Friday, September 30, 2011

I Am Pumped!

Okay, I am doing it again and breaking my own rule about posting more than roughly once a week. But, this is VERY important to me and I want to share this review my editor gave me yesterday! After all, my book is the reason for this blog.

I have left off her last name and the name of the publisher in the last sentence. Whether or not I go with this company, this is an extraordinary review for me to show to other publishers. Have I said yet how excited I am about this?

Check out this review:

Title: I Still Believe In Tomorrow
Author: Mike Patrick
Date: 9/16/11
Type: Memoir
Reviewer: Hanna K
Recommendation: Accept

In this moving story, Mike Patrick turns tragedy into triumph and the death of a dream into inspiration. Mike was a junior in high school when he became a quadriplegic after breaking his neck at the first football game. His life was changed forever because of a single instant in time, but by sharing his experience and spreading his positive attitude he has been able to affect the lives of many, and will continue to do so with this book.

This manuscript employs a very comfortable vernacular that is conversational but gripping. The narrative voice is extremely personal, and makes readers truly empathize with Mike’s situation as if they had an intimate relationship with him. The lessons act as a launching pad, not only instructing readers, but motivating them to apply them to their personal lives.

In the introduction, Mike mentioned his vision for the book to be marketed primarily towards members of the medical profession in hopes that they will treat the whole person instead of the illness. He wants the professionals working with patients, especially those with extensive problems, to recognize the emotional status, physical and social needs of every patient in the context of his/her life and environment. While I agree that every medical professional could benefit from reading this book, I believe that there is a more eager audience to be found elsewhere. I would suggest widening the marketing strategy to include (or even focus on) people dealing with serious health issues and those struggling with compromised mental and emotional health; this will allow the author to plant “seeds of capability” in those that can benefit from his inspirational story the most.

I frequently experienced chills while reading this book, and was personally touched by the message. I believe that Mike will find a receptive audience for this book, whether with members of the medical community, those who are struggling with personal difficulties, or even those reading for pleasure — everyone could benefit from hearing his story. I believe that this book would be an excellent addition to our shelves.

I look forward to your comments.



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dumbing Down Of America

Last Sunday I was watching the Vikings game, feeling pretty good at halftime with a 20-0 lead when a commercial came on advertising the show Glee. The teacher asked the question, "Name the Capital of Ohio."

Whereupon the stereotypical blond girl wearing a cheerleading outfit quickly raisers her hand and answers, "O."

They then show a male student give her a look that asks, "What color is the sky in your world?"

The thing that bothers me is not she did not answer, "Columbus." The thing that bothers me is the fact they picked that particular part to advertise their show. I have been annoyed for many years by the way many of us speak and our horrible use of grammar.

One day I was in a middle school classroom and a boy said, "Me and him were going to the store."

I stopped him and asked, "Who?"

He quickly replied, "Me and him."

So I asked again, "Who?"

He said again, "Me and him."

Whereupon his buddy quickly stated, "No, it's him and me."

That is just one example of how we have forgotten basic grammar. We have not only used verbs like lie and lay or can and may incorrectly, but we are not able to form proper sentences any more.

For years I have been listening to people and wondering why this is happening. When I ask someone why they do not use proper grammar, adults tell me it is just not important. When I ask students, many reply with something like, "I'm not in English class now."

My response to that is then, "So if you are not in Math class and you buy a bottle of water at a store with a dollar bill, and the water is seventy-five cents, but the clerk only gives you a dime change, that's okay?"

When he or she says "No, that's not okay."

I come back with, "Why not, you're not in Math class now? Why is it okay to remember and use Math but not English?"

The problem is not limited to this particular commercial. Listen to newscasters on TV, radio personalities, watch TV shows or other commercials. I would think journalists would learn how to speak properly somewhere in school.

I believe the rest of us need to check ourselves when we speak or write something and remember what we learned in that grammar class back in the day. I am not going to ask you to become the Grammar Police, but I become one on occasion. If you start to listen to yourself speak, I believe you will start to feel better about being part of the solution instead of part of the dumbing down of America. If you have children, definitely correct them and get them headed in the right direction.

I did a little research and Googled Dumbing down when several clairvoyant listings came up and I had not even finished my queue yet. So, I clicked on Dumbing Down of America. It was an incredible list!

I did not need to go far. I clicked on the first listing and got more information than I could possibly use. The book titled the deliberate dumbing down of america came up right away and is an incredible source of information about the history of what is, and has been going on for a long time!

Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt was working in the Department of Education during the early years of the Reagan Administration and saw what was beginning to happen. The bottom line is: she blew the whistle and like many whistleblowers, was summarily relieved of her duties. Her book is out of print now, but you can get it for free in pdf format by clicking here.

I realize this is a very long post, and appreciate it if you have read this far. I want to leave you with this quote and put the ball in your court.

The human brain should be used for processing, not storage.
Thomas A. Kelly, Ph.D.
The Effective School Report

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Monday, September 19, 2011

Some Boys Never Grow Up

I have always said I get some of my inspiration for my posts from friends who send me material. Their material may be serious and educational, or so funny I cannot stop laughing, like this one. He sent me three videos. Two of them were with Tim Conway. I made one of my first posts of him and Harvey Korman in a scene from The Carol Burnett Show. Very few words were spoken and they did not need to say anything. The physical comedy of Tim Conway remains some of the funniest comedy I have ever seen. 

Very few of you were subscribers to this blog and can see the dentist sketch I wrote about on October 23, 2007 by clicking here.

This piece is from The Tonight Show back in the 1960's. I have seen it before and yet had to watch it several times again before I could stop laughing long enough to type. I like Johnny Carson's scarf and Bob Hope's golf club. Just watch what Dean Martin does repeatedly to George Gobel's drink, apparently, without him having any knowledge of what was happening. Bob Hope is laughing so hard, he is crying. You see him wipe away tears a couple of times. Thanks, Lew!

I have always contended humor can be funny and clean at the same time. Like most jokes, someone has to be the butt of the joke, and Dean Martin definitely gets George Gobel in this skit. They are all gone now, but I will bet their spirits are often smiling over the fact well more than one million people continue to enjoy a laugh with them every so often.

I look forward to your comments.



P.S. Once again to my Facebook friends who want to see the videos, just go to my blog by clicking here. While you are there, please subscribe to it in the upper right hand corner, follow the directions, and make sure you reply to the Feedburner Subscriber Verification email you will receive right after you subscribe to get you fully subscribed. You will receive an email every time I post, and you can check out some of my old posts. You will find some of them educational, entertaining and occasionally even humorous, like this one. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You Never Know ...

I do not usually post this close together, but this email just came across my cyberdesk and I need to share it:

Hello Mike,

I just read about you in the Star Tribune and realized you came to speak to my class back in the Fall of 1982. I can still remember to this date how you described the tackle that lead to your injury. It is something that will always stay with me. Back then I didn't take a lot of stock in what you were saying, but as the years go on I realize how lucky I have been not to face the challenges you have over the years. 

What I find interesting is I saw your address on your website. I must have lived right next door to you back in 1994-95. I lived in a duplex at 3231 Emerson Avenue. If this is true, we live in such a small world. Two years ago our family left Minnesota for Connecticut for my wife to pursue a new career. It was a great opportunity to really try something new and expand our horizons.

However, I now find myself in a very difficult position in my life as I am looking at getting a divorce.  Today just happens to be our 11th wedding anniversary. I know this cannot even remotely compare to your situation, but it is something I was not prepared for. I have two young children ages 9 and 8 and they mean the world to me. For the first time in my life, I am feeling as if the world I live in is being torn apart and I am "paralyzed" with fear for what the future holds. Maybe happening across your story was divine intervention to get me to look inward and understand I cannot just give in or give up. You are an inspiration and I applaud you for the beautiful life you have made. 

Thank you and God Bless You!

David Johnson


Wow! It just shows us how our lives can intersect and not even realize how we affect each other. I have no idea how he happened across my story in the paper or why it took him this long to write to me. Our paths first crossed almost thirty years ago and now here we cross again. I am going to give this to my editor and see how it might fit in the book.

And the beat goes on ...

I look forward to your comments.



Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Lasting Effects Of 9/11

Like many of you, I just finished watching 60 Minutes and it's special on September 11, 2001. The segment I found particularly intriguing was the last one when Scott Pelley interviewed several survivors. They all talked about their respiratory problems and the long-term health effects they all are experiencing as a result of breathing in all of the toxic dust during their time at Ground Zero.

If you missed it, you can view it here:

I guess the two words none of them uttered that bothered me were asbestos and mesothelioma. The reason that bothered me so much is two-fold. One: The Twin Towers were coated with asbestos and much of that dust was that pulverized asbestos.

The second word which was not spoken was mesothelioma. Asbestos poisoning has a special meaning to me because my father died of mesothelioma in 2006. His lungs were full of asbestos he received from a second job he had for close to twenty years. The frustrating thing for me is knowing the two asphalt companies he worked for never told their so-called "Associates" were slowly killing themselves every day by exposing themselves to this toxic dust they were inhaling constantly as they blew and swept up from parking lots, driveways and rooftops. The insidious thing about asbestos is it can remain in our lungs for as long as forty years before it starts to manifest itself.

I also want to introduce you to one more survivor of 9/11. That is William Rodriguez. After hearing him speak, on October 9, 2007, I wrote about one of the true heroes of the 9/11 attacks. He was a maintenance worker in the North Tower and saved many lives. His story is very compelling. To learn more about him, I have a link to his website on that post. You can read it by clicking here.

We are going to see people dying from all sorts of respiratory ailments for decades to come!

As always, I welcome your comments.



P.S. To my Facebook friends who want to see this video, just go to my blog by clicking here. While you are there, please subscribe to it, follow the directions, you will receive an email every time I post, and you can check out some of my old posts. You will find some of them educational, entertaining and occasionally even humorous. Thank you.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

They Say Life Begins At Forty

I have always felt as though I have had two lives. I lived to be sixteen in my first life.  Now my second life is ended at forty. As I begin my third life, I find striking similarities between the beginnings and endings of all three.

Both Number One and Number Two ended with me being in a hospital. Both at the beginnings of Numbers Two and Three I have no idea how long the hospitalizations will be. Little did I know what was happening or how my first life would end and how the ramifications would affect not only my life but the lives of who knows how many other people. People have often told me I have no idea how many others I have inspired, educated or changed in one way or another by the way I have lived my second life.

That simply is not true. I have always known my words, actions and deeds have influenced people who I may have never met. True, I do not know the exact numbers. I just know it happens all the time because people tell me how an instant in time has affected their lives. My second life surely was not lived the way I had imagined it would be. But then who among us can say their life has gone as they had anticipated it would? 

In the book I have written, one of the chapters shows a poster which reads I Still Believe In Tomorrow. I do not remember who gave me that poster. The poster is long gone, but like so many of the things I have said and done, the person who gave it to me does not know how inspiring it has been. If you are the one, or know who gave it to me, please let me know. I want to thank you personally.

I still have not decided on the title of my book, and it may very well end up being I Still Believe In Tomorrow

I am dictating this to my mom on September 3, 2011. I do not know how long I will be in the hospital this time.

Right now, I am lying in bed with a PICC line in my right arm as two heavy-duty IV antibiotics are raging war with the bacteria currently trying to keep me down. So, I cannot use my right arm. With assistance from my cousin Susie and her husband Tom, we are getting this posted today. Coincidentally, Tom wrote an article about me which appears in today's Minneapolis StarTribune, which you can read by clicking here.

As always, I welcome your comments.