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By Mick Holien

I can sure understand the dismay from folks who get caught in that digital abyss where telephone instructions do nothing but place one on a circle carousel with surely no quick end in sight.

Much to my chagrin I decided last week to enter into the Veterans Administration register by mail sequence.

But let’s start at the beginning: Ten days ago I went to the Polson Senior Center to, for the first time register for VA medical benefits. After only being able to complete part of the form for lack of information, I returned on the representative’s next day with the completed form.

The following week I received a letter not telling me that I am eligible but rather that I should contact the nearest VA office for a medical evaluation which happens to be in Kalispell.

Now on to the abyss, said the brave scribe.

I called the first number and was remotely advised I was number 27 so I patiently waited about 40 minutes until they got to me.

While the nice woman had my name misspelled she started taking info until we were abruptly disconnected. Since she had not told me her name or extension and she didn’t call me back, I was left to start anew.

Upon redialing this time I received four choices, none of which did exactly what I needed.

So I just used common sense to by starting with one and dialing to the last number of four to no avail.

Since I also was provided the Helena number I did the same thing with them. Nope.

Frustrated I decided I would wait through the weekend in the hopes someone would return my call.

The following bright and early morning I started the process over again and after three misfires actually contacted an operator who established the appointment some 45 days away in Kalispell.

I then asked whether this letter is an indication I am eligible for benefits and to my surprise he told me no that was another process.

Well since I don’t figure they would do a medical eval if I was not covered, I am going to the March appointment and just see what happens.

And for that kind readers and listeners, let’s just say I’ll let ya know…just sayin’

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Let It Ring I say

By Mick Holien

Sitting at a monthly board meeting of the Boys and Girls Club, it didn’t exactly come to me as an original idea.

But when the first ring of a personalized cellular phone call pierced the air, it came to me.

No not what you think that it should be recommended at all meetings to either put your phone on airplane mode, rumble or turn it off completely.

Even the most consciousness of us should remember to do that but invariably it’s mine that quacks.

No it’s deeper than the obvious.

That special salutation that in some cases when it rings one actually would rather listened to George and Amarillo then have a legend answer his phone.

Others screech with the Alumni fight song, especially this time of year and of course I’m OK with that one.

But other personalization, not just a cell phone snooze, I think tells us even more about a person

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Twas an active weekend

By Mick Holien

To say I welcome raucous weekend activities is an understatement.

It is just making judgment over where and what to put puts extreme onus on this IMO.

I really think one with a little investigation could find excellent and diverse music the entire week yet the lingering smoke coupled with near record temps I think eventually weighs a bit.

The highlight for me was the Vox Vessel on the big water for the third and fourth sojourn already passing last year’s meager total.

And after super wrench “Carl” put the hammer on things she purrs like a …well too close to football. I’m, not going to say it.

I took the water route to the Big Stage and certainly appreciate all the kind words at seemingly all venues about listening to the program.

And for those folks who yelled at me and I didn’t immediately recognize them, the old eyesight just isn’t what it used to be and I couldn’t see you.

Nut special thanks to that flotilla that rescued me when I got let loose to aimlessly drift downstream without power.

It took me a bit to get to the helm but great conversation afterward.

Well we are really in the gridiron countdown now and since I am credentialed this season if you happen to be a sports fan, you’ll often hear things here either exclusively or initially.

That little salvo I dropped about baseball is to do with an exciting announcement for me and I hope for you about going to the mike for a little end of season professional stint.

Baseball has always been my love and I especially enjoy the time to share stories and remembrances that started on the professional fan level for me pretty early since this town’s play-by-play guy, the Voice of the Indians, lived across the street from me in the Lilac City.

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Storege Wars

By Mick Holien

With some 1,000 storage units either already built or facing construction one has to ask do we all just have too much stuff.

And while I hesitate to call it junk – full well realizing that one person’s junk is another’s treasure – do we have too much junk?

When I first moved to Missoula in the early eighties, I worked at a business that had a lot of unused land close to its retail operation.

And coming from the Tri Cities of Washington where the economy had been brisk thus prompting purchase of extra items without a location I suggested we build a block of storage units and handle the management without extra employees by running it through the existing retail operation.

So what did we do?

That particular idea, far ahead of its time, fell flat yet now there are at least a quartet of storage until operations in the same west-side neighborhood.
Oh well opportunity lost.

But I can’t imagine the number of various size storage units have been built and made some folks a butt-load of money since then.

Locally the latest of what I will describe as foresight is currently under construction on Highway 35.

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Anoother Monster Weekend

By Mick Holien

Vital parts of the Summerfest celebration annually attract a plethora of folks who might not be drawn to downtown Polson streets.

And that is just what some tourists – yes we are a tourist attraction – attempt to do is return to areas where they previously enjoyed themselves or somewhere they are attracted to because they never have visited there.

For me before I moved to this magic place some 13 years ago it was yearly I felt compelled to go to the Black Hills with of course that accompanying trip to Wall Drug.

Then there is a cruise to an exotic trip to warmth and conversely through the inside passage in Alaska.

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Signatures u

By Mick Holien

IMO decided with the opening of Dude’s I would put a few things on the sales block more or less to gauge interest and then purchase price.

There are several unique things to learn about my mostly autograph collection.

Because I traveled all over the country with a baseball or two packed away for convenience you’ll find I have obtained many signatures where my baseball may be the sole one they ever sign.

Even when I did obtain say a basketball signed by a hoopster they may or may not be personalized not necessarily to me but rather with pertinent stats of their career.

Like say Pat Donovan:

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Collect

By Mick Holien

IMO decided with the opening of Dude’s I would put a few things on the sales block more or less to gauge interest and then purchase price.

There are several unique things to learn about my mostly autograph collection.

Because I traveled all over the country with a baseball or two packed away for convenience you’ll find I have obtained many signatures where my baseball may be the sole one they ever sign.

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Oh-HiO

By Mick Holien

It seems strange to be concerned about getting winterizing completed when the calendar has just changed to the eighth month but indeed while the large majority haven’t even seemed to have gotten their feet wet – well anyway how quickly time flies when you are having fun.

One thing that sure is noticeable - not like I would notice - is water temperature in Flathead Lake – everyone tells me it is almost tepid like bath water.

And you know my deal: If I am telling you about water temperature it means just one thing –that I have fallen off Vox Vessel and into the water.

Now don’t get me wrong. I actually love any water and especially lake water.

It seems I have lived few places in my life where I wasn’t close to some kind of water but now unfortunately it is just too hard to either walk out or get out and into the boat.

And here we are on the first Tuesday of a month and you know what that means – Election Day somewhere.

Outcomes that in past years were insignificant to us suddenly hit the “all election all the time” television stations have already in the first hour analyzed not just an individual vote but how that determination fits in the short run and also in the grand election scale as the Dems attempt push to hang on to all things for all-buddies.

If past bumper years (mid-terms) are any indication the Presidents party, except for two situations held on to leadership. But has there ever been this degree of polarization?

I think not.

I considered grabbing the ‘Better Half,” dropping her at one of the partys and heading to the winner’s take over but after talking to her earlier in the day I think if the numbers fell to the wrong for me party silence and a separation might well be in the offing.

Yes it is true – Our votes, like my Mom and Dads – basically cancel each other out but then again that is the way of our Democracy.

Just sayin’


A Little Baseball

By Mick Holien

Here I am on a Monday night and unusually there is quite an open spot in the center of my desk.

Now that might seem strange that I point that out to you in the opening of a program but really I had to make astronomical alterations in the way I do business just to claim that two-by-three desk spot that really isn’t that functional but honestly it really gives me some piece of mind.

It could represent that my bills are current and it is only 20 percent of the way through the month.

It could mean I have given up on that stack of catalogs that I am never going to wade through and even if I did it would only lead to wasteful purchases.

Or it could even mean I have purchased a larger desk to add to the conglomeration a quartet I have situated in front of my north-facing window where I gaze at Flathead Lake from a couple of miles but just a waning thought away.

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Finally to the Hall

By Mick Holien

It took a while.

Jordan Montana finally will be recognized for more than the Freeman and the 2006 discovery of one of the world’s greatest fossils – tabbed dueling dinosaurs - native son Jerry Kramer (born there in 1936) at last takes his place among the pro football elite.

And the player barely identified in the famous photo hoisting Vince Lombardi on his shoulders after making the block that led Bart Starr into the end zone in the NFL Championship game in the so called Ice Bowl game now gains his due recognition.
And even more than that Packer fans – wait for it – right after this time out.

Yes and it is true while Jerry was born in the Treasure State and I claim White Salmon Wash as my birthplace, we both attended Farman Grade School in Sandpoint Idaho

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The? Ohio State University

By Mick Holien

I hardly can even remember the day when we could celebrate the purity of sports.

The controversy of the day stayed removed from the particular game season and we were left to discern among ourselves the merits for going for in on fourth down, utilizing an onside kick far before it was the sole way to gain an extra possession, squeeze that run from third even if a sacrifice fly would accomplish the same and maybe with less risk or ride the favorite even if the odds leave little money to be made.

But there somewhere down the line it all changed or has it been like this all along and there is just so much more needed scrutiny.

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few Items

By Mick Holien

Wow here it is August and Graz football practice opens just a week from today.

We’ll call it Bobby Ball Redux and since the successes of his seven-year tenure have faded into our collective consciousness I’ll just let the march to the Century mark of wins and the manner it takes speak for itself.

One thing I know he will become the most successful football mentor in University of Montana history.

It was recently pointed out to me that it had been so long since the “Boom Crew”: came to fruition there was a segment of our fan base that has no memory of where it all came from.

Now I certainly can’t remember what year it occurred but in their wisdom the NCAA notified UM Athletics that the cannon could not be used to signal a Griz TD.

I guess its frequency must have intimidated all those early teams sent to Missoula as real “cannon fodder.”

So those fine folks at KZOQ, competitors of us at KGVO mind you, bought up a block of tickets in the northeast section of the stadium and filled them with their listeners who after a Griz score not only supplied a collective “BOOM” but brought to let the rest of us know what they were doing.

Thus the “BOOM CREW” was born.

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Unfortunate Bears

By Mick Holien
I have had my share of animal collisions driving the highways and byways but coming on any breed of bear is pretty unusual.
I certainly admit the amount of deer carcasses has dramatically decreased with the construction of the underground tunnels that filter game away from the chance of a collision.
That is what made this week’s photo of a sow and a couple of cubs struck on Highway 93 so shocking.

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Conference Meets

By Mick Holien

The news channels, besides the Worldwide Leader, and even during Major League Baseball, it is already rumbling in the background.

Indeed it is intensive six-figure throngs, almost seven days a week, packing the highways and byways, because with no professional reflection, after all it’s only July but the college football countdown has begun.

In the Big Sky and most conferences it kind of starts with camps prior to fall camp kickoff on Aug 1.

The league also held the annual media days confab but the affair was moved from Park City, Utah to Spokane.

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What to do with the stuff

By Mick Holien

With some 1,000 storage units either already built or facing construction one has to ask do we all just have too much stuff.

And while I hesitate to call it junk – full well realizing that one person’s junk is another’s treasure – do we have too much junk?

When I first moved to Missoula in the early eighties, I worked at a business that had a lot of unused land close to its retail operation.

And coming from the Tri Cities of Washington where the economy had been brisk thus prompting purchase of extra items without a location I suggested we build a block of storage units and handle the management without extra employees by running it through the existing retail operation.

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Bullerdick

By Mick Holien

Monty Bullerdick wasted little time when he transferred from Hal Sherbeck’s Fullerton College football program to the University of Montana prior to the 77 season.

His diminutive size at 5-10, 175 belied his tailback ability as he earned Associated Press Honorable Mention All American status, ranking second in the Big Sky in rushing after eclipsing the Century mark.

His running abilities came as no surprise as he ran for more than 1800 yards for Sherbeck and led Fullerton to an Acocado Bowl victory after claiming a conference title.

He still stands fifth in rushing at the two-year California school.

His 1022 yards were the second best ever for a single season packing the rock about half the time and averaging more than 100 yards a game while winning the Terry Dillon Award as the Grizzlies top back or receiver.

The Anaheim Ca product died recently at the age of 62.

Bull, who was known to occasionally frequent the Mo Club where I met him followed up the 100 yard season with 219 carries for 791 yards for Gene Carlson’s team which left him second to only Steve Caputo on the all-time list.

In just two years his 219 single season and 433 career carries at the time were the most by any Grizzly.

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The Weather and You

By Mick Holien

As disappointing or accelerating as it might be the weather has a profound effect on our disposition.

And as one considers and approaches the eventual realization of our mortality the subtleties I suppose grow even more obvious.

I guess it is ironic then that we sometimes recognize such as the sunset of our existence when

Mick back and not really examining anything or anyone in particular I came to realize maybe that is why I cling to a four-season environment with not really sound reasoning to do so.

I could I suppose to follow some of vintage who leave to go south a little earlier and maybe even extend snow bird visitation until its warmth

A 2011 National Wildlife Federation indicated that some 200 million Americans risk greater psychological distress because of climate-related issues according to a Huffington Post story.

And like everything I suppose such if affects us all in different ways.

A gloomy day, for example, certainly could extend such negativity and vice versa says a study of 1,200 adults but not necessarily so.

Some of such data is easily analyzed like it should not shock anyone that violent crime escalates in Chicago in a particularly torrid summer or that there is some disputed indication that higher temps increase suicidal thinking or that in Germany for example colder has been found to increase the death rate.

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Perfect as Usual

I never tire of spending an afternoon with Missoula icon Emma Lommasson who just isn’t sure how or why the former UM Lodge bears her name because she lived so long.

Assuring her that was not the case I had an even additional treat Sunday when my daughter and her husband from Billings and celebrating their wedding anniversary graced her doorstep for the first time

You’ve never met or seen anyone my age have you, she chirped a bit to the youngsters who are not half her age.

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Fogerty was quite a trip

By Mick Holien

I have waited several years to hear John Fogerty.

And earlier this week, the rocker who said he played with the Grateful Dead at Woodstock, sure didn’t disappoint and did everything to enhance the experience.

I shared the stage with Fogerty at Sturgis as his sound check followed that of the Mission Mountain Wood Band that I was introducing.

As I listened to an intro of the music on his song list it didn’t take long to realize I knew the words to just about every vocal and found myself singly softly along – that is before the storm came over the mountain sending us all scrambling including Gene Simmons and Kiss.

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Finally Justice

By Mick Holien

If you have often shared this corner with me you have probably heard me talk about how much sports mirrors life and in fact I have offered it can easily be seen as a kaleidoscope.

And I remain convinced all levels of seemingly every sport share such implications.

And in sharing that observation I refer to the dark side of athletics as well of course as the positive side.

There seems to be an increased frequency of negative situations but certainly none more concerning than the situation at Michigan State University.

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Just a Look

By Mick Holien

Anytime one has an idea and then plays out the particulars of that idea in the public eye on radio and in print, one either receives instant or delayed gratification or even in some cases sharp criticism.

It is certainly not my first rodeo and prepared for both I set out to find out if anyone was indeed interested in my opinion.

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