Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pacemaker Number Four Is Imminent

Last Thursday I had my acupuncture appointment at 1 PM with my pacemaker check at 2 PM, so I was feeling pretty good, nice and relaxed, when the technician put the little wand over my shoulder and on top of my pacemaker. She turned the machine on and the last two checks I have had of my pacemaker from three months ago and six months ago showed the battery had about a 30% life expectancy yet. Both of those technicians told me I would probably have to get a new pacemaker sometime towards the end of 2015.

I was completely shocked when the needle came up to only 10% and was red indicating my battery has deteriorated dramatically in the last three months! It needs to be replaced in the next month.

In late 1996, I was diagnosed with a lower heart block and needed my first pacemaker. That pacemaker lasted about five years. In early 2002, number two had to be replaced and had lasted about six years. That is the one I have my attendant holding in the picture.

Then, in 2008, when this picture was taken, they inserted my third pacemaker. They told me it should last about ten years. Seven years is a long ways short of ten years, but what am I going to do?

Click on the image to make it larger: 

I have a Medtronic pacemaker with Guidant cables. The technician told me it would be an in and out same-day replacement unless the cables need to be replaced. If they do, then I will need to stay overnight one night. The cables concern me because they are the original cables from 1996. I am guessing they will have to be replaced.  I do not know how long those cables are good for.

For you longtime readers of this blog, you know I have often contended I do not know what the next thing will be coming down the line; I know it will be something and this is it! I hope the next thing waits a little while!

I know some of my posts are not fun and relaxing. I am just keeping it real. It is issues like this that keep me going. If you read my book, you know the doctors told my family in the fall of 1971 my life expectancy was nine years! At 43+ years I am still here and with another new pacemaker it should keep me going a while longer.

If you are not aware of my voice recognition software, Dragon Dictate, the microphone in front of me is how I operate all of my posts. That is why sometimes I can go on for long periods of time because all I have to do is talk and the words appear on the page. For those of you that know me well, you know I like to talk!

I will keep you informed about how this next pacemaker installation goes and probably have something to say about it in another post.

By the way, I have this pacemaker in the picture attached to my briefcase with a little rawhide strap and use it as a teaching tool when I give presentations. I wonder what the next pacemaker will look like?

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Erin go Bragh!

Ireland forever is the translation of Erin go Bragh. It is often said on March 17th, "There are two types of people. The people that are Irish, and the people that wish they were."

I am curious about just who was Saint Patrick? So, guess what I did? That is correct! I did a little research on something called the Internet. I found some interesting facts about the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. I found all kinds of information on that changed my view of who and why we celebrate on March 17th every year.

Check out this link and watch a short video on the life of the most beloved Saint in Irish history. As it turned out, he was not Irish at all. The story we have all heard about him driving the snakes out of Ireland was not true. Imagine that? Something on the Internet has taught us something we always took as fact and proved us wrong!

I have always contended one of my goals is to learn at least one new thing every day. There is one fact I learned and it is barely noon! I have the rest of the day to learn more new stuff! I wonder what it will be?

Check out this video on and see a brief summary of Patrick's life. He was born in England to a wealthy family and at an early age his family moved to Ireland.

Check out this video and see for yourself:

--> I find the video and subsequent article very enlightening in light of how Patrick started his life in England and at age sixteen Irish pirates kidnapped him. You know, the pagan Celtic kind!

I found a sign that has hung by my door so I can read it every day on my way out of my house and now my apartment. They say the time to buy an antique is when you find it. This is not my sign, but it is just like mine:

Click on the image to make it larger:

My sign reads in small letters on the lower left, Boston Sign Co. The lower right reads, September 11, 1916. 

I do not know if my sign is an original or if it is a reproduction. It does not matter to me because the sentiment is the same. Many of my ancestors came from Ireland in the 1840s because of the potato famine and to escape religious persecution. When they arrived in ship after ship being dirty and considered the scum of the earth by places like Boston and New York, everyone looked down on them. 

It was many generations before other ethnic groups and racial groups were placed below the Irish on the social scale in places like Boston. I keep that sign to remind me where I came from.

I find it ironic in 1946 the Basketball Association of America, which later became the NBA, named its Boston franchise the Celtics! They changed the name from a hard C to a soft C and Boston has embraced its Celtics ever since. The Celtics are now embraced by Boston Celtics fans the world over and seventy-five years ago they were considered to be not even worthy to apply for a job. We all know change takes time, and this is a classic example of how Boston has taken time to look upon an entire class of people.

I have not even begun to research the beginning of green beer! I will let someone else do that. With that I wish you all a happy and safe celebration of St. Patrick's Day!

As always, I look forward to your comments.


Michael Arlin Patrick

P.S. Yes, there is a little Irish in my name. There is also German, English, and supposedly a tad bit of French, so I am basically a European Mutt! Yet, I have never considered myself a European American. I will not get into the whole hyphenated American issue as that is material for another post.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

March Madness Has Begun!

It is here in full force folks! The annual rite of spring for college basketball fans is well on its way to the battle for 65 teams to get into the Journey to the Tourney! Some teams have already punched their tickets to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on April 4 and 6, 2015.

Some of the field has automatic bids by way of winning their conference tournaments. Most of them are the mid-major conferences with the big conferences holding their tournaments this weekend.

If you had not heard, Minnesota had to play Rutgers last night in the first round and won to play the last game tonight against Ohio State. FYI: Ohio State beat Minnesota earlier this year in overtime by two points. I hope the outcome is different tonight!

All of the prognosticators have their number one and number two seeds set for who will make it into The Big Dance. There are always upsets in every tournament and this year promises to be the same. It will just be a matter of which and when which big dawgs fall.

I am anxious to watch tonight's game to see if the Gophers can advance to play another day. The only way Minnesota is going to The NCAA Tournament is if they were to win five straight days! That is not going to happen. My guess is they will go to the NIT again this year. I have no problem with that because that means another game or two we would get to go to The Barn and watch them play again. However, I am not thinking that way right now.

I would love to see them put on another good show like they did last night. They are very capable of beating Ohio State if they play as well as they did last night. The only problem last night was Andre Hollins had no points. That is the first time he has been shut out since his freshman year in 2012! He has been very sporadic this senior year and hopefully he will have a good game tonight to go along with Joey King and Mo Walker who had excellent games last night!

Deandre Mathieu also needs to step up as a senior and play well. They are an experienced team now and have shown in their upset when at Michigan State they are capable of playing with most teams.

It will be an exciting weekend for college basketball fans. I hope your team does well. As always, Selection Sunday will determine who will be going dancing in April!

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Saturday, March 7, 2015

Tim Conway And Harvey Korman (Redo)

I am going to do something today I have never done, and that is repost one of my first and favorite posts from October 2007. I have my reasons for doing this so please let me explain. 

First of all, the 1960s was an era of the variety show. Laugh-In, The Dean Martin Show, The Carol Burnett Show, Sonny and Cher, The Andy Williams Show, The Red Skelton Show to name just a few were watched by millions on the only three stations available ABC, CBS and NBC.

I should also list the granddaddy of them all which introduced us to the Beatles and countless other acts that went on to great success in the entertainment business because Ed Sullivan gave them a start on his weekly variety show.

For those of you younger than the Baby Boomer age bracket, you may not remember a time before cable, hundreds of channels and remote controls! I am reposting this skit because I showed it to my 41-year-old attendant the other day and she had never heard of the names in my post nor any of the shows I mentioned.

Another reason I want to post this skit again is because I think it is just plain funny!  It is a classic example of two grown men making you laugh out loud without saying a thing! It is so funny in the beginning as Harvey Korman tries to stay in character and not laugh at the bungling of his dentist, Tim Conway.

The last reason I am posting this is I have more subscribers today than I did in 2007 and I would like to introduce them to a time gone by.

This type of television would never make it today and illustrates how much is shown on hundreds of channels of violence, sex, illicit drug use, language and adult oriented behavior during prime time when children have access to thousands of murders, rapes and other violent acts before they are eighteen, it is a wonder they are able to understand the difference between right and wrong when they are raised in front of a television. I guess we can include video games in that genre as well.

Click on this URL to see my post and watch a short video of The Dentist's skit:

I will end this post with a Test Pattern the way every network ended its viewing day every night:

Do you remember this?

As always, I look forward to your comments.



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.