Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year!

As 2012 comes to a close, I want to take a moment and reflect upon my year. My year was full of many highs and many lows. I am guessing you can say the same thing. Besides wishing you a wonderful 2013, I want to take a minute and tell you about one of my highs and one of my very low points.

The best thing that happened to me this year was getting my book published and actually selling a few copies. Between the ebook and paperback sales I have managed to sell about five hundred copies. It is not where I wanted or hoped to be by this time, but without help in getting a good marketing plan executed, I guess it's been a pretty good year. I am hoping to get help marketing this year, which will bring in more sales, which subsequently has proven to get me some speaking engagements. By the way, I have seen several speaking engagements as a result of book sales. That was the whole point. I believe the book will sell my speeches and my speeches will sell my books. In fact, I did one program for a group of social service agencies, and as part of the contract they bought one hundred sixty books, one for each person attending my workshop.

Definitely the low point of 2012 was losing my long-time friend, Jeff Farnam in April. Over the last thirty-seven years, he and I became great friends. In fact, you can read my April first blog post and see what I wrote about our last meeting. We were two old quads who spent a lot of time together and he taught me a lot about photography. He was the person who got me interested in taking pictures and finding a way to express one of my artistic sides.

I miss our lunches and long conversations at BLB (Bryant Lake Bowl) and Lucia's. We would also spend time at his house or in Calhoun Square talking for hours.

I was honored to be one of the people who gave eulogies at Jeff's Memorial Service in June. When he and his good friend, Steve, were planning for the service and deciding who they wanted to give eulogies, they decided if I was going to be one of them they better put a time limit on it! As it was, I gave the last eulogy and went a little bit over my limit! Basically, I read my post from April, with a few extra anecdotes that brought both laughter and tears to the people in attendance. 

With that, I will say it once again, “Happy New Year, and I hope it brings you joy and much happiness.”

For the final time this year, I welcome your comments.



Saturday, December 15, 2012

What Should Bob Costas Do Now?

A week ago, Bob Costas stirred up a hornets nest in the social media when he quoted and paraphrased an article written by Jason Whitlock of Fox News on the shooting of his girlfriend and subsequent suicide of Jovan Belcher, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs. His comments were made at halftime of the Sunday Night Football game he was broadcasting for NBC.

Fast-forward just five days and we have had two school mass suicides. What do you suppose Mr. Costas will have to say on the events of last week? Or should he say anything? When are we as a nation, going to wake up and realize something needs to be done about the proliferation of legal handguns on our streets in our cities and small communities?

Now, Adam Lanza is suspected of killing his mother and then gunning down more than two dozen people, twenty of them children, in a Connecticut grade school before taking his own life. We are being told the weapons were purchased legally by his mother. According to several sources I read today, she bought the weapons for her own protection.

Way back in 1994 I was asked by the University of Minnesota's athletic department to give their staff a presentation on violence. In doing my research I learned some interesting facts from a book entitled Deadly Consequences/How Violence Is Destroying Our Teenage Population and a Plan to Begin Solving the Problem written by Deborah Prothrow-Stith, M.D. in 1991. Doctor Prothrow-Stith worked in an emergency room in Philadelphia and one other Eastern city. She based her conclusions on her experience in those two emergency rooms.

I would have to go back and look at my notes from those presentations but the one statistic I will never forget is a new handgun is made every twenty-two seconds! Those were 1991 statistics. I have not done any research today to see what those numbers are. I do not imagine they have gone down much; if anything I would guess we're making more. I am not saying if we don't make the guns there will be no shootings because there are already over 300 million guns in America today. That is almost one for every person in the country.

One of the things many people are writing about today is the mental health of Adam Lanza. Part of the problem comes from the fact mental health funding is being cut and often not covered by insurance companies. I believe we should be going in the opposite direction and putting more money into mental health programs.

As I see the issues of gun control being discussed from both sides, and the cutting of funding to mental health programs, I believe we need to step back and recognize as rational people we cannot understand how irrational people think.

I am anxious to see what Bob Costas will say or not say during his broadcast tomorrow.

I welcome your comments.



Wednesday, December 12, 2012


As if you have not already noticed, today is a significant number, 12-12-12. Does that have any significance, or is all of the attention being paid to the number just a waste of time? After all, we had 11–11–11, 10–10–10, 09–09-09 and so on in the last decade, and nothing happened of great significance on those days.

According to the Gregorian or Christian calendar, the next time three numbers will lie like that will not be for almost another century, as they did on 09-09-09, 10-10-10 and 11-11-11, will be on January 1, 3001, or 1-1-1.

I did a little research on what numerologists believe is the significance of numbers like these and received a number of different opinions. Surprise, surprise! Some even talked about the significance of the Mayan Calendar and how the world is supposed to end in nine days. I am among the people who believe it is not going to happen!

Personally, today has not been of very good day for me. Between all of the snow we received the other day, the entire parking lot being shoveled except for my spot, being threatened because of a mix-up in required paperwork I may have to go into a nursing home and not being able to pick up my van which is in the shop, and my medical insurance being suspended until all of the paperwork is found, I cannot pick up prescriptions, get my personal care attendants paid, or even be seen by a doctor.

I just got off the phone with my social worker who has assured me she will do her best to get everything straightened out tomorrow. In the meantime, I am without a ride, no way to get it, will probably miss my acupuncture appointment tomorrow and have a few more things I could whine about but I will spare you the details. 12–12–12 sucks! But, that's just my opinion.

As always, I welcome your comments; and please feel free to share your own 12–12–12 stories if you wish.



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Is Extending The School Year A Good Thing?

Many studies have shown students lose a good amount of what they learn in the typical nine-month school year over their three-month summer vacation. That three months has been a huge detriment to their retention, and causes a goodly amount of time to get back to where they were before their summer break.

That is one reason why many schools across the county are moving to year-round schooling. If you do not know, in year-round schools, they never have a break of more than six weeks.

I just read an article that originated from the Associated Press telling of a pilot program in five states and forty schools that will extend the school year by six hundred hours. According to the article, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee will take part in the initiative, which is intended to boost student achievement and make U.S. schools more competitive on a global level.

You may read the article from by clicking here. I could not find the original article on the Associated Press's website.

I believe this is a good step towards catching up with much of the rest of the developed world. The United States has continuously been falling backwards in our ranking for many of the education benchmarks which we have historically led the world. This pilot program will only last three years and then evaluated.

I am guessing we are going to see marked increases in these schools' results.

Of course, there are detractors to the idea and believe it is not the way to go because countries like India and China have shorter school years and are getting better results. Is it a question of quantity versus quality? Is it a question of prioritization? I am anxious to see what the results will be with their students with severe disabilities, all their students with special needs for that matter, low-income students and all of the round students that do not fit in the square holes.

Something needs to be done to get all our schools educating as many of our young people to the highest degree we possibly can. I certainly do not have the answers.

As always, I look forward to your comments.