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.