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 www.patcom.com 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.



Friday, December 12, 2014

Merry Christmas!

It is hard to believe another year has come and gone and it is time to put out the annual Christmas lights. Some entire neighborhoods get the Christmas spirit and go all out trying to outdo their neighbors.

In one Christmas past, I have put out my annual online Christmas card complete with a contest about which set of Christmas lights people liked best. One year I put out three sets of lights with two of them very extravagantly organized to loud, well-organized spectacular music. I got another one the other day on my Facebook page, but decided not to show that and have another battle over my dueling light shows.

As I understand it, these light shows were often very destructive to entire neighborhoods, as people would get into traffic jams as they drove through neighborhoods videotaping the light shows. According to one report, there was more than one accident caused by distracted drivers and disgruntled neighbors.

I can only imagine what it must be like for neighbors who live next door to these over-the-top displays of one upmanship trying to make a bigger and better show of a waste of electricity!

As my little survey turned out, the people who responded most favorably to my display of lights gave this example as the winner!

Click on the image to make it larger:

From my understanding of the description when I got these lights several years ago, a man's wife was harassing him to put up the Christmas lights. Finally, after much consternation he decided to hang the lights the way he wanted to. I wonder if that couple is still married?

The great author, Maya Angelou once stated, "I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights."

I am guessing she is as much of an expert as anybody and how can you argue with Maya Angelou?

Please consider this my annual Christmas Card, Happy Kwanzaa Card, Happy Hanukkah Card or whatever religion you follow, that is if you do follow one at all, and enjoy the next few weeks right on through New Year's Day with your loved ones and special people doing holiday activities.

I would not want to make a certain Fox broadcaster angry with me an excuse me of assaulting Christmas! Notice I did not even type his name, as I do not believe he is worth it! I know that is not in keeping with the holiday spirit, but he is just one man who lives in a world of his own!

As always, I look forward to your comments.



P.S. Click on the Christmas Lights label at the end of this post and you can see my contestants from 2008. There were three good comments on that post worth reading as well.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What Is In A Name?

Have you ever thought about where names of automobile companies, insurance companies, retail stores or any other business get their names?

There is a commercial running for Dodge automobiles telling us the Dodge brothers worked for Ford Motor Company for 10 years before leaving and forming Dodge one hundred years ago in 1914. They felt the assembly line as Henry Ford was running it was not the way to go.

That got me thinking about where companies get their names. We know Henry Ford filed bankruptcy twice before he started his enormously successful Ford Motor Company. He made the assembly line run exceptionally well to make the Model T.

After a quick Google search, I found more information about Horace and John Dodge and their initial work in manufacturing a ball bearing for bicycles. The two brothers worked for a number of companies before the owner of Oldsmobile came knocking on their door seeking their advice and offering them a job. His name was Ransom Eli Olds.

Now we know where the name Oldsmobile came from. Horace and John Dodge were known in the automobile industry as very creative, industrious and hard-working young men. When Mr. Olds found out about these two young men, he hired them to design hundreds of engines, transmissions and axles for him over the next several years. It was Ransom Olds who started the first assembly line building automobiles in 1902. In 1903 Oldsmobile was manufacturing 30% of the automobiles made in the United States.

In 1872, in a completely different industry, Charles Alfred Pillsbury formed the company along with his uncle, John S. Pillsbury where they processed grain and had built a flour mill on the Mississippi River to transport their small grain and flour all the way down the Mississippi River. I think it is safe to say Pillsbury is known pretty much worldwide.

Pillsbury competed with General Mills, another Minneapolis-based company until 2001 when General Mills bought out Pillsbury. However, antitrust laws forced the companies to diverge and get rid of some of the Pillsbury products. General Mills kept the rights to refrigerated and frozen Pillsbury products, while dry baking products and frosting are now sold by Smucker under license.

We have all heard the Smucker's commercial which goes something like, " ... with a name like Smucker's, it has to be good."  James Monroe Smucker founded his company in 1897.

The list of people who have named their companies after themselves goes on and on. I am sure you would recognize more of them if I were to go on and list other industries. However, I think you get my point. I would like to hear companies in your part of the woods that were started by people and named after them. There are regional companies around the country, national companies and international businesses that do business around the world.

If you live in Minneapolis, and you go to the Macy's store in downtown Minneapolis, remember that used to be Dayton's.

Where would we be if the Mayo brothers had been named Johnson, Peterson or Anderson? The most famous medical clinic in the world would be called the Johnson Brothers Clinic. It just does not have the same ring.

I look forward to your comments and names that fit my little survey.



Sunday, November 30, 2014

Is Another Canal Necessary?

I have always contended I never know where my inspiration will come for my next post. This is another classic example! I saw an article on Smithsonian.com about building a new canal connecting the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea across Nicaragua, and it struck my interest. 

I started reading about the pluses and minuses of building a canal that is a 173-mile artificial waterway — which is three and one-half times the length of the Panama Canal. There are many advantages and disadvantages on both sides of building such an enormous project through dense rain forests, wetlands and Lake Nicaragua.

Without going into a lot of the details, suffice it to say, it is a very controversial project that is scheduled to start next month!

Here is a map of the proposed canal:

Click on the image to make it larger:

History.com has another great article on the Panama Canal, its rich history and the expansion that was started in 2007 and will bring it to a point where it will handle most of the large ships going through the proposed Nicaraguan Canal. That project will be finished in 2015. The new Panama Canal will have more locks, deeper and wider navigational channels.

The thing that struck me about building an all-new canal through Nicaragua, besides the environmental effect, is the area is a large hurricane area, which is prone to dramatic hurricanes, which could cause significant damage at any time! 

Like every project of any size it all boils down to money! When the United States turned over complete control of the Panama Canal to Panama in 1999, all of the tolls went with it. It is a significant amount of money each ship must pay to travel through the canal. Tolls for the largest ships can run $450,000! One can only imagine what the cargo on that ship must be worth.

I am positive that kind of money could help Nicaragua, which is one of the, if not the poorest country in Central America. It is an interesting dilemma.

Personally, I believe we should stay with the current Panama Canal with its new updates that will allow most mega ships through.

One last interesting fact I got from the History.com article: "Some 52,000,000 gallons of fresh water are used each time I ship makes a trip through the Panama Canal. The water comes from Gatun Lake, which was formed during the canals construction by damning the Charges River. Within area of more than 163 square miles, Gatun Lake was once the world's largest man-made lake."

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to post this tonight before my annual dosage of tryptophan kicks in sometime during the Eagles-Cowboys game. I did a little research on the origin of our Thanksgiving holiday and found a video on the History Channel which revealed some interesting facts:

Starting in 1621 when the pilgrims shared their successful harvest with their Indian "hosts" it was not celebrated as a single feast but rather a three-day festival complete with contests, entertainment and other activities of the day.

The Indians brought five deer, so venison was definitely on the menu. Turkey was not. They also did not have pumpkin pie or potatoes, which had not been introduced to New England yet.

The pilgrims did not plan on creating an annual tradition and so it was not held for many years. In 1789, President George Washington declared it a national holiday for Thursday, November 26, 1789.

It did not become a national holiday until the 19th century when Sara Josefha Hale, more famous for writing, "Mary Had a Little Lamb" decided to re-create the menu from the first celebration back in the 17th century. She made her own substitutions with certain items and waged an almost thirty-year campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday.

In 1863, during the heart of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday a national holiday. It stayed that way until 1939 when President Franklin Roosevelt moved the holiday up one week to give depression era retailers an extra week for Christmas shopping.

The bill was widely criticized and in 1941 FDR moved the holiday back one week to its present location of the fourth Thursday of November.

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

It was not until 1989 when President George H.W. Bush gave the first presidential pardon of a turkey. That tradition remains today and every president since then has pardoned one or two turkeys on every Thanksgiving.

This year President Obama pardoned two turkeys. The video also stated the pardoned turkeys are given to a farm near Washington where they live out their remaining days in Turkey Heaven.

There, probably more information about our beloved Thanksgiving holiday than you ever wanted to know.

Now, I am off to Walmart to wait for their 6 PM opening on Black Friday! If you believe that, I have some land I will sell you in Canada that is full of black gold or better known as tar sand oil!

I look forward to your comments.



P.S. If you are one of those Black Friday shoppers who just cannot wait for the giant retailers to open up, be patient, courteous and think about what you are doing when you could be home buying all those important commodities online?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I Enjoy Watching A Skilled Craftsman At Work

Many of you know my cousin, Michael Patrick Bailey. He has a lifetime of picture framing and hanging experience. He came over last night and hung seventeen photographs, my 1955 calendar and one small poster! They had been in storage since I moved out of my house in 2011!

He did a yeoman's job in only two hours time! He hung photographs in several different places and I only had to supervise on a few occasions!

Mike hung a collage centered on a photograph that is one of Tom Wallace's favorite photographs of a high school basketball game between Luverne and Jasper in the District 8 tournament in 1973 in Worthington! Tom as been shooting since high school and has shot me on many occasions. He is now on staff at the Minneapolis StarTribune newspaper. The fun thing about Tom is he was the first person I met when I started school in Worthington partway through my eighth grade year. We have remained friends ever sense, and he has recently told me he wants to upgrade my profile photograph.

Jim Brandenburg mentored Tom when they worked for the Worthington Daily Globe. Yes, that Jim Brandenburg! It does not get any better than Jim for a photography mentor!

The irony in this picture is it features one of my favorite people and Mike Bailey's brother-in-law, Tom Brakke, boxing out his opponent and waiting to grab one of his many rebounds! His photograph is surrounded by smaller photographs of me as a baby on my first New Year's Eve and my second birthday photograph. The next photograph up the left side is a unique photograph my aunt, Dorothy Fish took of a picture of George Washington's profile on Mount Rushmore! Moving around is a photograph I took of a woman many years ago after she had been at a professional modeling studio that day, so she was all made up and it remains one of my favorite photographs.

Along the top are pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, which was taken by a friend of mine from way back in the dorm when I attended the University of California at Berkeley, Mike Ross. Next to that is a time-lapse shot I took of downtown Chicago that is rather unique. Moving down the right side are pictures of two little boys that had some inquisitive looks on their face when I shot them one day many years ago out at Valley Fair. Moving down the right side of the collage are two pictures of my favorite building to shoot, the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis. I must confess, Mike Ross took one of those as well.

Mike also put three concept photos on the other wall I took of the IDS Center.

In my bedroom, he hung three photographs from when I went downhill skiing in Winter Park, Colorado in 1980. He also hung my calendar from April 1955! It was a rather racy photograph at the time as the seductress on the calendar has a quote that reads, "Tell me more!"

It is often said, "The time to buy an antique is when you see it." That was the case with my calendar girl. When I saw it in an antique mall and it had January, February and March torn off, showing April. I had to buy it!

Mike was operating a framing shop at the time and I asked him to put my calendar in a period frame. He hit it perfectly!

There was one more sign Mike put up for me last night. He hung it by my front door where I will read it once again like I did in my house for many years. It reads, "HELP WANTED" on the first line and underneath it in slightly smaller letters it reads, "NO IRISH NEED APPLY"!

The irony in that simple sign is it was made by the Boston Sign Company on September 11, 1915! I had that hanging in my house by my door and have not been able to get most of these pieces hanging on the walls because there just was no room in an eight hundred square foot apartment!

I hang it by my door to remind me how my Irish immigrants were treated in the late 19th century and the early 20th century! It seems timelier today when we are discussing the immigrants and the situation about letting them continue to build our workforce! There was a time when Boston did not embrace the Celtics like they do today! It seems every minority group has taken its fair share of lack of being welcome in this country that is built on immigrants! I believe everyone should read the words at the base of the Statue of Liberty!

I still have more pieces I want to hang and Mike will be back to do that after the Thanksgiving holiday trip to be with his extended family. He has assured me he will not wait as long to hang the next batch of photographs as he did in this one!

I apologize for not getting any of the pictures up on this post. However, if you were ever at my house and saw photographs by my friends listed above and me, you know what his photographs I am talking about.

I promise I will post another photograph once Mike gets some of my other pieces up and show you what my apartment is starting to look like! We simply did not have a phone or camera to take photographs of Mike's work.

I look forward to your comments.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More About My Dreams

Once again my dreams have led me to write about them. I have written other posts about my dreams and how I intersect between my life before my accident and after. I have also written about my relationships with relatives who have passed on and how I dream about them.

I have done some research in the past on dreams, and as I understand it, the average dream is only about twenty seconds in length. It is difficult for me to imagine how much information can get in roughly twenty seconds!

I also listen to Jim Wand, a master hypnotist who helps me with my short-term memory issues. I have written about him in the past as well. Jim says we will dream about the last thing we think about before we go to sleep at night. I find that to be somewhat true because I do that on occasion, and other times I will dream about something that happened during the day.

Lately, I have been having issues with my sleep apnea and a new breathing machine. It seems I am not getting into the deepest REM sleep stage all the time and for the maximum length of time.

I understood there was only one REM stage. I recently found out there are several stages of REM sleep. If you are not aware of all the stages of sleep, REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. That is the stage when sleep is at its deepest and when we dream. I would suggest doing your own research on REM sleep to get a better understanding if you wish to know more.

I remember in my early twenties watching a news story on how many Americans suffered from sleep issues the older they got. I could not imagine what it must be like to not be able to get a good night sleep. Now, I know what that story was all about!

The reason I wanted to make this post was to discuss recent dreams and not necessarily what they mean, although I am sure a dream analyst would have opinions, that is not why I want to share with you what has been happening and see if you can relate.

I have been having dreams where I find myself in a terrible situation that could end in a life or death dilemma. Some of them have been pre-accident mixed with post-accident scenarios mixed with people who often are faceless. Fortunately, in these dreams, just before I am going to meet with my impending death or tragedy, I wake up only to be relieved it was just a dream!

Needless to say, I am always relieved at waking up! Sometimes, I will go back into my REM sleep and find myself back in the same situation. However, most of the time I will go into a completely different situation where my life is not threatened.

Recently, I had another sleep study done and they gave me a new machine with different settings for my inhalation and exhalation patterns. I do not know if that new machine has anything to do with my dreams, but I do find it rather coincidental they started when I got this new machine.

I did learn there are several new types of sleeping disorders machines besides CPAP and BiPAP. I do not have all of the names now, but my new machine has the acronym ADAP. I cannot tell you what it stands for now as I cannot find my information on the new machine.

I know everyone has had bad dreams, and I am not saying I have them every night. I wanted to ask you, my readers, and your thoughts on what is going on and if you ever have the same run of bad dreams. If you do, is there anything you can advise me on what to do to get out of that cycle? I would appreciate any advice you might have.

Maybe this episode of bad dreams will cycle out and stop on its own? Or, maybe it will continue and possibly get worse? I do not want to think that way; however, that is something I think about.

As always, I look forward to your comments and suggestions.



Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mo'ne Davis Throws Like A Girl

That's correct, Mo'ne Davis throws like a girl! That is because she is a 13-year-old girl from Philadelphia who can bring the heat! In the Boy's Little League World Series on August 15th she pitched a complete game shutout for the Pennsylvania team to throw her second shutout in the first round of the Little League World Series in the game against a team from Nashville, Tennessee.

She also pitched a no-hit shut out in the game that qualified her team to go to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to play in the World Series! She did not have far to travel staying in her home state.

She throws 70 miles an hour, which is equivalent of a 90 mile an hour fastball the big boys can throw!

She looks and acts completely calm and relaxed as she strikes out one boy after another. She is doing only seventeen other girls have done, and that is playing in the Little League World Series! The amazing thing about her is how she is taking her celebrity status in stride. She is very calm for a 13-year-old.

Her mother, LaKeisha McLean, is "very proud" to see the success her daughter is having and how well she is handling it. She says Mo'ne has a great relationship with her teammates and they protect her when they go out.

Nobody messes with Mo'ne when the Taney Youth Baseball Association team in Philadelphia is around, which is making history as the first time the Taney Youth Baseball Association has made it to the Little League World Series! Her teammates protect her like a little sister.

Here is a photograph of Mo'ne pitching in her first game of the Little League World Series:

Click on the image to make it larger:

ESPN did a great story on her I had seen a couple of times. She has also been on all the news shows and featured interviews with several talk shows. She is very composed for young lady of only thirteen!

She also loves to play soccer and basketball. From interviews I have seen, it looks like she is even better at basketball and soccer then baseball! The good thing for her is there may very well be a college scholarship waiting for her to play college  basketball after she finishes high school.

The WNBA and NCAA scouts are supposedly already looking at her. The problem with a star at such a young age is they develop early and often the other children catch up to her physically.

That remains to be seen with this young phenom. It will be exciting to follow her career and see how well she does with one or more of the three sports.

The young lady has been on quite a ride since her Little League World Series success. She had the privilege of throwing out the first pitch of Game 4 of the World Series in Kansas City and spent some face time with Hall of Famers Frank Robinson and Hank Aaron. In my book, that would have been a huge highlight!

Here she has walking off the field after throwing out the first pitch in Game 4:

Again, click on the image to make it larger:

I know this is old news to some of you, but if you are not a big sports fan, this may be new news to you. I have been holding it for an appropriate time to do it; and since the Vikings had a bye week today seemed like a good time to post this.

I look forward to your comments.



Thursday, October 30, 2014

COLOSSAL Is Tremendous

I did something last night I do not usually do! That's right, I missed game seven of the World Series! Instead, I went to a play with my cousin, Victoria Patrick. The Mixed Blood Theatre started a play entitled COLOSSAL, and guess what it was about?

Football, imagine that? Victoria invited me to see the premier of the play about a young, college senior who breaks his neck playing football! You can start to see the similarities already.

COLOSSAL is the story of a senior defensive back with promise to be a professional football player the following year. As you are waiting in the lobby for the free performance, you hear the team warming up and the adrenaline is flowing like the beginning of every football game as the players are shouting through their drills on a football field complete with green floor, yard markers, working scoreboard and bleachers. They transformed the theater into a football field. That does not happen very often.

As patrons came in, the team dressed out in full football equipment less the jerseys were going through their pregame warm-ups. It was if you are at a college football game sitting next to the field. The stage and audience became one. It was very well done. The closest I had been to a football field was the night I got hurt more than forty-three years ago.

The play was divided into four quarters with the fully functioning scoreboard facing both sides of the field. In fact, as the players, who were all actors, went through their warm-ups one of the players came down right in front of me, looked me in the eye and winked. It was obvious to all the actors I was sitting on the end of the bleachers.

The play has two actors playing the lead role whose name was ironically Mike. One of the actors, Toby Forrest plays Mike after the accident. Torsten Johnson plays Mike before the accident and David Deblieck plays Mike's father. A host of other fine actors and dancers round out the cast.

As the first quarter begins, the team runs several plays and some dialogue starts to take place. Part way through the second quarter (just like in my accident) Mike gets hurt trying to make a tackle. Again, just like my accident!

As the play unfolds Mike interacts with the pre-accident and post-accident character. Several of the characters are portrayed as they go through their lives both before and after Mike's accident.

You watch Mike as he progresses through the grieving process and how it affects not only him but all of those around him. In my opinion, it really is done very well.

Without telling you any more, I suggest seeing it if you know anyone who has had any kind of football experience, be it as a player, coach, spectator or victim of a football accident of any kind.

As theater critics would say I give it a two thumbs up!

You certainly cannot beat the price.

I look forward to your comments.



Friday, October 17, 2014

25 Years Ago Tonight The World Stopped!

Actually, it was not the whole world but rather the World Series! At 5:04 PM Pacific Time the Loma Prieta earthquake hit about ten miles from Santa Cruz. That is where the name of the earthquake came from.

Reports differ in size from 6.9 to 7.2 on the Richter scale. It was felt on the San Francisco Peninsula and North up into Marin County. There is all kinds of information on it on the Internet. Videos, articles and opinions are abundant. I could spend an entire post discussing the effects of the earthquake, but that is not the point of this post.

If you were alive during the earthquake and live in California, you constantly live in a state of knowing anyone of the fault lines could fracture at any time.

Personally, I was watching the game with several friends who came over to watch Game Three of what was called, "The Battle of the Bay World Series." We were a bunch of frustrated, former baseball players living out our fantasies with a monthly meeting where we did our fantasy managerial and ownership trades, drops and adds of new players. It was great fun!

Just as everyone was settling in to watch Game Three and Al Michaels was beginning to talk about the game, everything went to black. We were all upset and cursed ABC because they were messing up our evening and taking away our baseball game. Notice, I said, "our baseball game." After all, nobody knew at the time what was going on, we knew the world revolved around us!

As we sat for a while, not quite knowing what to do as our evening unfolded, reports started flowing in about what had happened. Before we knew anything someone made a joke about there was an earthquake. It was a joke! Little did we know exactly what was happening!

When they started showing footage of the Bay Bridge section collapsing, the Nimitz Freeway collapsing on itself and San Francisco on fire we knew there really was an earthquake! All of a sudden, our joke was not so funny!

Nobody had smart phones and instant access to videos and cell phone technology was not there yet, so almost 62,000 people in Candlestick Park were left wondering what to do. As more and more information came out about the earthquake, Commissioner Fay Vincent had to decide what he was going to do about playing game three or evacuate the stadium.

I just watched an ESPN 30 for 30 episode showing players, fans, broadcasters, cameramen and interviews with people throughout the bay trying to figure out what they were going to do. If you have the interest, I am sure you can find that episode somewhere on your cable or Internet connection. It is quite fascinating to see just how far technology has come in twenty-five short years!

Just think how social media today would have changed the coverage of the way this earthquake was covered!

One of the most striking images for me was watching Candlestick Park's upper deck swaying up-and-down the circle as the quake hit. It is a good thing buildings, bridges and freeways are built earthquake resistant in that part of the country or we would have seen many more than sixty-three people perish, especially in an area where people were concentrated like Candlestick Park! Imagine what could have happened if the epicenter would have been closer to the ballpark?

The GOODYEAR blimp provided images like this were shown on television, people began to understand the gravity of the situation:

Click on the image to make it larger:

It was a night to remember. It was an experience when the entire country realized baseball is just a game. Earthquakes change your perspective about real-life in a hurry! I believe we all realized what is important at least for the week or so after the earthquake.

The World Series was put on hold for a week while the two stadiums were structurally repaired to make usable so the umpire could yell, "Play ball," again, and life was back to normal for some of us.

Please feel free to share your memories of this post.

I look forward to your comments.



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I Voted Absentee — Again!

Once again, I exercised my Constitutional right and civic responsibility and voted absentee today! I am not sure if I am going to be able to get to vote on Election Day, so since I was across the street getting my new tabs for my van, I decided to vote today!

I am glad I did. I was the only one there, and had to search out a poll worker to help me vote. The signs are clearly marked and when I got to the place I was supposed to be, there was no one there. It was only about 4:10 PM, so I knew I had another twenty minutes before City Hall closed.

They were not exactly ADA compliant, (Americans with Disabilities Act), but I imagine they will be on Election Day. Since I was the only one there, they bent over backwards to make sure my experience was a good one. I was done in less than ten minutes. I am guessing many people will not have that same experience come Election Day!

Having voted absentee before, I knew what to expect and it lived up to my expectations.

I had to mention my sister, Tammy Patrick, and her involvement in the Voter Registration work she has done all over the country. It fell on deaf ears as the poll worker was focused on getting me voted.

I am positive not all of the polling places around the country will be like the one I voted at today.

My mother likes to tell a story about riding along when Tammy was the Federal Compliance Officer for Maricopa County in Arizona and had to take a voting machine to an Indian reservation the evening before the election, and pick it up again at the end of the day. It is a great story about how our indigenous people had never voted before in their own country. It is a great story about Tammy's dogged commitment to seeing everyone who is entitled to vote gets to vote.

There I go, wandering from my point again. As my longtime readers know, I have a tendency to do that. Let me get back to my original point of this post. I want to get this done today before it goes out to my subscribed blog readers, so let me wrap up this post.

We have all been told ad nauseam every election cycle to make sure we vote. I cannot end this with doing the same thing and stressing to every one of you to make sure you vote on or before November 4th!

The midterm elections are always a low voter turnout. We need to change that trend! I cannot encourage you enough to do your civic responsibility and make sure you exercise your constitutional right and vote!

Here is visual proof I voted today:

If my nose is not large enough for you now, you can always click on the image and make it larger!

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Monday, October 6, 2014

Mike Caught A Big Fish!

Mike Smith caught himself one big halibut a few weeks ago! Now, according to a quick Google search of the worlds largest halibut ever caught, this 63 inch, approximately 130 pound halibut is a mere baby!

According to the Weekly World News newspaper on August 16, 2013 the world's largest halibut had to be towed in because the boat the Norwegian fishermen were fishing from was too small to handle the size of the fish!

 That halibut weighed in at 513 pounds, breaking the old record of 419 pounds!

Mike is an avid salmon fishermen and seldom do they fish for halibut.

Here is a picture of Mike's prize possession:

Click on the image to make it larger, as if you really want to!

To give you a little history on why I am posting this particular fish story is Mike is my cousin and makes his home with his wife and new baby girl in Anchorage, Alaska. Mike's given name is Michael Patrick Smith. He is the firstborn boy of Terry and Toni Smith, of Sterling, Alaska.

His father, Terry is three years older than me and gave Mike the fishing bug at an early age.

Between hunting pheasants every fall at the home farm my uncle Bob has kept in the family and turned it into a pheasant hunting, deer game preserve or fishing salmon and other game fish in Alaska, I do not know what they love more. I have a feeling it is whatever is in season is their favorite!

I am excited to see several of them at the annual Smith hunting trip in about a month. This photograph was taken several years ago and shows my uncles Terry, Bob, Bill and the youngest of the family, Tim. It is one of my favorite photographs:

 Click on the image to make it larger:

Terry and Tim will come down from Alaska and Bob will come up from Mississippi.  Bob has been working on the barn to restore it to its original 1901 condition and turning into a hunting lodge. He does not like it when I refer to it as a man cave, so I better call it a hunting lodge. There will be several more family members joining the hunt and lots of stories will be spread in the ten days they will be hunting.

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Friday, September 26, 2014

Details, Details, Details!

I am constantly telling my Personal Care Attendants (PCA's) it is all about the details! Last Friday the details came back to bite me in the butt to the tune of one hundred seventy dollars! One hundred thirty-eight for a tow to the Minneapolis Impound Lot and thirty-two for a parking ticket!

I was on my way to an elpisenterprises board meeting on the twenty-third floor of 150 South Fifth Street, in downtown Minneapolis. Since I cannot park in parking lots if I am alone because I cannot pull the tabs out of the dispensers, I pulled in to the last meter on the corner of Fourth Street and Marquette. I did not bother to look up and see the sign that read, "No Parking 4 to 6 PM." That was a big mistake! With my handicap plates, I am able to park at a meter for up to four hours. I knew I would not be in the meeting that long, so I decided to park there.

I left the meeting a little after 4:30 only to watch the tow truck pull away with my van a block and a half ahead of me. I had this sickening feeling I was going to have a very difficult time getting home.

I knew that tow truck was taking my van to the impound lot, so I took off across downtown Minneapolis during rush hour and people walking to the Twins game.

My chair has six speed settings and C is the fastest. You have heard people talk about multiple-choice tests and questionnaires, and they will tell you to, "Always answer C." That is the way my power wheelchair is. I clicked on C and took off the 1.4 miles to the impound lot. I cannot tell you how many times I told people as I was approaching them, "Passing on your left." I always do that so people do not get scared when I go speeding past them. It is also fun to watch oncoming pedestrians as they oftentimes do not know what to do as they approach me.

I asked a couple people who were waiting at bus stops if they knew if the bus stopped at Glenwood by the impound lot? One man told me, "That's a long ways. You can't get there in a wheelchair." He was not sure which bus I would take; he just knew I could not get there in a wheelchair.Obviously, he did not know my wheelchair!

Once I got on the bridge going over the freeway, I knew I was home free. I saw a gentleman in an SUV that was marked City of Minneapolis Protective Services. I managed to flag him down and he was very helpful. He got on his walkie-talkie right away and asked someone about the impound lot and their hours. He told me they were open until 11 PM. That eased my mind considerably as I knew I would not have to hurry and get there by 5 PM.

I only had a few blocks to go and as I was turning off Aldrich Avenue, I saw the tow truck right in front of me. He was turning to go down Colfax and enter the impound lot. I got a charge out of that! I almost beat the tow truck who was towing my van to the impound lot!

I did catch up as he was entering the lockdown area. I asked the woman in the booth if she would ask him to park the van somewhere where I could get in the passenger side door so I could get in my ramp. She was less than cordial and I am sure not in a good mood because of the angry clientele she deals with all day long. If you have ever been to an impound lot you know they can be places you do not want to spend any time! 

I was pleasantly surprised when I went inside to settle up with the towing fee to get my van back. There was only one woman in the waiting area with me! I could not believe there was nobody in there. The only problem was I could not get the door open! I believe  that is in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

I approached the first window and started to talk to the man on the other side that was also not wearing a smile. 

He told me what I needed to get my van and when he asked for my ID which I cannot get out of my wallet. My wallet would not fit under the window and he was not willing to come around and help me get my ID and a credit card.

Fortunately, my new friend, Allison, who was there to get her car because it had been towed after she had a little too much to drink the night before. I love to start conversations with complete strangers and get their stories. She was more than willing to tell me her story.

Allison took my ID and slid it under the window. After a quick check of finding I had no outstanding warrants, the nice man behind the window passed my ID back for Allison. Then she gave him a credit card and helped me through the entire process.

The nice man behind the window told me to go over and wait by that door and another nice person would come and take me to my van. I did as he instructed.

When I was waiting at the door a woman drove up in another nice SUV and told me she would take me to my van. I told her, "No you won't, because I cannot get in your vehicle. If I could, what will we do with my wheelchair?"

She agreed and told me to just follow her through the lot. My van was parked in the far lot and she told me to take these papers and give them to the first nice lady at the exit to the lot. 

I told her I would not be able to pass them to the first nice lady, and asked her if she would please go ahead of me and pass the papers through to my first new friend. She was more than willing to help me. She was very nice and very helpful.

We got back up to the first nice lady to check out and my new friend handed her my papers. Then she took off! She left me alone with the first nice lady and I knew I was in trouble as she wanted to hand back my papers. I told her I could not reach them and asked her if she would put them on my passenger seat?

She would not get out of her booth, so she threw the papers through my window and fortunately landed on the seat. I did not look back at her and did not say thank you. I guess I was being rude. That was not nice of me. In my defense, I was in no mood to extend any courtesy to the impound lot employees. I was just glad to be out of there and have my little urban orienteering adventure finally over.

The bottom line is, "Pay attention to the details!"

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Monday, September 15, 2014

You Can Go Home!

We have all heard people say, "You can't go home."

That simply is not true, at least for me. I did it again last weekend when I went home to Worthington, Minnesota for their annual King Turkey Day celebration. I love going to Worthington on Turkey Day weekend because I always run into people I knew both before and after my accident.

Plus, there is always the added attraction of meeting new people at any turn. I had another goal this year and that was to sell more of my books and schedule speaking engagements. That way, I could deduct my mileage, lodging and related expenses for my trip.

My goal was achieved before I even checked in to the local AmericInn where I stay pretty much every year. I booked my room a year in advance every time I check out, so I am set for next year.

I no sooner got in the door and a gentleman standing in front of me turned and asked me, "Are you Mike Patrick?"

I chuckled a little bit, and replied, "Yes I am. How do you know me?"

He replied, "I've heard you speak a couple times and you are very good."

I chuckled again a bit and said, "Thank you. When and where did you hear me?"

He said, "I've heard you twice. I heard you at teacher workshop in Mankato when I was teaching in Wells. You also came and spoke at our high school when I was still at Wells. I'm retired now. But, I often think of things you said and remember many of your direct quotes."

I thought that was pretty cool he remembered some of my quotes!  I was at Wells-Easton High School April 17, 1990! He was quoting me from a speech I gave more than twenty-four years ago! I thought that was pretty cool!

Then he said, "The problem isn't the issue, the issue is how you deal with the problem." That is my quote verbatim!

Then he told me he is retired now and is a member of the school board. I told him it was time to come back. Since he has heard me before, I gave him one of my books "I Still Believe In Tomorrow" and asked him to give it to the superintendent and/or principal at their new high school. He asked me how much he owed me for the book and I told him nothing since it was a promotional piece and I gave them away if I was going to get a speech out of giving away a book. We chatted for a while and the story could fill the rest of this post.

When his wife had finished the check-in process, I came up to the counter and the woman behind the counter told me she was at the game the night I got hurt and remembered it like it was yesterday! She wanted to know if she could get one of my books. She wanted it for personal use and said she wanted to pay for it!

I have not even checked in to my room and I had already accomplished my goal of booking a school and selling a book! I was off to a good start!

Once we got checked in, Robert, my personal care attendant, (PCA) and I went to get something to eat so I could take off and start my quest to build on my early success.

I started towards the Nobles County Fairgrounds because they have a beer garden and other King Turkey Day activities in the facilities. I stopped in to the Activities and Antiques building just to look around and kill some time. Before I got there, I ran into Worthington's mayor, Alan Oberloh. I tease him because he is not your typical small-town mayor. He has a beard that could fit him right in as one of the guitar players for ZZ Top! He invited me to come to the Mayor's Brunch the next morning at 9:15 AM and he would give me a couple minutes of microphone time to pitch my book.

I told him I did not know if I could make that because of the timing and wanting to be downtown for the 10K race at 10 o'clock. As it turned out, I did go to the brunch and gave him a hard time about making me kiss a turkey when I spoke as their guest speaker two years ago. There is another blog post back two years that talks about that whole traumatic experience and the lasting affects it has had on me!

I had brunch with my favorite Worthington detective and his wife, and then took off early to get downtown. I got to see several friends, family members and long time, lifelong runners as they started the race and watched them finish after running around Lake Okabena.

My day was just beginning and I spent a good time in the early fall sun which gave me a nice red face, large forehead and rather sore top of my head!

I spent the evening crashing the Class of 1974 and 1964 reunions connecting with many old friends who many wanted to tell me stories of how my accident affected them.

One of my long time friends, Sheila Hawkinson, took the bull by the horns, grabbed several books and worked both rooms to sell dozens of my books! She was tremendous! Many photographs were taken on peoples' iPhones and Androids with lots of smiles and even some tears as cameras were in my face all evening.

I asked many people to send me photographs for my Screen Saver Collection and if you are reading this, please send those photographs either to my email address or put them on my Facebook page. Thank you.

There are already several photographs on my Facebook page. One of them is this photograph of Cindy Taylor-Moll and me at the 1974 Reunion: 

Click on the image to make it larger:

I could go on and tell you many more stories about going home and what a pleasure it always is to go to Worthington. This is a long post, so I will not keep you any longer. Let me say, "Don't believe people when they tell you can't go home."

Sunday morning found us stopping at one of my favorite TACO JOHN'S eateries to load up with plenty of calories to drive two hundred miles back home with another great King Turkey Day experience behind me. It is always hard to leave Worthington because there was people I wanted to see and did not and the conversations I did have were never long enough.

As always, I look forward to your comments and pictures. 



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Domestic Violence Is Never The Answer!

Domestic violence has been going on since men and women started cohabitating. That does not make it acceptable behavior. When one considers one out of every four women will experience some sort of domestic violence perpetrated on them by often times their own partner, that statistic boggles the mind!

The newly-releasd elevator videotape being shown ad nauseam on ESPN and other cable stations is indeed disgusting. Granted, we do not know what the couple was arguing about; however, we do know arguments should never be settled with one's fists!

The NFL and Baltimore Ravens were quick to act in suspending and even releasing Rice from his contract after watching the videotape of Ray Rice hitting his then-fiancée Janay Palmer. The couple was married a short time later.

Janay Rice has come out with a statement saying, in part, the incident was her fault. It should be noted the couple have known each other since they were teenagers. They only started dating after he got his first NFL contract. They also have a child together.

I just saw breaking news on ESPN that the NFL offices received the elevator videotape in April. The Commissioner, Roger Goodell, adamantly denies anyone in the NFL offices seeing this videotape before two days ago.

Terry O'Neill, the president for the National Organization for Women (NOW), has made this statement. "The NFL has lost its way. It doesn't have a Ray Rice problem; it has a violence against women problem. The only workable solution is for Roger Goodell to resign."

The interesting thing for me about this whole incident is how pieces of information are slowly trickling out as the TMZ video has hit the networks. What I find interesting is how angry the entire court of public opinion is towards Rice — and justifiably so. Eventually, he will be judged by a jury of his peers. That is, if it goes that far.

The thing is, this kind of violence towards women and girls happens all the time and often times goes unreported, or the woman or girl is made out to be the perpetrator instead of the victim. That is just wrong.

We hear excuses all the time about the victims were asking for it because of the provocative clothing they were wearing, suggestive speaking they were exhibiting and many other excuses to blame the victim.

According to this page on safehorizon.org, http://www.safehorizon.org/page/domestic-violence-statistics--facts-52.html: "Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults. Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men. Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence. Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner."

If you click on the Safe Horizon link above, it will take you to a page that is full of fascinating facts on the issue and how it relates to families, homelessness and a number of other consequences I did not know. I found the page incredibly helpful in helping me make this post.

In doing additional research, I found racial and ethnic groups are anywhere from one-third to one-half times more likely to be abused than are white women. There is also a dramatic socioeconomic factor at play in these numbers. In other words, poor women and girls of color and minority ethnic groups are more likely to be abused, and most of the time the abuse comes inside the home.

Another interesting point is women and girls are not the only victims of domestic violence as the statement from Safe Horizon's quote points out. Obviously, it is not as prevalent as women being abused, but it should be noted it also takes place. I am guessing here, but I would be willing to bet those cases are even less likely to be reported than when women are being assaulted.

The issue is not going to go away. It always amazes me how many events have a 24-hour news cycle and then it is dropped until the next time that type of event happens. It will be interesting for me to watch and see how this plays out over the next several months because, after all, we are talking about the NFL and everyone knows "Boys will be boys." (Know I say that with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek).

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I Made It 43 Years ... And Counting!

"9-3-71" is my response when someone is filling out a form in a doctor's office or some other person wants to know my injury onset. It is hard to believe it has been forty-three years ago tonight since I had my accident.

If you were one of the people at the game, I am guessing you remember something about that night and the ensuing months when many lives were affected by an instant in time. That is a phrase I use often, "an instant in time" can change anyone's life forever. I am guessing everyone will agree with me they all have their own "instant in time." Some of you have more than one instant in time.

That is not a very difficult prediction to make. Our instants are not always negative like that one was for me. I have had many "instants in time" that have proven to be very positive experiences. I am sure you have too.

I remember that entire day as if it happened yesterday. I cannot tell you where the last forty-three years have gone. I would guess many of you feel the same way. Life goes on. It has always amazed me just how fast our lives fly by. It seems like when we are young, we cannot wait to grow up and time drags on.

Now, as adults, at least for me, time is measured in years and a year goes by incredibly quickly. I remember being a boy and anxious to get old enough so I could finally play varsity football and basketball.

As a freshman, I ran on the track team and missed getting my letter by one point. I lettered my sophomore year in track and proudly wore my letter jacket for just a few minutes one day because I did not get it until the summer before my accident.  Summer in Minnesota is not the time to be wearing a letter jacket! I still have it and it looks brand-new.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times someone will walk up to me and tell me they were at the game, or they remember my accident. They all tell me what kind of an impact it had on them and how it affected the way they looked at football, taking risks, how fortunate they were not to have gotten hurt playing football, or more often their lifelong struggle with an injury they received playing football.

People will tell me how their shoulder hurts or they have a bad knee because of a football injury. One of the things I always tell them when they say they compare their injury with mine is not to do that. I do not believe it is a matter of degree.

If you have an injury or trauma of any sort, that is your issue and you need to address it. I do not believe you should compare it to "What happened to Mike." Too many times people do that and I want them to know they have to address their own issues their own way.

September third is always a bittersweet day for me. I have always felt the bitterness of the day my first life ended and my second life began. I believe very strongly I have had two lives. The life before my accident lasted sixteen years and now I am forty-three in this second life.

It is hard to imagine I am only several months away from turning sixty! I still feel like a young boy much of the time. I just go to bed earlier now!

I feel the sweetness in knowing I have lived another year. I say that because when I was in Sioux Falls for the first ninety-nine days after my accident, the doctors came into my room and asked to talk to my family members. My parents did not remember this, but my sister remembers it vividly. The doctors told my family my life expectancy was nine years.

I guess I beat those expectations. The thing is, those were the statistics on life expectancy for spinal cord injuries in 1971. High-level neck injuries like mine did not live long because of complications due to the injury. Now, they are able to deal with many of those complications and I can expect to die of the same thing most of the rest of us will and that is heart disease.

Doctors keep telling me they do not know what to do with certain problems I come up with because they have not had to deal with those issues and people with spinal cord injuries who have lived that long because we are living longer all the time.

I know a couple men with spinal cord injuries who are alive and they are well over fifty years post injury. I often post about new developments in spinal cord injury and regenerating nerves. I know it will happen, I just do not know when it will!

I want to attach this photograph taken by Jim Brandenburg. He took nine photographs that night as he was beginning is incredible career as a photographer for the Worthington Daily Globe. You may see the rest of his photographs of that night on my website at: www.patcom.com.

I distinctly remember the applause I received as they carried me from one end zone to the other to wait for the ambulance. I never understood that applause because I had just suffered a traumatic injury and people were clapping. I felt like I was a Christian who had just been mauled by a lion in the Coliseum and people were clapping. That did not make any sense to me. I now know why they did it out of respect. The thing is no one knew what had just happened. I write about this in more detail in my book "I Still Believe In Tomorrow."

Click on the image to make it larger:

Now, I am off to acupuncture and I am sure I will feel a complete state of calmness after my treatment.

As always, I welcome your comments.



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Chad Is 41 Today!

Happy Birthday, little brother, even though I am one day late! What an eventful year for you! Did it bring as many surprises as your second birthday did? I love the look on your face in this picture:

Click to make the image larger:

For those of you who do not know my little brother Chad's story, let me tell you a little about the baby of our family. Before you have to pull out your iPhone and check and see what year Chad was born to make him 41 today, I will tell you he was born in 1973, not quite two years after my accident in 1971. He has never known me other than his big brother who uses a wheelchair.

At an early age, he had the nickname "Thumper" because he would thump his leg while he slept on his stomach. As soon as he was old enough to hold any two objects like wooden spoons, he would start beating them rhythmically on anything close to him. That included toys, furniture, his Big Wheel, the seat in the car … you name it.

Little did we know when he was incessantly beating on everything in sight with or without objects as he would use his fingers to pound out a rhythm on the dashboard of my van whenever I took them somewhere that it would lead to a lifelong passion for drumming.

I have posted about him before and the success he has had in getting his Drum Wallet snare drum accessory patented and now being marketed worldwide. His site may be accessed by clicking here. If that does not get to The Drum Wallet, you may access it at this URL: http://www.boywithadrum.com

Besides getting his patent last year and working on getting his product in stores, schools, garages and stages worldwide, he keeps himself busy by giving private drum lessons to budding drummers both in his house and at the students' residences, playing with some well-known bands and occasionally teaches as a substitute in two or three school districts in his area. No moss grows on Chad's north side!

Teaching fourth grade for seven years was a great love for Chad. However, California regulations, school administrators and policies made it extremely difficult for him to continue as a full-time elementary teacher. Now, he makes more money as a substitute, and has a lot fewer responsibilities placed on his head. Ultimately, it was the system that drove him away.

He even made it home for Thanksgiving last fall, and between marketing calls to local stores, found time to have dinner with our family. This photo was taken in my apartment as he waited to have me take him to the airport:

Click on the image to make it larger:

I have blogged about him three times before and if you would like to read any one of those posts, click on his name at the bottom of this post.

Once again, Happy Birthday Chadster! 

I look forward to your comments.


Proud Big Brother Mike