Tomain's Blog

Mongo passes

October 11, 2012
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Alex Karras was one of my favorite football players of all time. He had a great sense of humor but was not a carouser like I heard him described as today, he in actual fact did not drink. He had very bad eyesight but played poorly the one and only time he wore corrective lens in a game. The eyesight didn’t stop him from being a perrenial all pro defensive lineman but it did once cause him to tackle teamate Wayne Walker after Walker intercepted a pass ūüôā I saw his last game in person with a group of family and friends. It was at Michigan Stadium where the Lions played preseason games in those days. Karras had 3 or 4 sacks and the next day the Lions cut him. (He was not popular with the pro football powers that be at the time). Karras had a very eventful life which he lived to the fullest and I would advise any quarterbacks (or horse’s for that matter) that reside in Heaven to give him a wide berth:)

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Buddy

February 13, 2010
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Mom was always a fiercely independent woman and reaching into her mid eighties had not changed that one iota. Multiple bouts of cancer and the usual array of health problems associated with someone her age were no match for her indomitable spirit. She lived by herself in Florida for roughly half the year and here in Michigan the other half. For nearly two decades after my father passed Mom had gone about the business of living and she did it well.

 My mother had a long career working for the federal government. She had worked with men and had competed with men as a personnel officer for the V. A. Much of her career took place at a time when it was uncommon for women to have such responsibilities. She sometimes ran into a certain kind of resistance, something that a man in her same position would not have faced. But this too she handled with equal parts of skill, charm, and veracity. Along the way she impressed some talented men who sometimes had to stand in her corner.

 With the passage of time certain activities at first become more difficult and then eventually become impossible. Golf, once a passion, became a memory. Shopping and trips from the house were getting to be more of an obstacle. But mom always insisted on doing absolutely the very most she could. If an activity was no longer possible she would turn her attention elsewhere or maybe replace it with something else.

¬†There came the time when it simply was not safe for her to drive back and forth to Florida. But to convince Mom of that was something we all dreaded. My old boss came up with the answer and it was brilliant. We told her that a man who did odd jobs for my boss, wanted to visit up north but couldn’t afford the trip. It was the only way Mom would have consented to having Rick drive her back and forth. I later replaced Rick in that capacity and did so until she could no longer make the trip. Sometimes my girlfriend accompanied us and sometimes it was just Mom and myself. She looked forward to those trips and so did I.

Finally there came into Mom’s life a villain. Where all her other trials had failed, macular degeneration succeeded. It cut off her ability to watch the Atlanta Braves play and her beloved Chipper Jones. Her t.v. had become a radio in a shrinking world. Depression gained a foothold and life became dark indeed. And that was how it stood until Buddy entered the scene.

My niece had made it her mission for a while to place a rescue cat with every member of our family. She almost accomplished it too. Mom however had not had a pet for many decades, and besides that we had always had dogs. A cat just was not her cup of tea and she made that very clear. But when my girlfriend had Mom over for a weekend we couldn’t help but notice something. Our little cat, pudge, and my mother had really hit it off. A few days later my niece got a call from Mom, and Buddy, the latest rescue cat, had found a new home.

Over the next year or so Buddy became my hero. Even while he chased his little mouse toys, so too he chased the depression right out of my mother’s life. When I called Mom I would ask her how buddy was doing. Her reply was always the same.”Oh he’s doin, doin any way he can.” He would get her up early, the same time every morning. She would feed him and in return he would let her nap a little. He had given her purpose and companionship just when she needed it most.

¬†In what would turn out to be¬†the last year of my mother’s life our family was put¬†in a tough spot. Despite her failing health Mom still wanted to go to Florida. We all thought that this could be a disaster. However she was mentally competant, to put it mildly, and we just didn’t want to treat her as if she were a child. So with much tribulation we gathered together and loaded the car for the trip south. Finally it was the cat’s turn. But Buddy had a surprise for us, he wasn’t going. Even though he had made the trip before uneventfully, this time was different. This time unless you had a big game dart gun Buddy was staying right here. After a while and a mixture of both laughter and frustration Mom spoke. “Well I guess Buddy has decided that we’re staying.” And that was that. Mom died that very spring, but not before a winter celebration of her 90th Birthday. We gathered together with family and friends,old and new, and the one who had made the whole party possible, her beloved Buddy.


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Its a pretty good deal

February 2, 2010
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¬†I was hard at work one day when Tom came walking by. My work station was right next to the bathrooms so in a given day I pretty much saw everybody. Tom had been working¬†for us for a short time and I hadn’t been introduced to him really. There was an unmistaken¬†cockiness to his gait and his appearance and in my younger days I know he would have raised my hackles. In my youth I was even more a fool than I am now so even though he was obviously a bodybuilder it wouldn’t have mattered to me. However I’m not that fool now so I engaged Tom with some small talk. It turned out Tom had just recently¬†returned from Iraq. At that point I held out my hand and told him I wanted to thank him for his service. His facial expression and entire demeanor instantly changed. He thanked me back and told me people like me made it all worthwhile. A few months later Tom was killed¬†in a motorcycle accident. He was no longer working for our company having quit for good cause. The news of his death brought back the memory of that moment we shared by my work station. The entire exchange took at most a couple of minutes and yet it is something I will never forget. Tom was obviously moved and so was I. We did not become friends or socialize together even at work. He quite literally went his way and I went mine. However we were forever bonded, he the soldier and I the grateful citizen.

My father was a veteran of World War II. He served in Europe and came home with a collection of¬†Nazi daggers and some other memorabilia. Upon my mother’s death these things passed into my possession. On occasion I gather them together to examine and admire. It brings back memory of my

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¬†father of course but it does even more than that. I think of the men landing at Normandy, pushing into that nightmarish curtain of lead and screams and smoke. I think of the pilots in The Battle of Midway. Entire squadrons sacrificing themselves so that those who came behind them could land their punches. The Battle of the Bulge, where men in foxholes faced down Nazi tanks and the bitter cold. Where men ignored their war wounds so they could stand side by side with their buddies to face whatever came. I think of Iwo Jima, Tarawa, and Guadalcanal. I think of men charging pill boxes so those behind them could advance. Of medics who gave their lives to save as many of the fallen heroes as they could. I think of these and the countless other moments of courage that I’ll never know about and yet most certainly happened.

The members of our Armed Forces have a responsibility. They have certain duties that vary¬†but ultimately their responsibility can be¬†summed up quite simply. No matter where or when they are posted or whether the year is 1944 or 2010, the responsibility is the same. Their charge is the security and the safety of their country and it’s citizens. If called upon, to sacrifice their lives. Now that is quite a responsibility.

So then what is the responsibility of¬†the citizen in this pact, this partnership. Well there are certain contractual obligations like medical benefits, educational benefits, etc. borne by the government. But what about the individual citizen what is his or her obligation. Well it too can be¬†summed up simply. Our obligation, our responsibility is to be grateful. To say thank you when the opportunity arises. It’s a pretty good deal and the real kicker is that when you say thank you to those who serve or have served, it makes you feel good. Yes its a pretty good deal for us citizens but if you ask a veteran the chances are they will tell you its a pretty good deal for them too.


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The Reading Room

January 22, 2010
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A while back I came to realize that I wasn’t reading anymore.¬† In this world of hundreds of¬†tv stations Dvds,movie channels, etc., there wasn’t time.¬† Well I didn’t change my routines or make any earth shattering moves, (¬†like I did 30 years ago when I bought an exercise machine.) ¬†No instead I just sighed¬† and made some microwave popcorn.¬† Ahh, but ¬†the seeds of change had been planted¬†in my mind and in some deep sense I knew that, even as I munched away and watched channel 154 (The hyper captains of industry history channel or something like that.)¬† Inevitably those seeds bore fruit when one day I moved the magazine rack I once got for Christmas into the bathroom.¬† At first I stocked it with the usual, Readers Digest, ESPN the magazine, etc.¬† But¬†one way or another, I don’t remember the details, an unread novel made its way in there and well nature just took it’s¬†course.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Now¬†I¬†realize that Tom Clancy and Steven King¬†¬†and¬† all the rest¬†¬†did not have this in mind when they labored tirelessly over their work.¬† But they did have in mind that people would read. And thru this joint effort, writer and reader would bring forth this metamorphosis of entertainment, art,¬† and knowledge. Now have no¬†doubt it is a joint effort, reading and writing.¬† Without the reader a writer is merely a tool of futility and frustration.¬† So the point of it all.¬† Whether the reading room is a den, a bedroom, or the loo, make good use of it.

Read more ¬Ľ


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try this link

January 20, 2010
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http://new.music.yahoo.com/mymusic/ratings?type=songs&autoplay=1


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On the lighter side click on this

January 20, 2010
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_WcFJZ-XJo


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Political Correctness it is the biggest threat to democracy in the world today. Not Al queda, not the spread of nuclear capability, not a mischievious comet, not even the inability of young people to make change from a dollar.

December 19, 2009
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