Friday, February 27, 2015

Minnesota 96 — Michigan State 90!

WOW! What a game! I have written about my affinity for my alma mater's Men's Basketball Team on occasion on this blog before, most notably when they won the NIT tournament last winter. That was a fun five-game run to a national championship in the second best tournament in the annual rite of college basketball's March Madness.

Now, I want to post my last post of February with the Gopher's big overtime win over #25 ranked Michigan State last night in the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan. It was an extremely thrilling game when the Gophers looked like they were not going to win the game as they had a substantial deficit with only seconds to play in regulation.

With two three-pointers in the last 12 seconds, Carlos Morris had a chance to win the game with a free throw and could not convert to win the game 79-78. I do not understand how these young men can shoot three-pointers under pressure and cannot make free throws under equally pressurized situations!

Actually, I do understand and believe the three point shot should go the way of the dinosaur, but that is never going to happen because it makes game endings very exciting. There is a basketball axiom, "You live by the three and you die by the three." It is very true and everybody forgets how to shoot free throws because they are practicing their three-point shooting.

The Gophers have had a rough season losing six games by two possessions or less, so by beating Michigan State who is 19-9 this season, in the upper class of the Big Ten, coming off a four-game winning streak and playing at home against a statistically poorer team they thought Minnesota should be an easy twentieth win and fifteenth twenty-win season for coach Tom Izzo in his 20th season as the head coach in East Lansing.

Neither team shot free throws very well, as was evidence in the overtime when both teams missed crucial free throws and the missed free throw at the end of the game by young Mr. Morris.

I always have to remind myself when I watch college basketball games these student/athletes are only 18 to 22 years old. What ultimately won the game was their senior leadership shown by Andre Hollins and Mo Walker.

Click on the image to make it larger:

Go Gophers! At 17-12 on the season and 6-10 in the Big Ten conference they need to do well in their last two conference games against Penn State and Wisconsin to get a better seed in the Big Ten Tournament in two weeks in order to get to twenty wins to think about even going back to the NIT. That will not be an easy task since Wisconsin is leading the Big Ten and among the elites in the nation. Although, Wisconsin has shown they can be beaten because Iowa beat them yesterday.

Many analysts believe the Big Ten Conference is the deepest and most competitive conference in the country because any one team has not stood out as a dominant force since they all keep beating up on each other. The Big Ten Tournament will be an interesting and exciting five days to watch the first part of March Madness!
I look forward to your comments.



Saturday, February 21, 2015

What Did You Do Yesterday?

Several years ago I told myself I know there is always going to be something else waiting in line I have to deal with. Yesterday was the latest in the series of events that define my life.

Longtime readers of this blog and personal friends know I get issues every once in a while I get to address that are related to my injury and follow-up events, which detract from my life.

The last couple of weeks I have known there was another infection brewing in my urinary tract and/or pressure sores that are almost healed. My visiting nurse took a urine specimen into the lab to have a urinalysis done. I also had a complete line of blood work done.

I did not know the urinalysis needed a urine culture as well. When the results came back, my infectious disease doctor wanted a urine culture as well. Wednesday, my visiting nurse took a urine culture into the lab to have the urine culture drawn.

The results came back positive, so I had to spend yesterday afternoon and early evening in the hospital getting a midline IV inserted into my right arm and get my first dosage of Gentamicin.  Here is my right arm for the next ten days:

Click on the image to make it larger:

I have a constant urinary tract infection because of a fifteen-inch conduit called an ileostomy a doctor put into me in 1984. My current urologist told me the conduits he put in now are about three inches long. Much of his business is repairing the work my first urologist did on me in 1980 and again in 1984.

The butcher who installed my first ileostomy told me in so many words it would have to be replaced every few years. All he was doing was covering his tracks because my current urologist who also removed my left kidney told me when he puts in an ileostomy is in there for good!

He also told me he was afraid to take out my current conduit because it was scarred in so badly he was afraid I would not make it off the table if he tried to do the surgery! I appreciate his honesty and candor with me. He is the kind of guy with the confidence and ability all surgeons should aspire to.

As a result of having this bacteria producing conduit, I am pretty much always taking one, two or even three antibiotics to keep the powerful bacteria from growing. It is only when the heavy hitting bacteria grows I need to take an IV antibiotic which destroys all of the bacteria in my system and affects my body flora that I need to get IV treatment. When it destroys all the bacteria in my system, it takes a while to get some of the good bacteria growing again.

Of course an issue like this always happens on a Friday. We managed to get everything set up and delivered this morning so my visiting nurse could infuse me with the antibiotic, which will last for the next eight days. It takes an hour to infuse so I am stuck in one position for that hour while a little inflatable bubble releases the antibiotic into my system. You can see the needle on the right end of the midline.

Here is the fully inflated bubble:

Once again, click on the image to make it larger:

When the weather is as cold as it is today and supposedly tonight is supposed to be the coldest night of the year so far, I do not mind staying in. It will be interesting to see how I manage to function when I leave to go to the last two Gopher basketball games! Although, after today's performance I am not sure if I really want to brave the cold and see two more games like today's game!

I look forward to your comments.



Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Saint Valentine's Day

What we know today, as Valentine's Day did not always have such a celebratory aspect to it. According to the ancient Romans celebrated a day in the spring called Lupercalia, which was a raucous, ancient fertility festival.

It was not until centuries later the Christians decided to pick a day in mid February to Christianize the celebration. First of all, there was more than one Saint Valentine. There seems to be some confusion as to which Saint the celebration was named for. One of them was sentenced to death after he performed secret marriages when Emperor Claudius II declared it illegal to have his soldiers married because he believed young, single men performed as better soldiers.

That was in the year 269 when the Roman Emperor was having a hard time getting enough young men to fill his armies. He decided young, married men, especially those with children did not want to serve in his armies so he issued a decree not allowing men to be married to fill his armies in his quest to take over the world! Claudius II believed his soldiers would spend more time thinking about their families than their military responsibilities.

Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as Valentine's Day in 469. It was not until the 1300s it was associated with love and romance. It was at that time considered to be the beginning of when birds began their mating season.

Click on the image to make it larger: 

It was not until the 15th century greeting cards started appearing to show one's affection toward someone else. In the 17th century, the tradition had started in Great Britain and not long after that started to catch on in the United States. That was not until the 1840s mass-produced cards were printed.

Today, more than one billion holiday cards are sent in the United States. That is more than any other holiday except Christmas, far exceeding Mother's Day!  More than two hundred twenty million roses are produced for the holiday with 80% of those being red.

Altogether, Americans spend more than twenty billion dollars a year on Valentine's Day!  That is roughly one hundred thirty dollars per person per year. The most popular gifts are candy in the lead and flowers next; almost 20% of that money is spent on jewelry.

In a recent survey, as many as six million couples will get engaged on February 14!

There are many legends surrounding which Saint Valentine was the one the holiday is named after. One legend has Valentine being stuck in a prison where he was beaten and very few people ever got out of these horrible conditions. According to the legend, he fell in love with a young, blind maiden, presumably the warden's daughter. Using his medical knowledge, he cured her of her blindness and before his execution sent her a card signed, "From Your Valentine" hence beginning the practice of signing Valentine cards with those words.

On February 14, 269, Valentine was beheaded for his disobedience of the Emperor. The Catholic Church later canonized the priest.

It is not a very romantic story of how the holiday got its beginning and evolved over the years to where it is today, and who knows how much of it is true, but I got pieces of this post from a couple different sources. It is amazing what one can find on the Internet! As we all know, if it is on the Internet it has to be true!

Whatever your plans are for the day, if you are with your loved one, please enjoy your activities. If you are near or far from that special person, but not with them, keep them in mind and enjoy your day.

Who knows, today may be the beginning of your new healthy relationship? That box of candy or that bouquet of flowers may be just what she or he needs today.

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Jon Stewart Is Quitting The Daily Show

In a very heartfelt statement at the end of last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart announced he was going to be leaving the show after seventeen years! I could not believe my ears or eyes as he held back the tears and talked of his affinity for the show, the people involved in putting on the show and bringing a well scripted and extremely well researched show that made fun of not only politics, but current events, history and other topics too numerous to mention.

It is a sad day today at Comedy Central after Stewart made his unscripted announcement. It is a sad day for me because I always look forward to his humorous look at the events of the day from a perspective I admire.

I like the way he puts a humorous twist on very serious subjects from all over the world. He has not decided when he will leave for good, but it will be sometime this year.

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

On occasion, I stay up to watch The Daily Show; but usually I watch it the next day while I eat breakfast. It is always a great way to start my day. I will miss that. I have sometimes gotten material for speeches from his commentary or information from his guests.

Whatever he does, you know it is well researched and well written. Whenever I talk or listen to a comedian they will tell you comedy is the most difficult form of entertainment to write and perform. He does it incredibly well with a staff of writers who put on an incredible show!

A few years ago he was named the most trusted man in America. Walter Cronkite used to be that person for those of you old enough to remember when he did the nightly news. I found it incredible when that survey came out and a comedian was the most trusted anchor on television!

I also record David Letterman and watch his brand of extraordinary comedy. It will be interesting to see how Stephen Colbert fills his shoes. His shtick was getting a little old for me the last couple years and it will be interesting to see how he changes to fill an hour-long show five nights a week.

I do not pretend to understand entertainment contracts and getting in and out of them and have no idea how or when John Oliver has his contract set up, but I think he will probably be the heir apparent to Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. He did an excellent job for the several months Stewart was directing a movie. It is just my hunch, but I believe he would be a great successor to the show.

There is a whole generation today that believes Jay Leno was always the host of The Tonight Show. They have never even seen any episodes of Johnny Carson's show. Johnny Carson was the epitome of a late-night talk show host as was Jack Parr and Steve Allen before Johnny. He used to do a ninety-minute show and introduced us to many comedians including Jay Leno.

Whenever John Stewart leaves, he will leave with large shoes to fill.

I look forward to your comments.



Friday, January 30, 2015

Super Bowl XLIX Is Here

Can you believe it? After thirty-two teams started OTA's last summer, training camps on college campuses, four preseason games, sixteen regular-season games, the playoffs and we finally have reached the ultimate game with the two number one seeds from each conference and it is time to play one more game.

Many past Super Bowl's have not lived up to their hype. Many people will watch the game simply to watch the commercials. Often times, people readily admit they tune in simply to see which new commercial will make them want to go out and buy whatever product the advertiser is pushing.

According to Forbes magazine, "despite America's love affair with Super Bowl commercials — many marketers believe their enormous cost is not worth the price. This year, a 30-second spot is an eye-popping $4 million while a 60-second spot goes for a jaw-dropping $8 million." They contend it is worth every penny to the advertisers!

According to StubHub, the cheapest tickets available today are between nine and ten thousand dollars each! Just think, you can pay that kind of money to watch the Super Bowl live and then you would miss out on all the commercials! I guess you could record it and watch the commercials when you get home.

That is a dramatic change from the first few Super Bowls that did not even sell out. Tickets to that first game were twelve dollars! Remember, that was in 1967 and in 1967, the average cost of a new home was less than twenty-five thousand All well  A new car cost about $2,750. Admission to the movies was just $1.20. How times have changed!

In fact, Super Bowl I was not even called Super Bowl I until a few years later. It was simply known as the Super game. There was a great animosity between me upstart American Football League (AFL) and the well-established, big brother, National Football League (NFL). Nobody thought the AFL team should even be on the field with the winner of the NFL. Most people were predicting a blowout and as it turned out the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.

The second year was a repeat of game one and that game was won by Green Bay over the Oakland Raiders by a score of 33-14. Once again, it was proven that big brother was superior to the upstart American Football League.

It was not until the third championship game that it became officially the Super Bowl when brash, young Broadway Joe Namath led the New York Jets over the Baltimore Colts 16-7 in a game he guaranteed before the game that the AFL and NFL were finally merged and now have two conferences known as the American  Conference and the National Conference. More than anything else, that game forced the merger of the two leagues.

There have been many changes in names, locations, team additions and it has grown to be arguably America's favorite sport ahead of baseball. That is a discussion for another post.

Both sports are experiencing unprecedented increases in popularity, revenue, controversy and exposure. In many ways the national landscape is changing dramatically from the expansion and abundance of professional sports.

Click on the image to make it larger:

Here is an interesting bit of trivia for you. There are only two days every year when there is not at least one game going on in one of the four major league sports. I am talking about the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL. Those two days are the day before and the day after Major League Baseball's All-Star game every summer. Otherwise, you can watch at least one game every day of the year in those four sports. Whether or not you are a sports fan, you have to admit those are some pretty impressive numbers and as the value of the players, teams, stadiums, arenas and merchandise continues to rise professional sports plays a significant role in many American lives.

The Big Game between the defending Seattle Seahawks and the New England  Patriots is only hours away and hopefully proves to be everything it has been hyped up to be.

My big question is, "What am I going to do with my Sunday afternoons until baseball season starts?" Of course, that is forgetting there are always multiple NBA games on and I have solitaire on my computer. Of course, March Madness is not far off. That is always a great time for us college basketball fans!

I am ready for kickoff. I just hope it is a good game and nobody gets hurt.

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dean Kamen Has A New Project

You may recognize the name Dean Kamen as the inventor of the iBot, the wheelchair that stands up and works on gyros to place paraplegics in a standup position as well as doing things like climbing stairs. He is also the inventor of the Segway.

Mr. Kamen has never found a project he did not like to try and solve. He owns more than four hundred American and International patents on various things from medical devices to now a water purification product that could save millions of lives!

Now, at 63, Dean Kamen is working on what may be his biggest problem! He is certainly not slowing down just because of his age, and is truly a lifelong learner and teacher.

I just read an incredible article that was originally published in June 2014 in Popular Science magazine and is now available at this website:

It is an informative read and the numbers are staggering about what our world can be if we simply had clean water!

To think over one billion people, that is almost one-seventh of the world's population, does not have access to clean drinking water on a daily basis. I had heard about Kaymen's most recent adventure in a news story on the radio on my way to acupuncture yesterday.

After doing a little research on Dean Kamen and knowing him from his past adventures, I found this article. According to the article, “Fifty percent of all the people in the developing world suffer from waterborne pathogens,” he says. “We’d empty half the beds in all the hospitals in the world if we just gave people clean water.” The Slingshot won’t be the solution for all of those people, Kamen says, but he sees no reason not to strive for that.

It seems the product has been in development as far back as 2004, but is only now coming to fruition. The thing I like about the project and its implementation is the involvement of Deka Research and Development (Kamen's company) and his partnership with Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola was on board from the very beginning after Kamen gave his pitch back in 2004.

The device is known as the Slingshot after the mythical slingshot, which with David slew Goliath. He is literally trying to rid the world of people getting sick and dying from drinking water. If you are reading this, chances are your water is safe. Imagine being able to hook one of these Slingshots up to a hose and getting clean water from contaminated water filled with all kinds of waterborne impurities!

Here is a Slingshot, which appears at the end of the article:

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

The article explains much better than I can how the Slingshot works.

Like many inventors before him Dean Kamen sees a problem and then finds a solution. I am fascinated with people like that! He is a modern day Thomas Edison or Nikola Tesla.

Imagine if we could empty hospitals by one half and save millions of lives every year simply by giving people good, clean water!

I look forward to your comments.



Friday, January 16, 2015

The NFL's Final Four Is Sunday

If you are not aware and do not follow football, this post is not for you. If you are a football fan and watched Ohio State beat up on Oregon Monday night for the NCAA first-ever, bona fide playoff National Championship, this Sunday you will find the two teams who will be making the trip to the Super Bowl.

This weekend we move up a level to the NFL and the really huge money and egos. It will be interesting to see what controversies come this weekend because certainly there will be one or more game changing calls that will determine somebody getting more millions of dollars then somebody else.

The first game between the Green Bay Packers and last year's winner, Seattle Seahawks starts at 2 PM central time. That is for the National Conference Championship. The winner of that game will play the winner of the 5 PM game, which finds the Indianapolis Colts take on the New England Patriots.

I guess they had to move the times back an hour for the beginning of each game to get in an extra hour of analysis and commercials before the games start. I am sure there will be several human interest stories and heartwarming commercials sprinkled in between so many people telling us what is going to happen in each game. Call me cynical, but I can do without all of the pregame analysis and prognostications.

The winners on Sunday will win the right to represent their conference in Super Bowl XLIX. That is 49 for you non-Greek number experts. Personally, I liked Super Bowl XL.

They will get their respective conference championship trophies after their win on Sunday; but the real prize is the Lombardi Trophy which is named after the famed Green Bay and Washington coach, Vince Lombardi pictured here:

It is the ultimate symbol of superiority in America's classic example of testosterone run amok.

For you people who do not like football because of the injuries and the toll it takes on its players, I completely understand your perspective and find it offensive. However, despite an instant in time of football changing my life forever, I still love to watch good football games on any level.

It disgusts me every time I see a player get hurt. Unfortunately, it happens far too often and I am not going to make this post a commentary on my feelings of how dangerous the game is.

The thing that does bother me about football and all professional sports is the gambling that goes on with the television sports shows. I understand a lot of money changes hands legally and illegally in Nevada and New Jersey. I am not naïve enough to think it does not go on illegally around the country, but it does disgust me how gambling is promoted on such a wide basis via television and social media. 

With all that being said, my favorites for this Sunday are Seattle over Green Bay and New England over Indianapolis. I have my reasons, and that is a much longer explanation to add to this already long post. Suffice it to say I already have my Super Bowl favorite picked out as well.

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Friday, January 9, 2015

Ohio State Versus Oregon

Finally, we are going to crown a National Champion in NCAA Division 1 College Football, in the first ever playoff system in college football.

Until this season, there has been polls that determined who was the champion. There is always been a controversy over who the exact champion really was. This season that all changed under the NCAA and college football has a true class system.

Ohio State, Oregon, Alabama and Florida State were decided to play in the playoffs on New Year's Day. All year long many as the best conference in the country considered the SEC or Southeastern Conference hands down! Alabama ended up as the number one seed in the tournament. Florida State, from the Atlantic Coast Conference, was seeded three. Oregon was the number two seed and Ohio State was the fourth to be invited to the playoffs.

For those of you that are avid college football fans this is all old news to you. However, for those of you who do not spend a lot of time watching and following big-time football I will do my best in explaining what has happened to this point in the process.

In the 2013 football season, Florida State was named the mythical National Champion. I say mythical because there was no way other than the Associated Press polls and the coaches’ polls determine the champion with a voting process. Many people were upset with that process, so this year it was finally determined it was time to have a playoff in place.

All year long, the analysts and prognosticators deemed Alabama as the best team in the country with Florida State a close second. They each won their respective divisions in the Southeast Conference and were thought by many to play in Monday night's game for the national championship.

Something happened to that expected game on New Year's Day. Somebody forgot to tell the Ohio State and Oregon football teams they were simply window dressing and play toys for the eventual big game between Alabama and Florida State.

Understand the Big Ten Conference and Pac 12 Conference were considered inferior by all of those people who were "in the know" so to speak. In fact, the Big Ten and Pac 12 proved to the nation football was played in other areas of the country besides just the South and Southwest.

As a long time Big Ten fan, it is fun for me to see the two teams playing for the national championship come from the West Coast and the Midwest.

I am split in my decision about who I want to see win Monday night's game. On one hand, I want to see Ohio State, another Big Ten team win. On the other hand, Oregon has never won a national championship and I would like to see them win this too. Either way, I am happy to see how so many of the experts pick a team outside the SEC.

I am especially glad to see Florida State not in the championship because of the behavior many of their players exhibited as they left the field after losing to Oregon on New Year's Day in the Rose Bowl.

If you did not see it, it is customary for players from both sides come together at midfield, shake hands and congratulate each other on a hard-fought game. Remember, Florida State won the championship last year and had won twenty-nine straight games. I believe that ties and NCAA record for third longest winning streak in NCAA football history.

Many Florida State players walked off the field in a blatant, classless act of defiance that can only be called what it is, classless, as a bunch of spoiled, arrogant little boys walked off the field without showing any respect to a much better Oregon team that had just beaten them 59-20 in a route that was fun to watch!

Ohio State had a rougher time with Alabama. However, in the end, Ohio State beat the Crimson Tide 42-35 in what was a classic college football game with a fantastic finish!

If your team won or lost and you have someone to root for in Monday night's game, I only hope it turns out to be a classic! I will be watching.

I look forward to your comments.



Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Top 10 Photos for 2014

It is that time of year again when everyone talks about their Top 10 of the year. I want to post my 10 favorite photographs of 2014. There are many to choose from and they come from different places. Several have already been posted on this blog, others come from friends who have sent me old photographs from days gone by and others come from my Facebook page. Suffice it to say they come from a variety of sources.

I want to start with my all-time favorite photograph, which was sent by me to a friend in an email. Many of you who have known me for a long time know this photograph very well. After this first one, they are in no order as far as favorites are concerned.

This photograph was taken in our driveway/basketball court about the middle of August 1971. It was taken about three weeks before my accident and my little sister, Tammy's third birthday. The dogs belonged to my brother, Rick and they were Pepe and Chief.

Like I wrote earlier, the rest of these pictures are in no particular order:

I was not quite two years old and getting ready to chase Grandpa Smith's pigs. As mom was known to do, she would take several pictures before and during her children and grandchildren were about to get in trouble! In the next picture in this series, I am chasing the pigs around the yard! Notice my uncle Terry leaning on a baseball bat in front of the hog house. He was about five years old and probably should have stopped me but I believe knowing him, he thought it would be more fun to watch me get in trouble!

The next photograph was taken when I was about four. It is now my Profile photograph on my Facebook page:

Of course it is a clip-on bow tie! It was taken at Montgomery Wards in Brookings, South Dakota.

This next photograph was taken when we lived in Revillo, South Dakota when I was three or four years old. These next two photographs are taken from my Mike's Photos Album on my Facebook page. I probably would not have broken my neck had I been wearing a facemask like that:

This photograph was taken of my father when he took the job at Worthington State Junior College in 1968. He was only 34 years old and had taken the leap from high school coaching to his junior college coaching career. He was hired as the second counselor along with Bruce Traphagan, and the track and cross country coach. He spent eight years in Worthington before he transferred to Rochester Community College where he spent seventeen years as a coach and teacher. I really like this picture!

This next picture was taken several years ago at a middle school about fifty miles outside of Minneapolis: I like the expressions on the students' faces and especially the teacher. I was having fun with the boy just to my right with the light shirt and dark ring around the collar:

That picture was one of my Cover Photos on my Facebook page in 2014.

This photograph was just taken by my cousin, Mike Bailey, after he hung several photographs in various spots throughout my apartment. First of all, let me tell you a little history about these photos. The wagon on the left was at my grandmother and step grandfather Grieme's farm located on the edge of White, South Dakota. It was taken many years ago and has significant value to me. I took this photo close to thirty years ago. The pig feeder trough going up into the wagon was a wood shop project of dad's when he was in high school! I am especially fond of it because it is all gone now and could never be repeated.

The barn on the right was located across the road from mom and dad's house outside Rochester. I woke up one morning and saw a dense fog over the valley. I had tried to take that photo several times in bright sunlight and never caught it like I wanted it. That morning, I called mom and dad in and they got me out of bed before the fog lifted so I could get that shot.

That photograph won second place at the Sister Kenny Art Show for photography one year and is hanging in houses and businesses from the East Coast to the West Coast. I am very proud of that photograph and the fact mom and dad got me up so quickly so I could get down to shoot that barn. It is another photograph that can never be repeated because the barn is gone and a new house is sitting there now.

This next picture was taken by my friend, Dave Heidtke, on my way into my home away from home nineteen or twenty afternoons or evenings every winter at Williams Arena, the home of our Golden Gophers! Watching the Gophers is what keeps me in Minnesota during these long, cold, winters! I have had season tickets since I was a student at the University of Minnesota in the mid-70's!

This next photograph was also on my Facebook Profile for several months in 2014. It was taken in 1975 for an article in the Worthington Daily Globe entitled "You Never Get Used To It" and was about me getting used to my accident four years after I got hurt. I have titled it "Angry Mike" and some people do not believe I looked angry!

What do you think; do I look angry?

Let me end this 2014 pictorial on a high note: I know I started this out with pictures from 2014. I have always said, "Learn the rules, then break some." I am going to break one of my rules and put in a photograph from my first New Year's in 1956:

What do you think? Do I look a little angry in this one too? We were living on Larson's farm and I was cold. I was upset because I wanted to get warmed up and mom had to take a picture of me bringing in the New Year with a toilet paper sash that was written 1956 in lipstick. I promise I will be much warmer this year bringing in the new year sleeping on my 90° waterbed!

There are many more photographs I could have included in this post; however, there is just not room for all of them. I am going to break my rule one more time and include one of my favorites from the year that my first friend in Worthington sent me as he was cleaning out an archive of decades of photographs. In the summer of 1974, my sister, Kathleen and Tom Wallace took the train to Berkeley to  ride back with me for my summer vacation. Tom sent me three photographs he found in his archives. I want to share this one with you because it is a classic photograph from 1974, and it needs to be on this list!

California dreamin' at its best, 1974! The two women on my lift were personal care attendants. We dropped them off because they wanted to go back east. They wanted to go someplace like Reno or Fresno, you know, back east!

One more comment: to enlarge all of the pictures, simply click on the photo.

Happy New Year everyone. May you all have a great 2015!

I welcome your comments.

Until next year,



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.