go over and wait by that door and another nice person would come and take me to my van. I did as he instructed.

When I was waiting at the door a woman drove up in another nice SUV and told me she would take me to my van. I told her, "No you won't, because I cannot get in your vehicle. If I could, what will we do with my wheelchair?"

She agreed and told me to just follow her through the lot. My van was parked in the far lot and she told me to take these papers and give them to the first nice lady at the exit to the lot. 

I told her I would not be able to pass them to the first nice lady, and asked her if she would please go ahead of me and pass the papers through to my first new friend. She was more than willing to help me. She was very nice and very helpful.

We got back up to the first nice lady to check out and my new friend handed her my papers. Then she took off! She left me alone with the first nice lady and I knew I was in trouble as she wanted to hand back my papers. I told her I could not reach them and asked her if she would put them on my passenger seat?

She would not get out of her booth, so she threw the papers through my window and fortunately landed on the seat. I did not look back at her and did not say thank you. I guess I was being rude. That was not nice of me. In my defense, I was in no mood to extend any courtesy to the impound lot employees. I was just glad to be out of there and have my little urban orienteering adventure finally over.

The bottom line is, "Pay attention to the details!"

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Monday, September 15, 2014

You Can Go Home!

We have all heard people say, "You can't go home."

That simply is not true, at least for me. I did it again last weekend when I went home to Worthington, Minnesota for their annual King Turkey Day celebration. I love going to Worthington on Turkey Day weekend because I always run into people I knew both before and after my accident.

Plus, there is always the added attraction of meeting new people at any turn. I had another goal this year and that was to sell more of my books and schedule speaking engagements. That way, I could deduct my mileage, lodging and related expenses for my trip.

My goal was achieved before I even checked in to the local AmericInn where I stay pretty much every year. I booked my room a year in advance every time I check out, so I am set for next year.

I no sooner got in the door and a gentleman standing in front of me turned and asked me, "Are you Mike Patrick?"

I chuckled a little bit, and replied, "Yes I am. How do you know me?"

He replied, "I've heard you speak a couple times and you are very good."

I chuckled again a bit and said, "Thank you. When and where did you hear me?"

He said, "I've heard you twice. I heard you at teacher workshop in Mankato when I was teaching in Wells. You also came and spoke at our high school when I was still at Wells. I'm retired now. But, I often think of things you said and remember many of your direct quotes."

I thought that was pretty cool he remembered some of my quotes!  I was at Wells-Easton High School April 17, 1990! He was quoting me from a speech I gave more than twenty-four years ago! I thought that was pretty cool!

Then he said, "The problem isn't the issue, the issue is how you deal with the problem." That is my quote verbatim!

Then he told me he is retired now and is a member of the school board. I told him it was time to come back. Since he has heard me before, I gave him one of my books "I Still Believe In Tomorrow" and asked him to give it to the superintendent and/or principal at their new high school. He asked me how much he owed me for the book and I told him nothing since it was a promotional piece and I gave them away if I was going to get a speech out of giving away a book. We chatted for a while and the story could fill the rest of this post.

When his wife had finished the check-in process, I came up to the counter and the woman behind the counter told me she was at the game the night I got hurt and remembered it like it was yesterday! She wanted to know if she could get one of my books. She wanted it for personal use and said she wanted to pay for it!

I have not even checked in to my room and I had already accomplished my goal of booking a school and selling a book! I was off to a good start!

Once we got checked in, Robert, my personal care attendant, (PCA) and I went to get something to eat so I could take off and start my quest to build on my early success.

I started towards the Nobles County Fairgrounds because they have a beer garden and other King Turkey Day activities in the facilities. I stopped in to the Activities and Antiques building just to look around and kill some time. Before I got there, I ran into Worthington's mayor, Alan Oberloh. I tease him because he is not your typical small-town mayor. He has a beard that could fit him right in as one of the guitar players for ZZ Top! He invited me to come to the Mayor's Brunch the next morning at 9:15 AM and he would give me a couple minutes of microphone time to pitch my book.

I told him I did not know if I could make that because of the timing and wanting to be downtown for the 10K race at 10 o'clock. As it turned out, I did go to the brunch and gave him a hard time about making me kiss a turkey when I spoke as their guest speaker two years ago. There is another blog post back two years that talks about that whole traumatic experience and the lasting affects it has had on me!

I had brunch with my favorite Worthington detective and his wife, and then took off early to get downtown. I got to see several friends, family members and long time, lifelong runners as they started the race and watched them finish after running around Lake Okabena.

My day was just beginning and I spent a good time in the early fall sun which gave me a nice red face, large forehead and rather sore top of my head!

I spent the evening crashing the Class of 1974 and 1964 reunions connecting with many old friends who many wanted to tell me stories of how my accident affected them.

One of my long time friends, Sheila Hawkinson, took the bull by the horns, grabbed several books and worked both rooms to sell dozens of my books! She was tremendous! Many photographs were taken on peoples' iPhones and Androids with lots of smiles and even some tears as cameras were in my face all evening.

I asked many people to send me photographs for my Screen Saver Collection and if you are reading this, please send those photographs either to my email address or put them on my Facebook page. Thank you.

There are already several photographs on my Facebook page. One of them is this photograph of Cindy Taylor-Moll and me at the 1974 Reunion: 

Click on the image to make it larger:

I could go on and tell you many more stories about going home and what a pleasure it always is to go to Worthington. This is a long post, so I will not keep you any longer. Let me say, "Don't believe people when they tell you can't go home."

Sunday morning found us stopping at one of my favorite TACO JOHN'S eateries to load up with plenty of calories to drive two hundred miles back home with another great King Turkey Day experience behind me. It is always hard to leave Worthington because there was people I wanted to see and did not and the conversations I did have were never long enough.

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



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Domestic Violence Is Never The Answer!

Domestic violence has been going on since men and women started cohabitating. That does not make it acceptable behavior. When one considers one out of every four women will experience some sort of domestic violence perpetrated on them by often times their own partner, that statistic boggles the mind!

The newly-releasd elevator videotape being shown ad nauseam on ESPN and other cable stations is indeed disgusting. Granted, we do not know what the couple was arguing about; however, we do know arguments should never be settled with one's fists!

The NFL and Baltimore Ravens were quick to act in suspending and even releasing Rice from his contract after watching the videotape of Ray Rice hitting his then-fiancée Janay Palmer. The couple was married a short time later.

Janay Rice has come out with a statement saying, in part, the incident was her fault. It should be noted the couple have known each other since they were teenagers. They only started dating after he got his first NFL contract. They also have a child together.

I just saw breaking news on ESPN that the NFL offices received the elevator videotape in April. The Commissioner, Roger Goodell, adamantly denies anyone in the NFL offices seeing this videotape before two days ago.

Terry O'Neill, the president for the National Organization for Women (NOW), has made this statement. "The NFL has lost its way. It doesn't have a Ray Rice problem; it has a violence against women problem. The only workable solution is for Roger Goodell to resign."

The interesting thing for me about this whole incident is how pieces of information are slowly trickling out as the TMZ video has hit the networks. What I find interesting is how angry the entire court of public opinion is towards Rice — and justifiably so. Eventually, he will be judged by a jury of his peers. That is, if it goes that far.

The thing is, this kind of violence towards women and girls happens all the time and often times goes unreported, or the woman or girl is made out to be the perpetrator instead of the victim. That is just wrong.

We hear excuses all the time about the victims were asking for it because of the provocative clothing they were wearing, suggestive speaking they were exhibiting and many other excuses to blame the victim.

According to this page on, "Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults. Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men. Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence. Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner."

If you click on the Safe Horizon link above, it will take you to a page that is full of fascinating facts on the issue and how it relates to families, homelessness and a number of other consequences I did not know. I found the page incredibly helpful in helping me make this post.

In doing additional research, I found racial and ethnic groups are anywhere from one-third to one-half times more likely to be abused than are white women. There is also a dramatic socioeconomic factor at play in these numbers. In other words, poor women and girls of color and minority ethnic groups are more likely to be abused, and most of the time the abuse comes inside the home.

Another interesting point is women and girls are not the only victims of domestic violence as the statement from Safe Horizon's quote points out. Obviously, it is not as prevalent as women being abused, but it should be noted it also takes place. I am guessing here, but I would be willing to bet those cases are even less likely to be reported than when women are being assaulted.

The issue is not going to go away. It always amazes me how many events have a 24-hour news cycle and then it is dropped until the next time that type of event happens. It will be interesting for me to watch and see how this plays out over the next several months because, after all, we are talking about the NFL and everyone knows "Boys will be boys." (Know I say that with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek).

As always, I look forward to your comments.