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I Want a 10-Day Paralympics Extravaganza On NBC in 2016 With a Five-Hour Opening Ceremony!

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by Treadmarkz

Now that I have stated my demand, clearly and concisely, I’d like to note that once again in 2012 the Paralympics follows close on the heels of the Olympics. Once again it has been relegated to a Youtube channel, various other online live feeds, etc, while the Olympics (the Walkie version) is again a world-wide network TV 24-hour a day, weeks-long extravaganza. It’s probably on TV right now. Let me go check………….Yup. It is. Water polo.

Eighteen percent of the U.S. population has some form of disability. That statistic throughout the world is comparable. Everybody knows someone who has some kind of disability that would be represented by athletes in the Paralympic Games. Why is this not on NBC? Do we need a specific TV network just for disability-oriented programming much like African-Americans did with the BET network?
Come on, NBC, it’s 18% of the population! Think of the ratings! Even if just out of curiosity, huge numbers of people would be tuning in to see this. Think of the new ad revenue you would generate from a wide variety of sponsors.
And lastly, you would be providing a service. Network exposure for Paralympic athletes would show the world at large a new side to disability. For one thing, it would demonstrate how many disabilities are not visible, yet very real for the person living with that disability. And it would help able-bodied people become more knowledgeable about a wide array of different types of disabilities. This can only be a win-win situation. The Olympics this year got Paul McCartney to play the opening ceremony. I say we get John Mellencamp to play the 2016 Paralympics on NBC. He’s got spina bifida. See, a disability that is not visible. You’re learning something already.

If you agree, please pass this on.

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Treadmarkz To Be Published by the “Legitimate” Press!

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by Treadmarkz

Yep, it’s official, Treadmarkz will be in hard copy for the first time ever when one of my stories appears in New Mobility magazine’s June issue. Reserve your copy now! I will be published under the name Forrest Dailey. It is a story which demonstrates that we are all much more alike in our experiences than we think we are.

Rocking Out For Spinal Cord Injury Research

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by Treadmarkz

The other day I was thumbing through a rack of old LPs at a kiosk on the St. Vital Mall in Winnipeg, and I found a stack of Beatles records that for some reason nobody had snatched up yet. I didn’t waste a moment in deciding to buy the LP version of “Magical Mystery Tour”, “Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl” and “Yesterday…and Today.”

As if this wasn’t enough for a Beatles fanatic like me, I found out after the fact that all proceeds from purchases made at this kiosk were to go to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. A little piece of cosmic serendipity, possibly. I wish I could say I bought the records because I wanted to make a benevolent contribution to the Reeve cause, but that is simply not true. But I am glad I bought them.

I am in a wheelchair with a spinal chord related disorder myself so I had a pretty good idea what the Reeve Foundation was about, but I looked into it a little more last night. I am not going to go into the issue of Spinal Cord Injury research too much, but regardless of your opinion on the controversial issue, what they are doing at the Reeve Foundation can only lead to some good coming to those whose lives have been changed to an indefinite degree by their injury.

Take a look at the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation by clicking HERE. I’ll be adding it to my blog roll soon.

Beatles Bash 2008

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by Treadmarkz

My wife and I went to the Beatles Bash 2008 in Mantorville, Minnesota this evening. The weather forecast called for cloud cover and probable rain, and it did sprinkle as we arrived, but as soon as the first of two Beatles “tribute” bands began playing, the clouds opened allowing the sun to shine through, or as I told my wife “So God could help pay tribute to His favorite band.” The sun shined the rest of the day uninterrupted.

I don’t “dance” too often but tonight I thought “to hell with it, this is the Beatles…sort of” so my wife and I rocked it out on the dance floor and during one of “George’s” guitar solos I pulled my leg up and played air guitar on it for a brief moment. Showing off really. I was really impressed with myself how unbridled I can get on the dance floor yet able to show everyone around me that they need not worry about getting their legs cut off by my chair.

The two bands were Liverpool Legends and The Cavern Beat. The Cavern Beat was probably more authentic to the sound of the Beatles, but only focused on the band’s early days. They only went as far as 1965, with one song from 1966, “Paperback Writer”. Cavern Beat’s “Paul” had an incredible vocal range, I thought, and emulated the real Paul’s style and mannerisms on stage, as did the band’s “John”. See, each actual Beatle had a very distinctive stance, Paul with his feet close together, legs straight, and John with his knees bent a bit, feet spread apart. Pulling that off, along with the band’s Beatlesque stage banter, the whole package helped the Cavern Beat make one feel like they were “there”. The only inconsistency I saw in this band was that their “Ringo” really did not sound or look like Ringo. But hey, who does?

Liverpool Legends rocked harder, and focused even more on the “banter” and the Liverpool humor, and they covered the span of the Beatles’ entire recording career from old cover tunes through Abbey Road, which was great, but I felt like they suffered from the same syndrome that I have seen in a few other Beatles tribute bands. It’s called the “That does not sound like George Harrison” syndrome. Funny since they were formed by George’s sister, Louise Harrison. Louise was actually at the event today. She signed autographs and gave a little talk, told some stories about George, and answered a few questions shouted up from the crowd. I wish I would have asked a question, or even went to speak with her directly. But while the chance to speak with her directly was presenting itself, I was just waiting for the next act to start, and it ended up taking a long time. So it turns out I had my chance and let it go. Which just goes to show, don’t hesitate. Take your chance when you have it. I could have shaken hands with a flesh and blood relative of one of the Beatles. I could have told her how much the Beatles have meant to me and how much respect I have for George’s honesty in his solo music.

Alas…

Great show though. Go and see Liverpool Legends in Branson, Missouri if you are in that area. They play in Branson almost all year round. I would love to see them again. My wife’s feet are tired from dancing and my hands are tired from clapping and tapping on my knees and swinging my chair around out on the floor.

On a side note, halfway through the show, a Beatles Trivia game was played by audience members. It was done in two sections, and in each section, one of the contestants was a woman with a developmental disability. I was a bit upset when the first woman could not think of the answer to her question, and the “hostess” whispered the answer in her ear allowing her to continue. No such luck for anyone else of course. Then in the second round she got her question wrong and the hostess said “We hate to see you go” followed by “Who’s next, this guy, he looks smart”. I don’t think she realized how it sounded. Plus I don’t think that what any disabled person needs necessarily is to be catered to or “given the answer.”

Just a game though. By the way, when “John” said “Here’s a slow song…for you slower folks” it was part of the act, it was authentic John Lennon, and I laughed along with everyone else, so you figure that one out.

In the second round of the trivia game, the other woman with a developmental disability got her question wrong and the hostess was very condescending toward her. “You did really good. I think you should win a prize too”. Stuff like that. I just hate this kind of crap, and I don’t think it is what anyone with a disability needs. I wonder if she would have condescended to me had I been one of the contestants. I am really bummed that I didn’t put my name in. I could have won a poster.

Top 11 List of People Who Are More Disabled Than I Am (Bless Their Dippy Hearts)

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by Treadmarkz

Why 11 and not 10? Well…it’s complicated but I think it’s in the Americans with Disabilities Act somewhere. I get 11 automatically because I am in a wheelchair. Anyway, on with the list of People Who Are More Disabled Than I Am.

PS: I’ve got spina bifida, in case you are new to “Leaving Treadmarkz Across The Universe”. Okay, here’s the list, and in no particular order, because I didn’t have the heart to place any higher emphasis on any of these people in comparison to the others.

1. People who find themselves using text message language in legal documents out of habit. (U no wut I mean?) These people just bug me and I wanted to put them on my list.

2. People who begin their fast food order with the word “gimme”. Usually it’s men, but not always. But regardless, I always wonder if they talk that way at home and what it gets them.

3. The two geniuses in the story at this link. Clearly human life means very little to them, and I don’t want to make them out to be representational of their entire generation, so I won’t, but I worry. (Sorry this link no longer valid but it originally linked to a story about two teenage girls who refused to give up screwing around with their cell phones and pagers even though the story they were interviewed for was about deaths resulting from such behavior.)

4. People who have a quote from one literary great or another to punctuate or sum up every conceivable real life situation they encounter.

5. Larry King, for two reasons that come to mind right off the bat:

I. He asked Paul McCartney if he ever wakes up in the morning and pinches himself.

II. He asked Ringo Starr “What’s it like being an ex-Beatle?” Seriously

When is this guy going to retire?

6. People who walk up to the front door of the mall and press that little “Door Open” button with the little blue guy in the wheelchair on it, knowing full well that pressing that button will make getting the door open take about three times longer than it would to just walk up to it and fling that sucker open! Some people who are not in wheelchairs really need to empower themselves by using the physical abilities they have.

7. Jesse Jackson/Don Imus: These guys should have a “Saying Stupid Things In Public” contest. Not that this has anything to do with the conventional understanding of “disabled”, but these guys clearly both have cloudy perception of common sense which holds them back, disables them.

8. This guy has more problems than I am qualified to discuss, not being a licensed therapist.

9. Anyone who puts all the energy of their youth into building up their bodies, at all costs to their mental, emotional and physical health, including the use of steroids. Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire are good examples. These guys are all clearly unstable and willing to say anything that will allow them to continue their lifestyles. These people are like shooting stars and when they burn out, man, it’s gone. They won’t have anything left but a shell of a body with nothing upstairs to back it up. These four men were like the golden boys of Major League Baseball in the late 80s and they did well with it, but, all four ended their careers in disgrace.

10. People who spend more time figuring out what to call themselves than they do being themselves.

11. World leaders who use the word “nucular”. I couldn’t resist. I’m sorry.

THERE…how’s that for self-righteousness!

Paul McCartney Launches Major Fund-raising Campaign Being For the Benefit of the Paralympics

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by Treadmarkz

Paul McCartney has launched a fund-raising campaign for the Paralympics worth 2 Million Pounds, which will extend beyond the 2012 Paralympic Games, according to the former Beatle’s website. This may be partly because London will host the Paralympics in 2012, but I think Paul has shown himself to be an advocate of the disabled with his tireless work regarding the removal of active land mines. Read the full story, here.