Friday, December 7, 2012

Loses Job, Finds a Calling

Peter Lipsey used to live in Deerfield, Illinois, but drove north daily some 90 miles to work at a radio station in Milwaukee.

That got old.  He decided to relocate.

He moved on a Friday, found a place to live, and signed a one-year lease.  The next day the station went off the air.  No job, a year's commitment to a real estate company, what to do?

He started bartending at a comedy club.  Something told him, 'hey, I could do that.'  One day he screwed up his courage, walked up on stage, and tried his hand.

That was 23 years ago.  He's been at it ever since, making lots of people laugh.  More at:

Hey, Peter, what is the punchline?

Clients Include:
McKenzie School Auction
Village of Wilmette Illinois
University of Minnesota
Southern California Rock Products Association
ERA Real Estate
Prince of Peace School Fundraiser
Eagle Concrete
Illinois Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association
IBC Corporation
Ball State University
Quinn, Johnston, Henderson & Pretorius--Law Firm
Ukes Harley Davidson Dealership
Wisconsin Propane Gas Association & The LaCrosse Area Builder's Association
The Great Southwestern Illinois Assoc.
Plumbing-Heating-Cooling-Mechanical Contractors
University of Wisconsin/Stevens Point
Dakota Asphalt Pavement Association
Transpac USA
Big Wave Productions

This endeavor led to another career in real estate.  One door closes, another opens.

A setback is a set-up for a comeback, as author and motivational speaker and friend Willie Jolley once said.

We found Peter's story in  The North Shore Weekend

Friday, November 2, 2012

No dinner party

A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection............. 

"Report on an Investigation of the Peasant Movement in Hunan" (March 1927), Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 28.  Mao Tse Tung

To which we might add, so, too, one's personal revolution of change.  Making the changes necessary to make a comeback ---- is not a "dinner party....."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Enterprising Joshua Johnson

To pay for his college, Joshua Johnson took up tap dancing, in public venues, asking for tips.

Crazy strategy?  Tonight he appeared on Dancing with the Stars.

HP had the story months ago, long before tonight's star turn:

Joshua Johnson might seem like a normal college student, but the 20-year-old has developed quite a unique way to pay for tuition.

The New York City native has been tap dancing on the subway to pay for his education at Penn State. And his talent has helped him raise the $6,000 he needs to pay for school each year.

On weekends, Johnson makes the trek from Pennsylvania to New York to perform in subway stations, where he says he can make about $200, The New York Times reports.

But in high school, a university education wasn't always on the agenda.

"I didn't really think college was an option for me; I was never really an 'A' student. But at the same time, I didn't want to look back on life and say to myself, 'I didn't go, because I didn't apply,'" Johnson said on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."


Monday, October 1, 2012

After 7 years he comes back to make it right

Adam Greenberg has faced one pitch in the major leagues, a 92 mph fastball that struck him in the head and changed his life.

More than seven years later, the Miami Marlins are giving him a second chance.

The Marlins said Thursday that they have signed Greenberg to a one-day contract, effective Oct. 2, and will play him that day against the New York Mets. Greenberg made his big league debut for the Chicago Cubs on July 9, 2005 against the Marlins, getting one plate appearance but no official at-bat.

"Life's going to throw you curveballs - or fastballs in the back of your head," Greenberg said on a conference call Thursday morning. "I got hit by one of them. And it knocked me down and I could have stayed there. I had a choice ... and I chose to get up and get back in the box."

Full story

Greenberg to get 1-day chance with Marlins

Update Oct 2:  Leading off in the sixth, Greenbeg fanned on three pitches.  The Marlins won in extra innings.  Despite the strikeout, he said he would never forget the roar from the crowd when he stepped in.  He showed courage.  We say 'hats off' to Adam Greenberg.  Reduce it to bare essentials, and what else is life but courage......?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2 sets up, then loses 2 sets, then --- the comeback

Andy Murray showed the comeback character it takes to defeat a prodigious opponent.  Hats off to the new U.S. Open champion.

Wins 2 sets.
Loses 2 sets.

Comes back to win the match and the championship  in set 5.  Long time coming, well deserved.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Football Mogul Passes

Art Modell, former Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns owner, dies at 87 -

A life filled with ups and downs, setbacks and comebacks.

Mental toughness

Yesterday, at the U.S. Open (tennis), we saw Maria Sharapova do it yet again:  come back and win in the third set.

The world's highest paid female athlete is the poster child for mental toughness.  She simply wills herself to win, and so far this year, she has never missed.  Her 2012 three set record:  12-0.  Not long ago she was ailing from a shoulder injury, then recovering from surgery.  Now she is all the way back.

This came on a day when icon Roger Federer was eliminated by Tomas Berdyrch in four sets, and Andy Roddick met the same fate from Juan Martin del Potro, putting him into retirement.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A place to stand

"I don't know if I would have lived had I not found poetry."

- Jimmy Santiago Baca


 We just finished a rather remarkable volume, A Place to Stand, a memoir by poet Jimmy Santiago Baca.  We heard him interviewed on NPR, and got hold of his book, and several volumes of his poetry.  A Place to Stand tells of a life that starts in poverty, and descends into degradation, in this case, drug dealing, that winds our protagonist up in prison.  It covers the several years he spends there, up to and through his release at approximately age 25.

What is the comeback?  Stealing a book from a sadistic guard who was also a college student, Baca teaches himself to read, grasps the power of the image, the power of literature, especially poetry, and sorts out his life.  Eventually, he becomes a celebrated poet, but that happens later.

The book is variously described in various places as "raw," "searing," "violent."  It is all these things and more.  It has the most important quality of a book:  it is extremely difficult to put down.  The author is so transparent and forthcoming with the gritty details of his life, he has you in his grip from the get-go.  Yet, a reservation or two, if I may.  The writer seems to take responsibility for his life, but almost imperceptibly, pulls back just a bit, i.e. there is always a reason.  Whenever possible, he lays off the blame for his crimes to abandonment, loss, heartache.  There is always a powerful rationalization process going on, 24/7 as it were, and it is presented to you, the reader, in such an appealing fashion, the enormity of his crimes, and the flotsam and jetsam of human lives he has ruined gets glossed over.  This is unfortunate, to say the least.

His depiction of prison life is eye-opening, unforgettable, and harrowing.  Whatever you think of criminals and their prison surroundings, you can conclude nothing other than that our system is deeply flawed, and destroys rather than rehabilitates.  This is a serious problem, and our society must address it.

This is an important book.  It is not new (first published 1979), but thankfully NPR brought it to their listener's attention.

Not often does a member of the criminal underclass express himself so artistically.  Even more rare:  this story of rising from a life of crime to one of productive member of society.  His book is being made into a documentary, according to his eponymous web site.  We look forward to seeing it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ex-Bear Chris Zorich agrees to pay back charity funds that remain unaccounted for -

An extraordinary comedown -- the flip side of an "extraordinary comeback."

Former Chicago Bear Chris Zorich, who was named a Pro Bowl alternate in 1993, retired from the NFL in 1997. He went on to receive a law degree from Notre Dame, never passed the bar and worked for a few years in the school's athletic department. He is currently unemployed, Lydon said.

The full story:

Ex-Bear Chris Zorich agrees to pay back charity funds that remain unaccounted for -

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Power boat accident cannot stop this power lifter

A remarkable story of courage and persistence, sent by one of our readers....

Ali McWeeny is stronger than that

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

‘I’ll come back stronger’ – Kieran Behan

Irish gymnast Kieran Behan conquers brain injury, wheelchair life, torn ACLs, but falters a bit at the Olympics.

Still, the resolve:

‘I’ll come back stronger’ – Kieran Behan

Reminding us what we already know:  athletics are about courage, not winning. 

His background story is a must read too....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The caterpillar and the butterfly

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, his world at least, it turned into a butterfly.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Andy Griffith's career was a comeback from failure from his first ambition

Andy Griffeth's original ambition was musical theatre.  He earned a degree in music from U. of North Carolina.

Per NPR:

Griffith's success as a comic actor came even though his first dream in life was to be a serious singer. In college he majored in music, and as a young man, he set off for New York to audition for roles in operettas and jobs in choirs. But Griffith said the auditions failed to yield him a single offer.

"Instead of being hurt, I just started to wonder what I could do with the rest of my life. And I went home and wrote a few jokes," Griffith said. "That summer, I did my first long monologue, and a man named Orville Campbell came up to me and said, 'I have a record company. Would you like to record "What it Was Was Football"?' And I said, 'Yeah.' "

That set him on the road to becoming a television icon.  Andy Griffith passed away July 3.  R.I.P., you made us all smile, and you made this place a little bit more humane....

Sunday, July 1, 2012

What's the best thing that could happen?

From "Extraordinary Comebacks" subject Roger Crawford:

What's the Best Thing
That Could Happen
Many self-help books advise the following way to increase your courage in tough situations: "Just imagine the worst that could possibly happen." The underlying logic is that this will strengthen you for whatever is to come. However, when­ever I mention this strategy to people who are discouraged, they tell me they've already rehearsed and anticipated all the negative events so thoroughly that they can recite every tiny detail as if it had already happened.

Instead, my suggestion is to rehearse and imagine the best that can happen. Here's a positive strategy. Let's say you are considering pursuing a possibility that seems a bit daunt­ing. Therefore, to prepare for the great possibilities that are going to require extra stamina and courage:

Relive past successes. Make a list, mental or on paper, of the times you've tried and succeeded. Here is a powerful mental image: Braid a rope of past achievements to hang on to, both in good times and challenging ones.

Release past disappointments. Make another list of disappointments, and then tear it up, literally or figuratively. Shred it, set fire to it, flush it, and toss it in the waste basket. Gone!

Rehearse future possibilities. Produce, direct, and star in a mental movie of yourself exploring this wonderful possibility. See yourself meeting the challenges, bouncing back from any setbacks, and continuing on with energy and determination.

When you go all-out pursuing potential possibilities, your attitude becomes more positive, your energy increases, and your courage strengthens. Even if things don't turn out ex­actly as you had hoped, you've permanently boosted your at­titude and resilience, keeping yourself open to new possibili­ties in the future.

If you start with the belief that possibilities are abundant and within your grasp, you will begin to see all the new op­portunities available to you. If your belief is negative, you will see barriers instead. We all want to feel our opinions are correct. Therefore, if your opinion is that you have the abil­ity to achieve great things, great things appear. But if you are convinced you're mediocre, you will only notice the average. To further support this diminishing belief in yourself, you will actually ignore the extraordinary abilities you have and focus your attention solely on your average attributes! Whereas pessimists see problems before possibilities, Optimists see possibilities before problems!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Sixth time is the charm

Lukas Rosol hails 'miracle' Wimbledon win over Rafael Nadal - Wimbledon - Sport - Evening Standard

He loses in the first round of the Wimbledon qualifiers each year for the past 5 years, not Wimbledon, the tournament to win a wild card into Wimbledon.

He comes back (2012, June 28) to defeat legend Rafael Nadal, in 5 sets.  He had never played in the tournament before, he had never been on Centre Court.  He went out to get the "feel" of it before his match.  He was hoping just not to lose 0, 1 and 1, he said.

He had "the eye of the tiger," though, a powerful hunger to win, and an insane self-confidence, and went all out on his shots.  Taken together, it was enough for the no. 100 player to defeat the no. 2 player.

A "miracle?"  Maybe.  Certainly a stunning comeback to the site of his former defeats, failures, frustrations.  As commentator John McEnroe said, an inspiration to every player on the challenger circuit (the minor league of tennis) that dreams can and do come true.  Rosol himself turned to soccer for a metaphor;  he said it was like a Czech "B" team defeating Real Madrid.

We saw it 'live,' unforgettable.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Maria Sharapova -- all the way back and then some....

Martina Navratilova said she knew Sharapova would be a tennis champion by the way she walked.
Maria was 6.

She made that prophecy come true with a victory over Serena Williams, Wimbledon, 2004, to become champion.

Maria was 17.

Four years later though, a recurring shoulder injury necessitated surgery.

Rehab was slow.  Her ranking fell to no. 126.

Some wondered if she'd ever be, well, "Maria Sharapova" again, or were her best days behind her?

In 2011, she was finalist at both Wimbledon, and Australian Open tournaments.

Then, the next year, the full comeback:  a 2012 French Open championship. 

Especially sweet, because this was a title that had eluded her.

Just 25, with a great future ahead, Maria Sharapova had made a stunning comeback.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The postage stamp

“Consider the postage stamp; its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing until it gets there.” Josh Billings

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Courage does not always roar.

Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,

"I will try again tomorrow".

Maryanne Radanbacher

Friday, April 27, 2012

Brain Injury Gives Man A Second Chance To Be Kind : NPR

Brain Injury Gives Man A Second Chance To Be Kind : NPR

The trials and tribulations of recovering from a motorcycle accident....making a comeback story thanks to his wife....listen to their story....

Monday, April 9, 2012

Violinist Maxim Vengerov returns

After four year hiatus, violinist Maxim Vengerov returns.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Wm. Shatner and why he is launching new one man show

We found this gem in his NPR interview:

On taking risks

"It's very easy to say no to leaving the house. I'm happy with what I got. No, I'm not going there. No, I don't want a new idea — the old idea is fine. No, I don't want a new thing — whether it's a president, an idea, a concept. No. And you're safe. You're right in your little hole; you haven't moved. And what you're doing before is what you're doing now. And that's safe. That's comforting, and you're going to die that way. 'No,' and you're put in your hole and that's fine and you're dead. 'Yes' requires you to move out of that hole. 'Yes' is like those little animals that pop their heads out and look around. But some of them don't go."

Born March 22, 1931, William Shatner is 81 years young....thanks to one of our readers for pointing this amazing fact out to me. Many have given it up by that age, Shatner is pressing on, traveling to new vistas, just like he did on Star Trek. Hats off to Wm. Shatner, he inspires us all.

Friday, March 16, 2012

What is the value of thoughtful legal work when your political or cultural enemies have you in a chokehold?

Dharun Ravi turns down plea deal in Tyler Clementi webcam spy case

That was December.

Friday, March 16, 2012, Ravi is convicted, faces prospect of 10 years in prison or deportation.

Some say his sentence will be light, in any case. We've seen that movie before. Some said that about Rod Blagoevich, disgraced former Illinois governor, who joined another ex-Illinois governor behind bars this week.

"He'll get off light."

But Blago got 14 years, for corruption, more than many murderers and rapists get. (Guidelines here call for 10 years for murder with no prior record. Rape, about the same.)

You have to ask yourself (and I'm no fan of Rod, he should probably be incarcerated just for his bad management practices), but was Blagoevich 40% worse than a murderer?

We have a Republican friend who ran for county office few years back. The Dems got hold of his tax assessments, and boosted him right out of Cook County with a multiple of those around him. Nixon knew something about political enemies. Now, Blago.

If he'd have murdered someone, Blago might have gotten 10 years, on average. But Blago got another 40% tacked on.

Mr. Ravi has political enemies, too, or cultural. And now Mr. Ravi will have two months to think about those enemies, to read countless editorials, blogs, and comments about himself, to sweat it out, and then see the dice rolled on his behalf out of his control. Accepting the plea bargain? That was within his control. Gone now.

Wanting his "day in court" was something akin to doing surgery on himself. Where was his lawyer when he was turning down the plea bargain?

How much is good lawyering worth if you're in the really hot water?

Interesting things to ponder...........

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Goodbye Billion, we hardly knew ye

One of our greatest and favorite comeback stories is that of J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter creator.

She went from near penniless to $1 billion US net worth on the strength of her powerful imagination.

Now she's dropped off the Forbes 400 list, for the best possible reason: appears she has given some $160 million of her fortune to charity.

Hats off to J.K. Rowling, read more:

Forbes list: JK Rowling fortune under vanishing spell - Telegraph

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Zen saying

Sit, run or walk, just don't wobble.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Superbowl comeback(s)

That late drive by Eli Manning and the Giants was the 7th fourth quarter comeback to win for the team in this season.

Hats off to Manning, his teammates and coach Tom Coughlin. Sportswriters and fans were calling for his head just weeks earlier.

Now, at 65, he had led the team to a Super Bowl victory.