Open letter to the teen who nearly died yesterday in Englewood

Dear teen driving the car on Walnut Street;

You nearly died yesterday because you were impatient and you thought you were owed the right-of-way making a left turn onto National Road.

From page 36 of the Ohio Digest of Motor Vehicle Laws on left hand turns;

Is required to yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction. Prior to engaging a left-hand turn, the driver must wait for oncoming traffic to clear the intersection. One may advance into the intersection as a prelude to turning, provided that no other traffic control devices prohibit this action.

I was the vehicle approaching from the opposite direction. I outweighed you by at least two tons. If I had hit you, one of us would have gone to the hospital and it would not have been me.

You did not have the right-of-way simply because you were waiting longer than I was at the 2-way stop. Yes, I have been where you were, trying to make a left-hand turn onto a busy road at 4:00pm. Yes, the lights in “downtown” Englewood are timed badly, if at all. Yes, it is maddening that others pull up in the opposite direction to make a right-hand turn just as the road looks like it is clearing up.

But your sense of what is fair does not give you the right to punch the gas and pull in front of me simply because you felt it was your turn to go. The traffic laws do not work that way. Life does not work that way. Your sense of fairness nearly cost you your life. Defending traffic laws are not worth dying over.

You are very lucky that I yielded my right-of-way to you, even though I really didn’t have to. I have seen other drivers in my situation who would have pushed their advantage. The look on your face clearly indicated that you thought I was the one in the wrong, so I suspect you learned nothing from our chance encounter. Perhaps by luck, you will read this open letter.

I understand you may not have received as much training as you needed from our local driving school. I know my two kids did not. I also know from experience that the “testing” given by the Ohio Department of Motor Vehicles is not all that hard to pass. A drunken monkey could pass that test. But that really is no excuse to not know some basic right-of-way laws.

Few interactions on the road determine whether you live or die behind the wheel than knowing who has the right-of-way and when. Please learn these laws. And when in doubt, yield the right-of-way and live to drive another day.

It’s not about fair. Ultimately, it’s about surviving other drivers. You should not also have to fight yourself.


Rufus Dogg.

Cheese curds at Kroger

We want Kroger to carry cheese curds. We think you do too. Every cheese counter has a Customer Feedback thingie. My cheeseologists at the Englewood, OH store says the manager looks at these.

So, could you all request cheese curds the next time you stop in at a Kroger? I’ll bet by the time the Packers are in the 2012 Super Bowl, we’ll see cheese curds at Kroger. And the rest of the year, all our Canadian friends can make poutine.

Cheese Curds

Dog Days at JD Custard

On July 17, JD Custard is celebrating Dog Days of Summer. Show up, have some great custard and each dog receives a free Dogwich.

Hours are 12:00 noon until 10:00 pm in Englewood. Take a picture of your dog eating his/her favorite JD Custard treat and share it on their Facebook page.

Be sure to follow @jdcustard on twitter too.

Custard makes you cute. It makes your dog even cuter. Really. (ok, not really.. our lawyers made us say that.)

Why the housing bust is a boon for dogs

It’s been said by someone who probably has no money in the stock market or has not just bought a brand new Apple product that “there is no good or bad news, there is just news. How you see it depends on your perspective.”

And we are choosing to see this housing bust as a HUGE boon for dogs.

In Englewood, Ohio, there are at least three different housing sites where work has stopped abruptly. Over two years ago. And that is good because that means we have at least three dog parks that have paved, subdivision-style roads that lead to large fields filled with tall grasses and lots and lots of plowed up smelly things. In the winter, we have a large expanse of snow and snow hills when the plows just push all the street snow off at the end where there are no houses. Nobody ever bothers us when we’re at one of these “dog parks.”

If you are dog, this housing bust is the best thing to happen in years. Part of me hopes it goes on for a while.

Just thought I would share a small silver-lining in an otherwise gloomy economy. And if you own a dog, have no money and nowhere to go, find a housing sub-division that quit building and make it a dog park. Chances are there is one near you.

Really, it’s ok.


Dangerous walkway in Englewood, Ohio

There is a walkway path along the Stillwater River in Englewood that connects Grossnickel Park and that new lake along Wenger road. While we generally support walkways in parks, the stretch of walkway that passes underneath Interstate 70 is very, very scary and probably quite unsafe.

Here is a short video of us walking underneath it. Notice the crumbling cement and lack of any containment cage. One of these days, a truck is going to blow a tire and those rubber shreds and steel belts will kill a jogger or dogwalker. Just don’t want it to be me.

I know Englewood is doing a ton of improvements all over the place. Can you send a crew to weld a cage in place? Thanks. I know you have the money because you cashed my tax check.

Dogwiches at JD Custard

We stopped at the JD Custard in Englewood, next to the Oinkadoodlemoo BBQ and they had a sign in the window for some Dogwiches, .39 each or 4.50 for a barkers dozen (clever, right?)

They are two dog biscuits sandwiched with vanilla custard. Me and Sallie could not wait to gobble them up.

Love this kind of thing!

BTW, JD Custard and Oinkadoodlemoo will both be at the adidas Warrior Soccer Classic on Memorial Day weekend at Thomas Cloud Park in Dayton, Ohio, so if you know anyone who is playing in the tournament or you just want to watch some really great youth soccer, stop on by and tell them you saw them at!

Local Northmont grad plays his first hometown concert

If Austin Hicks has his way you will soon be hearing and seeing a lot of this up-and-coming Country music performer.

The 19-year-old Northmont High School graduate is literally “jumping through the hoops,” doing what it takes to make his way in the world of Country music. That includes hiring an agency to market his music, and moving his base of music operations to the “heart” of Country music — Nashville, Tenn.

Playing his first concert in his hometown of Englewood Sat., May 8, Hicks is trying to make a name for himself locally and nationally.

“This is my dream,” Hicks said during the May 8 concert at Walgreens in Englewood, “It is nice to share my music with the people I grew up with.”

Having released his self-titled album in the fall of 2009, Hicks has seen his dream grow from just being a novice in the business as a high school senior, to being on the cusp of having national radio airplay if the single I Still Pledge Allegiance, a song he penned which is on his debut album.

Hicks recorded that album at Junction Recording Studio in Nashville, Tenn.

“So much is about to take place,” Hicks said.

Signing with the musical agency will help get I Still Pledge Allegiance to about 1,600 Country music radio stations in the United States.

The song, according to his website,, honors “The flag and the men and women who fight to defend it.” Fire Dancer, also off his debut album, has already received radio airplay.

Hicks has seen his concert schedule grow from about 75 dates in 2009 to between 125 and 150 dates in 2010. A national tour is planned for 2010-2011.He has some heavy credentials as well, having opened for the legendary Charlie Daniels in Tampa, Fla.

Still Hicks is staying true to his Christian roots. At the age of three he was touring with his parents Rich and Cavil Hicks, Southern Gospel singers in their own right.
“I grew up singing in church and at local places with my parents,” he said.
“God has opened up so many doors, it is amazing what doors He has opened up,” Hicks added.

Still he may not have ever formed the Rattlesnake River Band, which accompanies him, if his high school football career had blossomed.

“I was very active in sports in high school,” the former Northmont Thunderbolt left tackle said. “But by the end of my junior year I realized I wasn’t going to be playing college football, so I concentrated on the music.”

In 2008 Hicks received a VIP invitation to perform for the producers of the NBC-TV show “Nashville Star” in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. He was a regional finalist but was not included in the show’s actual line-up.

The Rattlesnake River Band consists of Hicks’ younger brother Tyler on lead guitar, his dad Rich on rhythm guitar, Jeff Arnold on bass guitar, and Kody McCoy on drums. The family connection is something Hicks treasures.

“That is what is so special about my musical career,” he said. “It isn’t just my dream, whole family is involved.” His mom Cavil serves as merchandise manager.

The family ties to his career are so strong, brother Tyler decided to be homeschooled during the 2009-2010 school year, by-passing what would have been his senior year on the Northmont campus.

Upcoming area dates to hear Hicks in concert include May 15 at All Sports Bar & Grill in Xenia, May 22 at the Arcanum Old Fashioned Days, June 25 at the London Strawberry Festival, in August he will be playing at the Greene County Fair, and on Aug. 28 he will be at The Greene in Beavercreek. In early June, Hicks will be performing at the CMA Fest in Nashville, a venue he called the largest outdoor Country concert in the country.
In October he hits the road to the Southwest USA, playing at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, N.M., the largest hot air balloon event in the world, as well as Reno, Nev. with stops in Arizona and Texas.

In addition to his website he has a presence on social networking sites Facebook and MySpace.

He will turn 20-years-old in October.

Relationships are not a zero-sum game or what I find disturbing about NBC’s ‘The Marriage Ref’

The Marriage Ref logo-promo

I watched The Marriage Ref on NBC last night party because I couldn’t find the remote after 30Rock was done and party because I really wanted to understand what bothers me about this show. I had already ruled out the concept, graphics and personalities because all of that is Jerry Seinfeld top-notch. There was something more visceral happening.

And then after watching the second segment where the husband wanted his wife to wear sexy clothes, it hit me*. This show treats relationship conflict resolution as a zero-sum game. Someone wins, someone loses.

Anyone who has had a relationship with another human being — marriage, business, bro — knows that lasting conflict resolution is not zero-sum. While it might make for good television to have a couple go at it and then have celebrities rule on who is entirely right and who is entirely wrong, life just does not work that way. And the format of “no give, no gray area” may intimately be the show’s undoing.

Here’s how I would save it:
Have a sliding scale of 0%-100%. The scale starts off at 50% for the husband, 50% for the wife (because marriage is supposed to be 50/50.. clever, eh?) As the celebrities deliberate the issue, the scale slides up and down for each, depending on the arguments pro or con. At the end of the discussion, the couple is then told what PERCENTAGE of right and wrong each is. The one holding the positive position past 50% for the longest period of time can be declared the “winner” if needed. Probably need that, but the decision of the ref isn’t an all or nothing.

Or we can just ride out the show until the lack of ratings tank it. I don’t care. Just don’t cancel 30Rock and find my remote.

*Rodriquezes segment. The wife shows up at the end in a dress which indicated her meeting him halfway. That was the “Ah-ha” moment.

How long can you skim off the top before someone notices

Mini Cream Puffs I bought at Sams Club

So the other day, I bought this really huge container of mini cream puffs at SAM’s Club. The first thing I did when I got home is cracked open the lid and popped a few in my mouth.


I’m pretty certain they are fat-free and calorie-free as well, though I am scared to look at the label on the side.

And I’m a bit ashamed to say this, but I keep lifting back the lid a couple times a day and taking a few cream puffs. They are small, there is a lot there and nobody will really notice how many I’ve eaten. But then it occurs to me that at some point, the level of cream puffs will have fallen below an explainable level. “Contents may settle during shipping” will no longer be a viable explanation. I will eventually have to own up to the fact that I have indeed ingested more than three or four dozen mini cream puffs. It will be my walk of shame.

That got me thinking about how this is a metaphor for what passes as responsible management. Companies are trimming talent off the top in order to save some money. “Customers will never notice,” they console themselves. Products are trimming back some quality material in favor of cheaper plastic. Airlines are chopping off services. Oil rigs are foregoing safety valves. Banks are trimming services. Insurance companies cutting covered care. And on and on and on…. Look how much money we saved, look how much more productive we are.

Just an observation.

Do you think now that I used the cream puffs for a blog post that I can write them off as a business deduction? Even if the argument with the IRS agent entertains only me, I think it worth a gamble! 🙂

Austin Hicks playing Walgreens Community Day in Englewood, Ohio May 8

Austin Hicks Englewood Ohio

Local country star Austin Hicks will be performing in the Walgreens parking lot in Englewood, Ohio for Community Days on Sat. May 8 at 2:00pm. Austin, 19, is a graduate of the Northmont High School class of 2009.

There will be food, fun and just a good time, so come on down for a few hours to the corner of Wenger and Union, enjoy some live music and conversation. The DogWalkBlog will be out there talking with folks, so if you’ve been a reader, come on out.

And now, for a taste of Austin Hicks and his band:

Steve Jobs is just making silver-painted Styrofoam police badges

The iPad has been out for a day now, so that should have been enough time for all the pundits and Apple-know-it-alls to gripe about what is missing from the iPad, what should have been done differently, etc, etc, etc. And they are all very wrong because Steve Jobs really doesn’t care what you think or want. I know that has also been said before but before you dismiss me as another me-too thinker, let me share a short story with you.

When I was a puppy, we used to play a lot of games like cops and robbers. My parents were good Catholics, so that meant there was a rather large litter of us, all pretty close in age. My dad didn’t make much money and my mom was a stay-at-home, always in the kitchen, don’t bother me kind of mom, so there wasn’t a lot of money for toys. We made a lot of necessary accessories like pistols and billy clubs out of tree branches and whatnots. (It was a long time ago; guns were ok toys back then, even pretend ones made out of twigs.)

When I was about nine or ten years old, we got a catalog in the mail that had a whole section of cop badges you could order. Suddenly, without question, our cops needed badges. I started making badges using the Styrofoam trays meat was packed in. Turns out, if you traced the outline of the badge from the catalog, cut it out and then traced the inside detail lightly with a dull pencil, it would make an embossed badge. Paint that with silver paint used for model cars, tape a safety pin on the back and you had yourself a slick looking police badge.

Then I got to thinking that if I thought this was a good idea, other people would to. I made a few more and sold them to other kids who played the cops in our games for I think $.25 or something like that. Nobody really needed the badges to play a cop in cops and robbers, but it sure made the game more fun. After a bit, nobody wanted to play a cop unless they had a badge.

But here’s the thing: I made the badges because I wanted to create a game where the police characters sported really cool badges. I didn’t much care if they had all the features that others wanted (like a multi-color seal or gold eagle and silver base) or even if they were necessary for the game. In my mind, a world that had cops without badges was just not going to be a world I wanted to be in, pretend cops or not. If other kids thought it was a cool idea and wanted to buy a badge, that was ok, but it wasn’t necessary for me to have a market for silver-painted styrofoam badges for me to make the badges.*

And that ultimately is how I think Steve Jobs sees his world. He created the Apple computer because he wanted a world where small, personal computer existed. He created the iPod because he wanted a small, portable music device that worked in a non-technical way. Same kind of thing for the iPhone and iPad. The fact that lots of other people want these kinds of things too is incidental.

Steve Jobs is just making silver-painted Styrofoam police badges.

*The product line branched out to cop hats (made out of blue construction paper, kinda cool really) and belts before I grew up, discovered girls and that was that.