Saturday, May 25, 2013

Tammy Had Quite A Week!

If you read my last post of May twenty-first, you learned about my little sister, Tammy, being appointed to President Obama's Presidential Commission on Election Administration. You can read the entire post by clicking here.

Then, on Wednesday, one of the songs from her new CD entitled "A PrioriTy: Songs of a Bower Bird" debuted at number 17 on COUNTRY & ROOTS list of new songs!

Here is the listing. Click on it to make it larger:

To top that all off, yesterday she was sworn in! it is now official, Tammy Patrick is a Commissioner to President Obama's Presidential Commission on Election Administration! She is one of ten commissioners from around the country.

I would say that is a pretty good week! But then, I am a wee bit biased! Our entire family and many of Tammy's friends are all very proud of her accomplishments to this point, and looking forward to what she will accomplish as a member of this commission. It is all very exciting!

Have I said yet how proud I am of my baby sister?

If you would like to listen to parts of all of the songs on Tammy's new CD, purchase it or her other CD's, they are available at her website Besides singing all the songs, she wrote all but two of them, they are "One More Dollar" and "Coat of Many Colors."

Monday was not only a Red Letter Day, but this week was an entire Red Letter Week for Tammy!

As always, I look forward to your comments.


Proud Big Brother Mike

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tammy Is Going To The White House!

Some of my longtime readers remember my little sister, Tammy. In fact, when I first got hurt and there was a flu epidemic going on in Worthington, and no visitors were allowed into the hospital, especially small children. Back then they would not let young people in to visit sick family and friends, but my doctor had an order on my chart to make sure they let my three-year-old sister, Tammy, into see me whenever mom brought her to the hospital, which was every day.

Tammy was just a couple weeks short of her third birthday when I got hurt in 1971. I am attaching my all-time favorite picture showing my brother, Rick's dogs, my cute little sister and me just weeks before I got hurt.

Now, all these years later, Tammy has been appointed by President Obama as one of the ten commissioners to serve on the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. You may read the official press release by clicking here.

I will skip ahead a bit and give you her biography directly from the press release:

"Tammy Patrick, Appointee for Member, Presidential Commission on Election Administration
Tammy Patrick is currently a Federal Compliance Officer for the Maricopa County Elections Department in Arizona.  In 2013, she became a voting member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ working group on developing standards for a universal format for election results reporting.  She is also a representative on the Mailer’s Technical Advisory Committee to the U.S. Post Office and serves as the co-chair of the Postal Task Force for the Election Center.  She has previously served as a member of the Election Assistance Commission’s working group on Language Assistance for Unwritten Language, as an organizer of the 2007 Native American Voter Outreach Summit, and as a member of the Election Center’s National Task Force on Education and Training.  Ms. Patrick received her B.A. from Purdue University."

Have I said yet how proud I am of her? Our little Tammy is all grown up. She has a very impressive resume, at least from my perspective which might be a little bit biased. Here is Tammy today, as she prepares for frequent trips to Washington, DC to meet and advise the president and Congress on election reform and making sure everyone has the right and opportunity to vote.

It is a daunting task, but one I am sure she is up for as she has shown to this point in her career.

Congratulations, Tammy! I know you will do a good job, and make a difference in who knows how many people's lives? Have I said yet how proud I am of you?

Today, Tammy lives in Phoenix with her husband Jeff Farias and their son, Max.

I look forward to your comments.


Big Brother Mike

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Red Letter Day In Minnesota!

Yesterday was truly a Red Letter Day in Minnesota on two fronts! Let me talk about the weather first, which is what people usually talk about when they refer to Minnesota as being so cold and having winters that last eight months!

Let me preface my statement by saying we have had an unusually cold spring with many of the Northern lakes still covered in ice. As of last weekend one of our larger lakes, Mille Lacs, still had as much as twenty inches of ice covering it! As far as I know, much of that ice is still there.  Often times our governor will go to Mille Lacs for the fishing opener, which was last weekend.

Since the lake was covered with ice which much of it ended up in backyards and even destroyed buildings and damaged houses when the ice shifted onto the shore last week, the governor's fishing opener was held on another lake. 

Many of our resorts, boat rentals, bait shops and other fishing-related businesses are hurting because of the extremely cold weather and lack of fishing-related revenue. The fishing opener in Minnesota is a big deal for many people in this state, and a tremendous amount of money changes hands. It gets the economy moving in many parts of the state after our famous long winters.

Even up to a week ago we had snowfall here in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Now, here is where it starts to get weird. Yesterday, the temperature in Minneapolis was 98°! That set a record for the hottest May fourteenth on record! Today it is only supposed to get up into the 80s. Now, they are telling us we could see more snow again by the end of the week or early next week. There is really something going on with climate change!

Minnesota is not the only area of the country seeing extreme weather patterns that are hard to explain. I am not looking forward to what the summer will bring weather-wise throughout the country. From last year's drought through the Plains states to record rainfalls in the East, with hurricanes is far north as Maine to severe drought through the Central Valley of California, we could be in for another strange summer.

Now, for the other exciting event from yesterday, let me spend a little time addressing groundbreaking, civil rights legislation that was signed into law by our Governor, Mark Dayton.  If you have not already heard, Minnesota became the twelfth state to legalize and put into law same-sex marriage!

I am very excited to see our legislature and governor make it legal for two people who love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together as a couple, and just happen to be of the same gender to know they can be legally married as of August first! This is a huge step forward for the civil rights of the LGBT community! 

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination on the basis of racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities, as well as women. It ended unequal application for voter registration, racial segregation in schools, the workplace and public accommodations.

It was the first legislation of its kind and opened the door for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law July 26, 1990.

Granted, the last two laws I mentioned were national laws, and Minnesota's same-sex marriage law is just a state law, but they are all steppingstones to get where we are today and hopefully where we are going in the future.

The Constitution begins with, "We the people ... " which I believe means everyone. It is an ever-changing document as testimony to all of the amendments written since the original document. Remember, it was only 1920 when women were given the right to vote. All of these types of issues take time for acceptance by the entire population. But can anyone imagine today women not having the right to vote?

The Constitution also reads, "All men are created equal ... " First of all, we are not all men. Secondly, as we all know, we are not all equal. That is true on many levels, and is material for another post.

I know I have written another long post. However, I believe it is warranted since yesterday was a very eventful day.

As always, I encourage your comments.



Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I Love College Basketball!

On May third, Michael Lopresti, a sports columnist for Gannett News Service wrote an article talking about college basketball and some issues facing my favorite sport. One of the issues he was addressing was the problem with the officiating.

I agree with his statement about officiating, or lack thereof, and its consistency in the college game. For that matter, the consistency of officiating on any level of basketball is not very good. Being the wallflower I am without an opinion on many subjects, I decided I had to write to him and this is what I wrote: He even replied, thanking me for my input and calling my thoughts "Interesting." I got a kick out of that, he thought I was interesting!
Dear Michael:

I read your article today and appreciate your commentary. As I see it, from watching a lot of college basketball over these many years, the problem is not the officiating, but rather the three-point shot, five fouls and you're out, and not playing fundamental basketball. Think about it, ever since the three-point shot came into existence and guys think they need to go out beyond the three-point line to shoot, we have seen a steady decline in shooting percentages. If you watch a college practice or the pre-game shoot around, all you see are guys going out beyond the line and hiking up three-point shots. The art of the midrange jumper and using the backboard are completely lost. They can't shoot free throws either because they don't practice them. Instead, all they do is practice their crossover dribbles, dribbling between their legs, practicing their flashy playground moves and hiking up three-pointers. It seems oftentimes their goal is to do something so flashy it gets them on ESPN.

Watch a college basketball game, and watch the lack of fundamental basketball being played. Someone will drive the lane, jump up in the air and then try to make a pass or shoot a teardrop, and hope it goes in. There is a reason for that square on a backboard, and nobody knows how to use it. I believe everyone should spend their shoot around time going back to shooting the midrange jumpers and practicing using the backboard.

Another thing that bothers me is watching a player drive the lane and then turn around and throw it back to a guy behind the three-point line. Rather than stopping and taking a 10-foot bank shot with a higher percentage of completing, he will turn around and dish it out to the guy behind the line. Once he leaves the ground, he has no control and often times will charge and commit a foul.

There is no other sport you can foul out. Dick Vitale suggests going to a six foul rule. I want to go him even one better, and give them as many fouls as they want because when a player gets his second foul early in the first half, the coach takes him out and sets his maybe best player for the remainder of the first half. That's where officiating needs to change. A lot of times they call that second foul on a guy that never did anything. Or, a referee will make a call from behind because he just assumed somebody must've fouled. I say give them all the fouls they want, just make them all major fouls after five. Give the offended team two free throws and the ball just like they do now with a flagrant foul. Players don't want to foul. All refereeing crews do not call the same game, or even the same half for that matter. People don't come to the games to watch the stars sit on the bench when they get two fouls in the first half. Fans come to watch the players play, and the referees officiate. They don't come to watch the good players sit on the bench.

Another thing is the alternating possession rule. Go back to letting them jump on a held ball! So many times, when a player forces a jump ball, it just goes right back to the offensive team because of the possession rule. It's a bad rule and should be eliminated. Teach the referees to throw the ball up straight!

Lastly, start calling carrying the ball because virtually every player carries the ball with almost every dribble. It's a violation, so call it. It's that way with many of the fundamental aspects of the game. Many players don't know how to set a pick, roll off a pick, run an effective give and go, or make a good pass to the location where the receiving player can catch it.

When the going gets tough, players revert to their playground habits.

I'm nobody, just an interested fan who would love to see the game I grew up with. Watching guys like Rick Mount, Calvin Murphy, Lew Alcindor, Elvin Hayes amongst countless other great players in the 60s and 70s who played again fundamentally sound and with a commitment that wasn't flashy; it was just good fundamental basketball.

I could have never played for him, but Bobby Knight, despite all of his behavior and boorish attitude, turned out winners because they played the game fundamentally sound. He made sure of that! I would have liked to have played for John Wooden. He taught the fundamentals!

I appreciate if you read this far on my rant. College basketball is a great game and it's fun to watch. I just like to see good, well-played, fundamentally sound execution of my favorite sport!


Mike Patrick
Bloomington, Minnesota
No, not that Mike Patrick! :-)
Although, I do have a great Mike Patrick story about meeting him twice. It was a fun experience.

P.S. Here is his reply from yesterday:

Hi Mike ...

Thanks so much for the note and the input. Interesting. And yes, I did make it to the bottom of your "rant."

Take care.

Mike Lopresti