I read this book a while back called "Good to Great" about how businesses can achieve lasting success and institutionalize high performance. The observations were the businesses you think are going to be the most successful are usually just trends and very volatile, and the long lasting success stories are not producing wild innovations on any level.

There are a few aspects that I find resonate with me on a personal level.

Instant gratification is one of these misleading fallacies we all to various extents tend to gravitate towards. The idea that everything must be good or perfect, and it must be this way now is how so many of us operate. You need to get the top marks in school to be the smartest, or you'll never be successful. You need to acquire all these personal items: house, degree, career, or even the perfect family, to be successful in life. What does it mean to succeed though? Does it mean that we need to be on top of trends, work in jobs we don't agree with to fulfill consumeristic needs to fill a void left by unfulfilling work? Is weight loss a thing that must be achieved at 5 pounds a week, and if we don't achieve it we won't be happy? Maybe just educate to learn, work to live, and be healthy and active to feel good.

What we believe is up to us, but the general perspective on life has become a hand to mouth reaction, and we are surviving on the need of everyone to fulfill their own instant needs, than look farther down the line to notice there are other ways to reach a more fulfilled life. Jennie and I have heard the phrase "you're so lucky" about our trip so many times, but we forsook instant gratification for a larger goal down the road. We have chose to sacrifice a few security blankets others hold so dear, to put ourselves in a position that to some seems unattainable.

That is one reason I love the idea of cruising, it requires commitment, sacrifice, and many tradeoffs. No matter how much money you have you are faced with the tradeoff between time and money. No matter how old you are you have to choose to leave the safety of the harbour. And the ocean does not care how big or small a boat your is, it will demand your respect.

Another aspect of the book that I can translate to a personal level is the flywheel theory. The concept that you choose a goal, and determine a plan. Once the projection is determined you must work, and work hard. Results will not happen immediately, at first you must push as hard as you can just to get that wheel to move an inch. Eventually the wheel starts to move, but you need to keep pushing, and pushing, and pushing. The wheel starts to build momentum, and eventually your job is to try to keep up. All of a sudden after lots of hard work and determination, life starts to carry you; but you have to keep pushing that flywheel until it starts to hold its momentum.

The author also talks about a hedgehog concept. This is just understanding your identity, your uniqueness. We all strive to achieve, by beating others at their game. Why not look for blue oceans instead of red waters (Blue Ocean Strategy).

Today we picked up our vessel registration, perfect timing. We had to cut through some red tape, and get documents that we didn't know we needed. It all worked out; just a few more things and we're off.

Optimistic



I dare say that this felt about as close to a normal kind of day as I have felt in...many months! I started a new and very robust blood Pressure Medication and Diuretic late this morning and it put me right to bed. I slept on/off for well over 3 HOURS this afternoon. And even though I feel a bit groggy and I am not really very energetic because of the side effects, I am pretty pleased with the results so far. It is going to take some getting used to.


I have also noticed that my feet, ankles and lower-leg are not as painful and tight feeling though they are still quite swollen. But I think it is definitely an improvement even the the urination part of all this was unreal, I felt like I was going to explode. So we'll just see how it goes the next couple of days but after today I feel somewhat optimistic about the whole thing....and it is the first time I've felt THAT way in awhile!

Talk About A TRIP!!


What an interesting life this is! Never in my wild dreams would I ever have imagined that I would be sharing the most intimate, personal details, thoughts and feelings of my life with a public audience. And doing so with the stated intention that perhaps it may help others as well as myself along the way. The whole notion that I would do ANYTHING with the idea that it may benefit other people would have been foreign to me just under a decade ago.

Not that I was a bad guy or anything , I did care about other people and genuinely wanted others to have success in their lives too but I just  did not want to be involved with them in any way...I wasn't about to actually help them get there! No...they were very much on their own. My focus to the very core was always about me and getting MINE...I figured other people could and should take care of themselves. It was certainly not in my best interest as a practicing alcoholic/addict (and yes, deep down I did know that is what I was) to share details about myself really on ANY level with other people....the more I kept to myself, the better!

No, I was already going to great lengths to lie about what and who I really was. I didn't want anyone to have a clue about me because in reality I lived in real fear about being exposed for being the fraud that deep down I really knew I was...You see, I hated myself and was certain that I would not, could not EVER measure up to the expectations I felt the world had for me. I literally remember feeling like a fraud...it was a sickening, disheartening, DEFLATING feeling that even thinking about today leaves me feeling somewhat uncomfortable.

Now I CHOOSE to reveal who I am...and no one is more surprised by that today then me. And yet...I'm really not surprised, knowing deep in my heart that with my transformation to a FOLLOWER of Christ, truly anything is possible. And the existence of Shell Shock Serenade? Well...this is the MOTHER LODE of examples of that right here! The fact that I would reveal myself in this manner, day after day with all the implied and ACTUAL emotional and even physical risk is quite simply beyond human understanding...certainly I don't understand it. Therefore there must be ANOTHER explanation for it and I believe most certainly that there IS...It's GOD.

No doubt in my mind. And to take all of this even further...not only am I most willing to share of myself in this manner in the sincerest hope that it may in one way or another help someone in need...I simply cannot think of any other way that I would much rather live right now.

The stuff that used to be such a priority to me just six short years ago just really does not matter to me any more: Money, drugs/alcohol, sex, instant gratification, greed, deceit, power, control...none of it even remotely motivates me today. Nothing I have found in nearly 50 years of life comes close to the incredible gift I have discovered through my relationship with the LORD: The gift of GIVING back of oneself to OTHERS.

It is with out a doubt simply the most profoundly rewarding thing that I have ever experienced and I was NOT even looking for IT when I stumbled into this new life in HIM. No...I was just trying to "get through" another day...just like I ALWAYS was! And the simple fact that I take no credit what so ever in this matter speaks volumes about the origin of my recovery and spiritual life today. I truly believe that the term "saved" is accurate because that is exactly how I feel: GOD saved me from myself!

I literally stood at the edge of life, looking most intently into the abyss convinced that the only answer for me, the only right thing to do for my family and friends was to throw myself over the edge...and so I did. That was the depth of my despair and hopelessness that I was convinced to my very core that death was the only answer for me.

But as the British Great War Poet Wilford Owen states in one of my favorite poems of all time...SPRING OFFENSIVE: "Some say God caught them before they fell"...well, I am certain that GOD indeed caught this wretched sinner, before he finally FELL.

Oh, I died all right that day but not in the manner in which I intended. No...that failure to succeed in dying that day lead to my eventual surrender to JESUS and doing so I make a commitment to DIE each and every day for HIM, to renounce the old life, the old ME and embrace the new...which is life in HIM. How do I know this has really happened? How do I know that this is real and not some figment of my imagination?

Because this selfish, secretive, self oriented person who NEVER thought of sharing ANY part of myself with others NOW (as I mentioned at the beginning of this post) willingly shares all my most intimate thoughts and feelings with others in the improbable hope (we can call this FAITH) that it may in some way or another HELP someone in NEED.

That my dear friends is just too improbable of a change to have "just happened for no reason". No, no....that is DIVINE intervention, plain and simple...there is simply no other way to describe or explain it. An I feel privileged....I mean that: PRIVILEGED to be able to do it each and every day to the very FULLEST of my ability.

And that is how I know that I have changed because I do know ME...and this my friends is not the natural me, not even close. This can only be explained as the work of the universal artist, THE CREATOR of ALL: GOD.

(PHOTO: Kathy Tomson)

But Which College Football Team Do I Choose?

Thanks to ESPN America, the internet and Andrew Luck being talked about non-stop on UK website Sky Sports.com, college football popularity's gotten higher and higher, and the VFA's starting to have to answer questions from our Twitter followers.

Sadly, they aren't the sort which involve money, tickets to stadia, or dates with beautiful north-western students who we might have talked about, but which teams people should support.

First and foremost, the VFA says: "We don't care who you support, as long as you get your butt over to your team's stadium once in your life to watch a game".

But secondly, here's a quick guide:

1) For cheerleaders: Go for Oregon, USC, or Florida. While USC have the classic song girls, Oregon and Florida's are well-concentrated-on by both cameramen and students alike. With those girls in front of you, students, how do you ever watch a game?? Avoid Texas A&M, unless you're female and like all-male cheerleader hunks.

2) For nice weather: Go for Miami or UCLA, where the weather's pretty perfect. South Carolina and Clemson aren't bad either for September and October either. The University of Hawaii and Arizonas get our thumbs-up, too.

3) For the amazing co-eds: 90% of American schools are great. But the University of Texas is something special. The boys seem to work out perfectly, the girls are, well, "wow", and everyone wears awesome cowboy boots. And Austin rocks. Which helps, because their team doesn't seem to be getting any better anytime soon.

4) To be a part of culture: You've got to be rooting for Ole Miss, which is housed in Oxford, Mississippi (former home of William Faulkner (and the latter-day William Faulkner, ESPN's Wright Thompson), or Rutgers (near to New York City, where you can escape to), or any of the LA teams (Hollywood stars jump on team bandwagons when the teams are doing well out there). Or even Tulane, which bang in New Orleans. Stay away from Northwestern, which gets just too damned cold in winter.

5) To be part of a great party: College football IS tailgating. The University of Colorado, though, is something special. As is any SEC or Big Ten school. And if you fancy jumbalaya, then go to LSU.

6) To be part of a winner: Opt for any SEC school. By the rate the conference is going, they'll all have won a National Championship by around 2025 (Bold Prediction here!). Oregon's awesome offense (if Chip Kelly stays), both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, and Ohio State are also going to be fun. As well as THAT team in LA (USC).


7) To be a part of tradition: There's only one team for that, and it's Notre Dame. Gold helmets? Touchdown Jesus? An awe-inspiring campus? Priests? The Fighting Irish have got it all in South Bend! Including an overrated team who last went to a National Championship Game when Jesus himself was indeed a boy.

8) For beautiful stadiums: Nothing beats Sanford Stadium in Georgia, although we'd argue that Washington's Husky Stadium overlooking the bay comes close. Oh, and Virginia's stadium in Charlottesville with the grass bank in the end-zone gives it character, too.

9) For stadiums with atmosphere: Nothing's louder than Kyle Field (Texas A&M) on gameday, but Tiger Stadium (LSU), Tuscaloosa (Alabama) and Beaver Stadium (Penn State) are all something special.


9) To be part of new beginnings: That's Penn State. And you get to wear white in an awesome 110,000 stadium, too!

And you could become a Georgia fan just because of this....


A Little one...

I went to the doc today and basically we focused in on treating the high BP with the idea that some of the rest of the stuff my fall back into place if we can get that stabilized. This is a strategy I have been advocating yet to no avail. That of course is frustrating when your own physician ignores you.


He changed all of my related medication with this new focus in mind so we will see how it goes. I know that I feel good about it and want to see how this will turn out.


I just have a deep suspicion that the BP is the root cause of the issues...of course you never really know when there are so many potential alternatives there are. Now the focus this week is making that medication change work, support Kim's job search and get the darned furnace replaced on Wednesday.
We had a wonderful day in Whistler. My mom's love for Whistler enhanced after she volunteered during the 2010 Winter Olympics. She had a few things she wanted Jennie and my input on before we left, and wanted to take us out to dinner. We walked around the village all day, and after we had great meal at the Old Spaghetti Factory, which is probably one of the best bang for your buck restaurants around here. Jennie took out the nice camera and took some shots while we walked down the village. They were taken in a bit of a rush, but they definitely showcase the village at night.





Turning The Lights Off After Paterno's Gone and Other Stories

This writer's still finding it hard to struggle with the loss of Joe Paterno.

We've tried to imagine something about next season. We've tried to cheer on new coach Bill O'Brien and imagine what it will be like if Coach O'Brien's team plays well and Beaver Stadiums rocks.

But it's a grieving process. We all need it.

And if you are still in it at the moment, check out ESPN's Wright Thompson - one of the best sportswriters in the world - and his article on Jay Paterno and a bandanna from a dog. Tears ran. Oh, and here's Jay Paterno's eulogy at his father's memorial service.

Oh, and while we're at it, here's Thompson's article on the guy turning the lights off at Beaver Stadium after everything was over.

And here's Joe Paterno's statue....




And this lovely spoken-work tribute on YouTube.

The Reasonable (though NOT Popular CHOICE)




Have I ever mentioned that I can be a little bit stubborn at times? Well...it is true, I most certainly CAN be difficult when my mind is set on something. Today...I chose to not attend church because of my health and it just drives me crazy. One of the  biggest challenges for me has been the "self-denial", choosing what is really best for me health wise by making decisions like this to stay home where it's safe and rest. I have NEVER been good at doing the right thing in such matters. My natural inclination is to just push forward and do what I wish, Me, Me, Me, I always come first and get what I want...and the heck with the consequences...But historically, the consequences ALWAYS win. And then I suffer and whine like I am the victim of some terrible injustice when in reality, I did it to myself...AGAIN.


I know it doesn't sound like much of a decision for me to stay home but for me it's huge because it does represent this self-denial for what is right...and I do not like giving in. The last 3 weeks I've chosen to go to church each week and be forced to leave under very unpleasant circumstances...which was awful. Today I was able to see the writing on the wall and in hindsight I have not felt well the rest of the day. And I was able to rest even though I am still feeling quite ill this afternoon. 


For the first time in a while we had friends stop by after church for breakfast (pancakes/sausage, coffee and juice) and just having company for a little over an hour. It was awesome to visit, I have such great friends but their short visit absolutely sucked the life right out of me. I enjoyed it but that was all I could physically do.


These are hard and difficult realities for me to face & accept. And perhaps that is the greater purpose behind why this is happening. Sound ridiculous? Perhaps it does but I do believe that things seem to happen in my life for a greater purpose...things that are often hard or even impossible for me to comprehend. Yet in the end it turns out that those hardship experiences end up serving me well later on. 


I do have faith...and yes FAITH is a new and often mysterious concept and/or reality for me to get my arms around and accept but I am getting there...I do in fact..believe. I believe the LORD is with me even under really crappy, mysterious circumstances like these...even when I want to tell him he is full of crap and he needs to FIX me...now! Nothing happens and the intense weight of that realization that I am truly POWERLESS over this situation settles in over me and my world. It's oppressive and self-defeating IF I do not keep my eyes (my focus) squarely on the CREATOR at all times.


So One soldiers on, as I must...though I admit to no understanding of the bigger picture here, I do know one thing with the utmost certainty: I must continue ON. I must FOLLOW my LORD because what ever awaits me in the future, I know HE must lead me there because I have lived the alternative life and it was nothing short of catastrophe. And I have had ENOUGH of CATASTROPHE for one lifetime my friends, trust me on that!


(PHOTO: Kathy Tomson)


The LIMIT...



I actually did something I have not done in awhile...I went grocery shopping this evening. Typically I always do my own shopping and I always have. But I have not been physically capable of doing it on my own for some time. Now Kim still went with me and we went tooling around afterwards. A trip that should have taken us an hour tops just came to an end 20 minutes ago after over 3 hours of goofing around. It was good fun...


My guess would be that I have gotten a total of 3 to 3.5 hours of sleep this pat 24 hours in little 10 to 25 to 45 minute chunks of time...It is the best I have felt in a very long time.


I am going to try and go to church but the last three weeks I have not made it through the service. If I do not feel prepared to stay the whole service...I am not going to go. The last couple of days have proven one thing and that is that a little rest will go a long way. I just have to stay positive and keep getting sleep where I can.


We have a couple coming over for breakfast after church so that should be cool. It's almost like I'm having a real life for a change...I think I'll keep it!       

My POSSE...


For those of you who don't know me, Saturday mornings at 9a are my favorite moments of the whole entire week! Why, you may ask....Because I have a POSSE of ladies and I get to hang out with them on Saturdays, that's why!

Confused? OK I'll elaborate...I go and read the Bible each Saturday at 9p at a local Nursing Home (Residential Living Center, actually) all of my listeners each week are ladies. Usually around 6-8 of them....and the really cool thing about them is three of the regulars are 100 years old or older! Another 2-3 are in their late 90's...

This is simply the most enjoyable and rewarding thing that I have EVER done...it's incredible what occurs when we get together and hear the WORD of GOD read out loud. I literally seem to levitate at times while I read...it's such an intense experience.

It was this volunteer experience that has lead to the Bible Reading, actually we call it the Listening Ministry that we have today going to shut-ins and on Tuesday nights at our church. It just has taken off on it's own...

We have a snowy morning here in southern lower Michigan and I am not sure what the forecast is for today so I need to head out a wee bit earlier so I'll sign off for now. Have a wonderful Saturday morning.

(Photo: K. Tomson)

BRAVO To These BOYS!



I think it pretty much goes with out saying that the individuals who make up SEAL Teams are absolutely top notch, high wire, super intense, super organized individuals who are trained to improvise anytime-any-where to achieve their mission, no matter how impossible it may be. Impressive and yea it's frightening what human beings are capable of. To anyone interested in exactly how much a human being can endure, I recommend reading Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. This young man's story speaks for itself...


I have no doubt that we live in a world today that absolute demands the existence of these teams of professionals. I happen to know two individuals who are or were Navy Seals. One is here in Coldwater and he is medically retired from injuries. He is an alcoholic/addict and has really struggled since being out of the service. I actually have not seen nor heard from him in at least 6 months or so. His story is not typical of SEALS yet it's not totally unheard of either. I pray for this fellow every day because he carries some serious baggage around with him that he can't seem to work through...



The other is a son of an old friend of mine. I don't really know him that well but he seems to fit the stereo-type. A super intelligent, honor-student, Annapolis Grad...just super motivated go-getter type fellow.

There is a new movie coming out next month, Act Of Valor that uses real, active duty SEALS as the main characters in the film. They also film a majority of the firefight scenes using LIVE FIRE...that's right, real bullets. Check out the movie's web site and look at some of the trailers...it really looks good. I really believe as time goes on, wars are going to be fought more covertly, on a smaller scale and will involve the usage of our countries Special Forces Troops more and more frequently. This can be an equally scary and reassuring proposition all at the same time...
The last inch is a mile

Heard of this one? Well Jennie and I are living it. Visiting family and friends, waiting on a few last bits of paperwork, and packing up the last stragglers of our personal belongings. It's like when you are a kid and you have to wait to leave for school after all the pressure to get ready to go. Life has us waiting at the moment.

So in my state of laziness I have been cruising the sailing blogs, and getting to know the online community of sailors/cruisers. A very opinionated crowd, I think this will get very interesting once I get going on some of my "rants" here on the blog.

A lot of people talk about doing these trips and have lofty aspirations. I don't get why people need to pass judgement on how they should go about it. To each their own I say. When we look at our original goals to where we've got to now, the plan had changed many times. I think the important part is to have a goal in mind (like go cruising), and work really hard. The rest takes care of itself.

The food situation is interesting. Have you ever tried to eat everything in your fridge. I did it once over a 2 month period in college when I was broke. You start to eat some interesting items. Breakfast sausages, old frozen veggies, artificial lobster meat, tomato soup, red river oatmeal; and I haven't even gotten to what's in the liquor cabinet.

So far the plan is to leave mid next week and officially start our trip Sat. To get into the cruising mindset, we are going to be flexible on these dates, as long as it's not a Friday.

Sorry about the lack of pictures. We have set ourselves up to provide excellent multimedia during our trip, but taking pictures of us slowly working away in the basement is not very exciting. But next weekend we might be in the rockies, that should be nice. So stay tuned for some good stories and great pics, and maybe I'll persuade Jennie to write an entry about how to get your wife into cruising. She has offered, but has been slow to follow through.

When it rains...

It has been rainy and dark here for a long time. I have been saying for a while that I don’t mind the rain. Compared to where I grew up, in Northern BC, where the cold, snowy winters can last from October to April, the rain seemed so inconsequential. But I’ve been living in Southern BC for several years now, the memories of those long, cold winters have faded from memory and I am feeling very affected by the darkness and rain of Vancouver winters.


I took this past Tuesday off work. I had to take Lincoln for his 18month immunization in the morning and was originally going to come into work afterwards but really, who wants to come into work at 11am after being off all morning? Not me. So I decided to use a vacation day and have the whole day off. Unfortunately it stayed dark and gloomy, like dusk, all day – and my mood matched the weather, as it has for a few weeks now. I tried to make the best of it by hitting the gym but I had no heart for it. I managed a very short run on the treadmill before throwing in the towel. All I wanted to do was sit on the couch and read, which I managed to do for about 45 minutes.

Wednesday wasn’t much better. Cold, dark and rainy. And when arriving home after picking the kids up from daycare I discovered Lincoln was having a reaction from his immunization. He was swollen grotesquely and red/purple from his arm, up to his neck and across his chest. He was sporting one breast that was about a “C” cup. I made the mistake of posting a picture of it on Facebook to see if anyone else had had seen this sort of reaction and the place blew up. People freaked about it which made me regret posting the picture and I eventually took it down. Since it didn’t seem to be bothering him too much and he didn’t have a fever, I was of the school that we keep an eye on him at home and treat with Tylenol. I spoke with three different nurses and determined I was doing the right thing. Still, it was just another thing to jam into my mind to worry about. (The swelling has since gone down considerably and he is now only an “A” cup).

I’m really ready for things to smooth out. Or do they ever smooth out when you have a young family? Is this just how life is going to be for me now? Riding wave after wave after wave of illness, injury and issues? I keep thinking I’m relieved to have made it through X, Y, or Z but then just when I start to feel comfortable again, something else happens.

I find it really hard to find time for self care. I live in a bee’s nest of craziness, trying to balance work, life, kids, marriage, home, fitness, etc. Every time I do something for myself I can’t help but feel guilt. Guilt for spending the money on a new book or pedicure when I should be paying bills. Guilt for taking a vacation day at work when I could be gaining ground on an ongoing project. Guilt for leaving the kids in daycare on a day that I am at home. Guilt for going for a run and leaving Steve alone with the kids when they are being demons. Guilt for having a beer on a Friday afternoon when I should be using that time to exercise. Guilt for missing a planned trip to the gym when I’m just too fucking tired.

Yesterday the sun shone for the first time since I can remember. I could not believe how great it made me feel. I came home from work, strapped on my runners and headed out for a 5km. During my run, I got a text from Steve saying “run past the beer store”, which meant that he was having a hard time with the kids. When I got home he was frustrated and struggling as they had been maniacs while I was gone (for 35 minutes). And all that great feeling that came from my running in the fresh air and daylight got stuffed down as I jumped in trying to calm things down, get people in the bath, make dinner, clean up, etc.

It’s been a rough go the past few months, one thing after another. I know there’s got to be a light at the end of the dark tunnel. Spring will come. The sun will shine more regularly again. The kids will not be sick every other week. The time between catastrophes will hopefully start stretching out a little longer.

In the meantime, I’ll swirl around in the rain, and keep trying to find the elusive life balance. What else can I do but to keep trudging forward and hoping for a little sunshine and good luck to come my way.

Hanging Around



I have received several very heartfelt and in some instances very concerned private messages about the last couple of posts here on the SHOCK. Let me assure everyone that I am doing well...yes, it's been a rough patch but things are moving along. 


I needed to EMO-V (VENT...emotionally vomit, I call it) to purge that stuff from my system and then focus on growing, changing and enduring whatever continues to come flying my way. The only thing that I know for certain is that there will continue to be adversity...that never changes in life.


But I am on very good terms with GOD though I may have inadvertently implied differently. My point in mentioning that was that I do, even today have moments of questioning and doubt, I just do and that in my mind is part of being human...and I am not ashamed to admit that is the case.  But I pray and will persevere....I have experienced worse times.... much worse and these times will pass just like those experiences did. 


The furnace will not be replaced until Wednesday of next week so I am not happy about that but hey...what can I do? I don't happen to have a furnace in my back pocket!


Well I just wanted to reassure all that I am well and things are fine....we'll just keep hanging in there.


(Photo Kathy Tomson)

Time is NOW

I suppose for clarity's sake I need to get back on here and assure everyone that I do NOT have a DEATH WISH...NO, I actually have a LIFE WISH and want to know when if ever will I get to have a life again. I want to LIVE... please GOD can I live?! Pushing the limits to basic sanity is NOT my idea of fun or entertainment. I am completely out of energy for fun and games...let's solve this problem so I can live. Unless my fate is to SUFFER then leave me as I am because I am SUFFERING in every sense of the word...suffer.

Not sure what else to say or do...typically I focus on myself and changing the things about myself that I can. The time then HAS ARRIVED...

FORSAKEN, Forgotten Fried Remnant of a HUMAN BEING



OK and HEY...before I even start this puppy I'm going to apologize...basically because I am pissed, annoyed and sure to provoke or offend....probably (D) All of the ABOVE....


 Yes I am still living the zombie style life of the sleep deprived half-human I have morphed into and there seems to be no answer anywhere in sight, on the horizon or in the freaking UNIVERSE for that matter. I am STUCK with this crappy, sleepless existence and I can only wonder what type of spiritual FRANKENSTEIN type experiment GOD has going with me....


Truly and honestly I am a WILLING servant...I will FOLLOW and am glad to serve. But I have to say I am feeling ABUSED. And I am a person who NEVER throws that particular word around frivolously....EVER, for any reason at all!


Forsaken...er, YEA! Just a bit, don't you think....wouldn't you?!


OH Wait, that's right...you readers don't know the rest of the story. Like my doc cancelled my FRIDAY morning appointment...AGAIN! I think the cosmic powers of evil have conspired to prevent me from EVER seeing another doctor again...no I'll just die here on the VINE, don't mind me.


Found out this afternoon as well that the furnace is HISTORY and must be replaced. Let's just say because some individuals are not facing FACTS or being realistic I am going to be home SICK as I am, With no HEAT for the entire weekend...possibly until mid next WEEK!! AAARRRGGGHHH!!!


So HIGH Fever, screwed up bladder, HIGH BP, morbid...scary thoughts of me own doom and demise....Terrible, vicious pain in my lower back, left hip...have not slept more then 2 total hours in a day for nearly 7 weeks. My entire body ITCHES, I could tear all my skin off and I do not think I'd find relief.


I am calling out LORD, I'm on my last legs...knees in reality and I got nowhere else to go...I've been asking...pleading...BEGGING for mercy YET only SILENCE...the SOUND of despair.


Do you have a clue, perhaps? Because I do not have the slightest...foggiest ...hair of an idea what I am supposed to do here. Enduring for the sake of just hanging on is losing it's allure and I am weakening...I am caving in to the pressure. HELP ME

This photo sums up why people love Joe Paterno

Saw this great picture.

This sums  it up how I feel, how I became a Penn State fan and why I love the team so much.

Thank you for every, Coach Paterno, and we're sorry to see you go.

Now: Go Coach O'Brien, and please teach these kids to be everything they can be.

And thanks for the photo, http://www.statecollege.com.


Thank you, Phil Knight

They'll be burning their Air Jordans, switching Swooshes for stripes, and dumping their Nike stock by the millions for this.

Oregon players will go to the University of Washington. The Cheerleaders will go to USC or UCLA, or straight into the Seattle Seahawks. The Oregon Duck will finally get knocked off by a wayward hunter.

You can just imagine the outrage spewing out from Eugene to the Florida Keys.

Phil Knight said his piece at Joe Paterno's memorial service, and he - goshdarnit - spoke up in defence of Joe Paterno.

Here it is. If you can't deal with seeing URL cover the show, read this on Deadspin. It's awesome.

We stood up and applauded. So should you.




Satisfaction: 'one of the most exciting bands in Britain'

Horn-rock is a genre you rarely hear good things about, but it was big business between 1969 and 1971 or so. One of the best albums in the genre is the sole effort by Satisfaction, led by the hard-working Mike Cotton (who'd released an LP with The Mike Cotton Sound in October 1964 and gigged with the Beatles, but had no real success), aided by the excellent guitarist Derek Griffiths (formerly of the Artwoods) and bassist Lem Lubin (formerly of Unit 4+2). Listen here and here for evidence.

The band formed in May 1970. On August 8th the following article appeared in Music Now:


A week later, Music Now featured them again:


The following month they described their aims to Chris Welch in Melody Maker:


Their album was produced by the great David Hitchcock in September, and appeared in February 1971, as did a 45 pairing the non-LP Love It Is with Cold Summer. Here are the LP's front and back cover:



Decca placed this advert in the music press to promote it:


Reviewers were impressed. ‘A group we will be hearing more of,' wrote Disc & Music Echo on February 6th. 'On Satisfaction (interesting sleeve) the six-piece gives out a full sound as professional as any you’ll hear doing the rounds today.’ Record Mirror agreed, calling them ‘a good, tight band with some surprisingly sensitive vocal harmony moments. There are other moments where they veer into the world of the musically improbable, but no matter – the sounds herein are exclusively the sounds of Satisfaction.’ Melody Maker, meanwhile, went for broke: ‘Hang out more flags. Here’s a band we can be proud to proclaim. It’s a remarkable sound – adult, mature and convincing. The vocals are exceptional and the writing is also of a high standard.’

To promote the LP the band played numerous gigs, including an unlikely lunchtime session in a pub in Tottenham Court Road on February 19th:


Dennis Detheridge of Melody Maker was on hand, but wasn't overly impressed:


Reader Vincent Lawless of Sheffield was more enthusiastic, writing in as follows:


The answer to his question, unfortunately, was 'no'. Melody Maker ran another interview with Cotton on March 20th:


Though the article described Satisfaction as 'one of the most exciting bands in Britain', their final release (a non-LP 45 that appeared in July) sank without trace.

Belgian picture sleeve
Italian picture sleeve
Satisfaction split sometime in the autumn of 1971, with Cotton taking his horn section to the Kinks in time to make their Muswell Hillbillies LP, which appeared that November.

A RARE Realization


I couldn't begin to describe to you what other people feel like as they go through their day to day lives. I honestly used to assume that everyone felt as detached and alienated as I did...that was "normal" for me and I took it for granted that all people (at least adults in our American society) felt just the same way.

I see and understand now that couldn't have been farther from the truth, naive and frankly just plain misguided on my part to even assume such a thing. I now know that I am certainly an exception to the rule...not the torch bearer of it....

Because of my past and the various treatment experience's I have had for...alcoholism/addiction, suicide attempt, mental health issues, rape...I now realize that though I am not necessarily he "norm" for somebody my age...I am also NOT really the total outcast and oddity that I thought I was before. I had real honest to goodness reasons for feeling so MESSED UP inside. These realizations were BIG for me...I mean super big because I didn't have to feel like I had to hide who I was and you dear reader can tell that I am pretty comfortable in my own skin. That is huge and let's face it...RARE. I never really felt that way before.

That is just one example of how I am different today then I used to be. These changes came with recovery, they were the result of staying the course one day at a time and working hard at changing my negative behavior.

Often that is how it's been with me...the changes for the better come gradually, over time. Things just get a little better each day until one day I realize that EVERYTHING has changed! That is a cool feeling...

(Photo: Kathy Tomson)                                                              

grateful, and humbled.

"The walls of my home now convey how immeasurably proud I am of my daughters.  Beautiful.  Dancers.  Lovely.  Young ladies.  Kerri’s photos capture the unique and amazing personalities and talents of them.  To see my girls portrayed in a way that captures their inner beauty and their artistic gifts brings tears to my eyes.  Kerri is splendidly delightful to work with.  Her calm, gentle spirit and her swift, imaginative ideas are perfectly balanced to create an unforgettable experience.  And then, when the day is done and all the dancers have gone, I imagine Kerri’s mind racing with new and innovative ways to bring the photos to life.  Her unique products are sure to amaze and astonish.  I have received countless compliments on the metal print that hangs near my front door, with its superb quality and scalloped edges.  I consider her endless talents a gift and her dedication a blessing." - D.W.

Me and The BOY...Skipping Stones Down @ Holy Water Creek



I miss my kids. I really do and it can really bother me sometimes. I think most readers here at the SHOCK know that I am a father of 2 grown children. My daughter Chelsea is 28, married w/2 young boys living in Greenville, SC. My son Ian is 26, engaged and still lives in the town where he was born and (mostly) raised...Holland, MI.


I see them once in a while and talk fairly frequently via phone or communicate using social networking technology tools.  But when I lament that I miss my kids...it is literally the years they WERE kids that I am talking about. I know it is a well worn cliche folks but it is NO joke or laughing matter...that time when you are raising your children goes faster then the speed of light. Before you know it...their childhood is over!


My memory of both my children can be looked at by me in a condensed form that truthfully goes something EXACTLY like this: I remember quite well their mum carrying them both to full term (Chelsea nearly 2 full weeks AFTER)...going into the hospital and watching them being born. 


Then things pick up the pace....diapers, real food, walking, big boy/girl pants, school, puberty, boys/girls, teenage angst, driving, graduation, college and then POOF, they were GONE! 


I want those days BACK...dang-it. And I am totally sincere when I remind friends who are parents of young children today...CHERISH every second of this. With digital cameras and movies there is simply NO reason to NOT document EVERY move they make. We did a fairly good job with film/paper print pictures and video...but man, what you can  do today with smart phone cameras and such...there  is no excuse for not documenting their lives.   


I want to skip stones with Ian and chase little Chelsea around the playground again threatening to tickle her FOREVER. I can hear her squeals and Ian's peels of laughter as I play "DADDY MONSTER" and wrestle with them on the floor, trying to tickle them both into submission. I want to read "Frederick" to them both just one more time doing my best Winston Churchill imitation voice...
Frederick [English Edition]
I chuckle as I look at the picture at the top of this post, taken in 1989 (I believe). That is yours truly on the far right and my two little angels right in the front, center of the picture. A classic photo of us all here at the lake cottage (before this house I'm sitting in now was built). It's a great pic and an even sweeter memory.


But I do...I miss 'em and I think about those days all the time. Don't get me wrong...I love both of my kids every bit as much today as I did then...in a way even more. They are wonderful human beings and great adults. But once those little kids are gone...well it's forever so don't forget it!

Space Heater Wednesday


From the title of this post...our most discerning readers should have recognized that once again, we are without heat...YEP, the furnace is out for the second time this winter. That is the original furnace of the house which was built in 1995 so who knows, the furnace could just be wearing out.


But the repair tech is here so we should get an idea what the problem is here soon.


OK, I'm back about 2 hours later and the news went from good to definitely NOT good to BAD in about 10 minutes. 


There was a motor that had worn out and it looked like it would be covered by the insurance (we have appliance insurance we pay monthly with our bill to the power company). The repair guy left, said he should have the part Friday so I called my dad since I live in an apartment essentially at my parents home. 


It sounded pretty simple....no cost and would be fixed in 2 days...just as I was speaking to him the repair guy came back. The news was the worst...it's the 2nd time that part had been replace and it turns out the only TRUE fix is a NEW FURNACE. I'm glad I had dad on the phone and he could hear this straight from the repairman because he would have given me a really hard time and he did grill the guy on the phone.


I have to call him here and find out some details...we should get an estimate by the end of the day via email.


So that kept the morning exciting...otherwise the main issues I have are still health related. In addition to the pneumonia, high BP, swelling feet/ankles/legs...etc. I am now having what I would consider a full blown back episode (hips, knees and feet all affect as well). 


My back is the reason I am fully disabled. I crushed half a dozen vertebra in an accident as a teenager and have multiple ruptured disks. Mostly the pain is controlled and my quality of life is reasonable....I am able to function fairly normally but now and then I have episodes of nerve damage and severe pain. And that is what's going on here today and it isn't fun.


Often these will pass but this is a pretty serious one so I am basically confined to bed or a chair with feet elevated...


So that is where we are right now...like I need another thing going on in my life right now and the furnace needs replacing and my back is on the FRITZ as well. Holy SMOKES this really sucks right now...

Throwing Punches Around Makes Me Feel Better...


Yes, well I am ticked off a bit with the whole kit and ka-boodle today. I am frankly more then annoyed with adversity. I get it...I know how to face adversity, OK. It's dealing with lot's of SUCCESS that I need work on...OK?! Kim too...she has ACED the freaking adversity test...we both don't need any more "life challenges" 'ya dig?! No we need desperately NEED...I may add, to learn how to cope with success, happiness, good news and the like. I mean we need at least 10-20 years of practice getting wonderful news...so we can really learn from the ground  up!


So what do you think of that?! Needless to say things did not go well today...as a matter of fact they went down right lousy as far as K's so called JOB was concerned. Honestly it was a cluster-you-know-what of the highest order and thankfully it had NO effect...permanent or otherwise on Kim's job performance or reputation. 


It turns out that the idiotic, unprofessional company that brought her in to work only did it as an interview type scenario without telling the 3 workers involved or the temp agency...who the day before went through the actual process of "hiring " them in on a probationary situation...what a joke. After 3 hours and not even seeing Kim actually do the work the woman "in charge" made her selection and sent the others home much to every one's shock.


So thank you very much Indiana Marine Products...you are a class act! 


I have nearly 30 years experience in the factory working for a Fortune 500 Office Furniture Company. The last decade and a half of that was in Production Management as a supervisor and manager type guy. I know from experience that how a company treats their employees will ultimately be reflected in how they treat their customers...you either CARE corporately or you DON"T. 


In my 15 years of personally bringing in temps from a Temp service I have NEVER seen or heard of a scenario such as what happened today and for the record...Kim was not the only one present or effected by this un-professionalism today. Upper management obviously has a bit of a disconnect with one of their non-supervisor leaders on the floor. makes we wonder where the supervisor was, eh?!


OK...I'm finished slapping these guys around...I'm sure business these days is tough but acting like this is helping your cause. I'm sure I'm over-reacting here but I am tired of not being able to fight back...today I'm throwing some punches around...sorry!   

A Different Start To The Day...



Another day and of course it is still pre-dawn. It feels a little different somehow because we got Kim up and  off to work at 5:15a this morning. I do not like to tell God what to do but in all honesty...I sure hope this the job. Kim is certainly due for some good fortune...she has worked really hard and that has been a troubling aspect of this whole thing...no matter how qualified she is, no matter how hard she works...things just would come together. Man I hope today is DIFFERENT...


I am meeting a good friend this morning for our regular Tuesday book study meeting at a local restaurant. Even these most causal of get together have been impacted by my health and I actually had to cancel out of one last week.


One very unpleasant and I suppose unavoidable aspect of being hurt or ill is that unless you have broken bones or recent surgery or are ill with something very serious and well known as Cancer...is people tend to be suspicious about whether you are truly ill or as ill as you say you are.


I have dealt with that suspicion with my former employer Herman Miller, Inc for 20 years they made life difficult (a living hell of suspicion really) and though I was actually injured on the job I never claimed it and paid for multiple surgeries out of my own insurance and pocket. That was a mistake...I should have let them pay but I was trying to be ethical and I don't know...it back fired. But I still had a great career there.


Not sure why I just "went there" and posted that but hey...it is what it is.


I just know that Kim is good at the work she does and she has a vast variety of experience so hopefully that will be an advantage...now it's all about just getting the chance to show who you are and what you have to offer the company.


OK well I have to get going here and get ready for my day so we will catch you  somewhere down the road...
Soup de Jour: homemade lobster bisque

I know this sounds pretty fancy, but we are currently trying to eat everything in our freezer, and today's contestant was a year old vacuumed sealed pack of artificial lobster meat. Yes it did look as good as it sounds.

So I did what I usually do, and took out my favourite cooking companion "The Joy of Cooking", and looked up lobster bisque. I did not have the exact ingredients, but I made due. The result was....AMAZING!

When Jennie finishes one of my culinary experiments I know I did good. When she heads in for seconds and is excited about leftovers, I must have done really good. I might have set the bar too high for future endeavours. The bisque came out sweet, and well seasoned and had the perfect mix of textures. It was a home run, that's why you get to hear about it.

So the measurements are not exactly accurate, but here's an attempt.

1/3 cup butter
1 onion

Heat up a med/lg pot and melt butter, once butter has clarified add finely diced onions. Cook onions until they are semi clear and soft. 10 to 15 min.

1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup milk

add milk and flour and mix in pot, mix well. 3 min.

1 can tomato soup
1 can chicken stock
3 small carrots
2 stalks of celery
1 tomato
soy sauce
lobster 1 or 2 (depending on budget/quality)

add can of tomato soup and can of chicken stock and mix well. Take vegetables and julienne into fine pieces and add to pot. Pour 1/8 to 1/4 cup of soy sauce. Mix and simmer. Add more milk if too thick. Chop up lobster meat and add to pot.

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and peper to taste

put on medium low heat, place lid on pot and simmer for 30 min plus.

Serve and enjoy.


Unleash The Beast: INTENSITY


Once again I am lamenting the fact that I haven't written anything worthwhile or interesting in a long, long time. This...of course bothers me a great deal but whenever I try and rectify that situation....nothing really seems to make a difference or motivate me out of my lethargy. And that really is it...I feel lethargic to the very CORE of my being.

I typically am scattered anyway when it comes to subject matter for posts. I'll never pretend to have a plan or be totally organized but whatever I tend to end up writing about and why is a different matter because there usually is some little bit of FOCUS that comes from the shear joy of sharing that secret..or thought or feeling...it WAS and IS about recovery these days. That's what motivates me nowadays and has since my life depended on it.


Ultimately THAT's really it too....it became about survival. My recovery was the original subject of the blog....and as time went on it became more and more noticeable and obvious that my survival depended on me staying sober and clean one day at a time. Well it became even more obvious to me that my recovery WAS my LIFE..they were one in the same...they HAD to be for this thing to work.

So every time I was posting about staying clean or any other aspect of recovery I was actually writing about saving my own life..each and every day! Well needless to say I had no issue finding the necessary focus when it came to writing about saving LIVES....and my very own LIFE being the first.

With that came intensity...something I had no natural shortage of to begin with, though I had always lacked the positive, safe and healthy OUTLET for letting out that intensity. At times when I would tap into certain feelings or thoughts and feelings I was unleashing the entire emotional AVALANCHE of INTENSITY concerning my rape and the after aftermath. It was dangerous and risky...but that was what people showed me here on the SHOCK, that was what your feedback was showing me so I took the chance and wrote about that very private and personal stuff...and it was hugely successful. In the end that was what people really wanted to read. It was a trip and I was more then a little nervous about doing it but the rest is history...

So I am really lamenting that loss of intensity I typically have and it's temporarily gone because of the exhausted emotional
 state I am in. I want it BACK and yea...
I want it back NOW because I am tired of writing boring milk toast freaking posts...so I will do my best to unleash whatever emotional energy
I can...

Employment

Kim was hired today for a position at a Marine Products Company in assembly. The job is through a temp agency whose major role is to get employees through their 90 day probationary period then they can be hired in.

Needless to say this is a big deal for us because if this turns into full time permanent employment...well we can basically begin a new chapter of our lives...if you know what I mean. Actually we are still beginning it but it will be a huge boost to have that job nailed down.

Thing are looking up...even with the health issues I have stuff is still going pretty well...I really cannot complain.

So that's the big news of the day...

Jimmy Page: with compliments

Between 1971 and 1980, Jimmy Page lived at Plumpton Place in East Sussex, described by journalist Howard Mylett in 1972 as having 'over 50 acres, two tied cottages, beautiful lakes and a moat.'  He added that 'Page’s taste in art and decoration is not of the Ideal Home, glossy-magazine type; he has retained the original character of the house. The only conversion is a small recording studio upstairs. The stables house goats, chickens, artwork, a Range Rover, one of the legendary Cord American cars and a motorbike. He has expressed a wish to obtain some swans for the lake.’

Page was of course frequently away on tour in the 70s, but spent much of Led Zeppelin’s 1976-77 hiatus there, and was even known to jam in the village pub, the Half Moon. He painstakingly installed a home studio at Plumpton, and carried out the mixing for In Through The Out Door there. He moved out in 1980 after a local photographer named Philip Hale (aged 26) died of vomit inhalation during a party on October 24th 1979. The house was on the market for a while before changing hands again in 1985.

Had the guitarist corresponded with you during his tenure there, chances are it would have involved one of these:


Amazingly, the particulars of the house as viewed by Page can be seen here.

The Dark & Foggy Future...


It has been an eventful day in a lot of ways...particularly considering I only briefly left the house for a short-lived attempt at attending church. Needless to say it failed miserably and I had to bag it and come home. I did have a rather strange experience while I was there when I woman I don't know very well come and want to put scented healing oil on me...I guess this stuff is straight from the Bible but I am not familiar with it so though I allowed her to put some on my hand for my Pneumonia, though my heartfelt commitment probably wasn't there.

Now I'm not saying I believe in such things or not...I do understand there are a lot of things in our natural world that have healing powers but I usually like to approach such treatment on my own and in my own way. Sitting in a crowded church lobby at a table having someone I hardly know put oil on me felt rather foolish but oddly (and honestly I am not making this up) I did feel better from a respiratory point of view the rest of the day so....what do I KNOW!!??. I though it was important to be open minded and I really appreciated the fact she cared enough to approach me...

I was half-way excited that the NFL Conference Championship Games were on and as I sit here writing the San Francisco/NY Giants game is at halftime. K-sue and I are taking a short little walk then I'll watch the last quarter when I get back...

Tomorrow is a big day medically because I have to first and fore-most get my blood pressure under control then I have to decide what I am going to do about changing my personal physician. This has to happen and I need to move on.

So that is the terribly exciting stuff I know but hey...it 'tis me life...as they say. K had a big-time interview on Thursday and we are fairly optimistic that we might hear some good news in the morning....so if you are a praying person and have a little time to spare we could sure use the prayer.

All right it is time to venture out into the fog...

The White Out of White Outs....

It was as if on his death bed Joe Paterno and God had a chat and he said: "Keep the weather cold, Beaver Stadium needs a White Out'.

And God gave him one.


Loonie Bandits

Ever been at the end of your grocery shopping trip, when you're unloading your bags from your shopping cart into your vehicle and someone comes along and asks if they can buy your cart from you?  This used to be a half assed nice thing for people to do because then you didn't have to walk your empty cart "all the way" back to where the carts are housed to retrieve the quarter or *loonie that you put into the handle of the cart to free it from the chain gang it's attached to.

When I have the inner strength to withstand the horrid place, I will shop at Superstore. This is the place where you have to put up with incredibly rude and stupid people who travel in packs and like to stand in the middle of an isle like they are the only people in the store, while their children run around like screeching wildebeests, bumping into me while I try stifle my increasing frustration.  I then stand in a long line-up while people in front of me argue with the clerk about the price of box of frozen pizza pops. In the end I have to bag my own groceries while people push around me.

I'm always happy when that chore is over.

So when someone approaches me and offers a dollar for my cart my initial reaction is to be thankful that I have one less step before I can hop in my van and jam on the accelerator to get the hell out of Dodge.

But I have had two recent instances where I was asked if someone could give me a dollar for my cart, I said yes, and then when I was done unloading my groceries, they dump a hand full of silver into my hand and then make off with my cart - and my loonie.

The first time it happened I felt violated. Silly, I know, but I felt cheated and I was ticked off.  Steve reminded me that I still had a dollar, no matter how it was made up.  And I told myself that in the big picture, this was really not a big deal.

Today when I was walking to my van I was approached again by someone offering me a dollar for my cart.  I said, ok.  She then stood and watched me hump my loads of groceries into the back of the van in the blowing wind and rain.  I was temped to tell her to feel free to pitch in, if she wanted the cart faster.  And then I thought it strange that she would just stand there and wait for me to unload the cart instead of just walking to get her own cart.  It was when she dumped a handful of fucking dimes into my hand that I realized why.

I know, I know, it shouldn't be a big deal to me.  But it is and I'm not going to stifle my anger towards these loonie bandits any longer.

Did these people not know they were going grocery shopping where the carts require a loonie?  Plan ahead, Fuckfaces!  Get a loonie before you come!  Raid your kids piggy bank like I did!  And if it WAS a spur of the moment choice to shop where the carts require a loonie, get your lazy fucking ass into the store and change your handful of dimes in - like *I* do when I don't have a loonie.  Be responsible for your own loonie needs! Don't go all sneaking around the parking lot, casing the joint for a poor unsuspecting person with a cart, pretending you're doing them a favour because in reality you are a sneaky, lazy, unprepared asshole!

Yes, a dollar is a dollar is a dollar - but now my loonie is gone and the next time I need one, I will have to go out of my way to find one because someone else didn't bother!

And that? Pisses me off!



This post has been brought to you by my "Just Be Mad Sometimes" campaign, where I let out my anger instead of trying to stifle it with the Sister Mary Sunshine bullshit.

*To my American readers - as you probably know, our dollars are coins named Loonies (which is actually embarrassing) for the picture of a loon on one side. 


Small Minds DISGRACE The Legend: RIP JOE


Joe Paterno, legendary football coach at Penn State University died this morning at 85 years of age. He was fighting Lung Cancer and it's various complications plus being 85 years old. But don't kid yourselves...this man died of a broken heart. Having his team and coaching career end in disgrace absolutely shattered this man's heart. Much like another legendary football coach, Alabama's Paul "BEAR" Bryant ...Paterno did not live a year after he stopped coaching. It is clear that for both men...it truly was their life.

I know that Paterno's reputation was damaged by the Jerry Sandusky child rape case at Penn State. I would also agree that knowing what we know from the Grand Jury reports that morally Joe could and should have done more but the truth is he did something and it was at the time what he thought was right.

Please, dear reader...remember as I write about this subject (child abuse and rape) that I am a victim of sexual assault and rape by 3 grown men when I was 12 years old. I suppose if anyone has a special reason to be critical I could claim it...but I won't. Why?

Because I know as much or more then anyone how complex, insidious and painful this whole thing can be. There is no black and white answer for something so EVIL as Child Rape. When Paterno said last week that he dropped the ball, that he should have done more but at the time he just didn't know what he was supposed to do and how to do it...I believe that because I felt that very same way MYSELF...about my own RAPE! There is no freaking BLUEPRINT showing how we are to respond to this kind of insanity...

I had no clue what I should have done...so I did nothing but be quiet and try and let it. As a result of deciding NOT to DECIDE...I am still dealing with this nearly 38 years later!! So I am not going to stand in judgement of this man who did so much good not for just the University of Pennsylvania but for mankind just because he made a terrible mistake in judgement. I know and understand perfectly what he did (in this case DIDN'T DO)...it does NOT in my humble opinion invalidate his whole life's work. I think it's tragic how this ended...for everyone involved.

I do however condemn the Board at Penn State who fired him so hastily. I think that is what "SMALL MINDED MEN" do when they do not have the BALLS to stand up and take the heat for doing what is ultimately right. Now I am using the term "MEN" here in a universal sense since there were and are woman on the board as well...

I believe they took an opportunity to get rid of him when the program was in disarray because they were resentful of the power and prestige he had. I do think that they had a right to if they chose but I think he accomplishes more good by staying the coach. I think they were short in the courage department and panicked, when patience was the prudent answer here. But it's all too late now.

Anyway I find it heartbreaking that he dies this way, that his life came to an end like this. I think it is a HUGE injustice and my love and sympathy goes out to his family...                                


Rest In Peace, Joe Paterno

Today, Joe Paterno passed away. He was 85.

There's nothing else really to say - albeit to give you a link to an article I wrote yesterday imploring you to pray for Joe Paterno's family and imploring you not to celebrate his death in the light of the scandal that still surrounds the Penn State campus.

The statement from his family said:

"It is with great sadness that we announce that Joe Paterno passed away earlier today. His loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be filled.
He died as he lived. He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been. His ambitions were far reaching, but he never believed he had to leave this Happy Valley to achieve them. He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community.
He has been many things in his life - a soldier, scholar, mentor, coach, friend and father. To my mother he was and is her soul mate, and the last several weeks have shown the strength of their love. To his children and grandchildren he is a shining example of how to live a good, decent and honest life, a standard to which we aspire.
When he decided to forego a career in law and make coaching his vocation, his father Angelo had but one command: make an impact.
As the last 61 years have shown, Joe made an incredible impact. That impact has been felt and appreciated by our family in the form of thousands of letters and well wishes along with countless acts of kindness from people whose lives he touched. It is evident also in the thousands of successful student athletes who have gone on to multiply that impact as they spread out across the country.
And so he leaves us with a peaceful mind, comforted by his "living legacy" of five kids, 17 grandchildren, and hundreds of young men whose lives he changed in more ways than can begin to be counted.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requests that donations be made to the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania or the Penn State-THON (The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon)."

I wrote this article - back in 2010 and still one of the VFA's most popular pieces - which was called "Joe Paterno: Icon" in which I praised him not for the National Championships, but for the fact that he gave massive donations for the Penn State rivalry.

Thanks for the memories, Joe Paterno.