Clinging to my walks

I recently had the opportunity to take a ride through Red State America along Hwy 35 through southern Ohio, West Virginia and onto Interstate 64. The ride was a bit odd as I emerged from Dayton, the rich, white, mall-laden Beavercreek into the hills, holler and trailer-park homes that lined 35 for miles upon miles.

I listened to Obama’s speech again and again (we dogs have pretty good hearing) with his “bitter” and “cling” comments. In context, they make sense. Out of context, he sounds like an elitist.

The same parts of America that will never vote for a [insert racial term here or use the term “black man”], that believe the unions are in their corner, that believe that when bad things happen, singing “God Bless America” will make things ok and when things go well, sing the praises of God and thank him are who need the message of hope the most. But they will reject it for things they “know” to be real. Guns, God and Government.

Before you can change, before you can grow, before you can hope, you MUST start from a truth. The truth is that when the economy goes badly because our market shifts to making things in China instead of America, small towns who depend on a single source of manufacture are devastated. Lifestyles that were thought to be solid are disrupted. And people need to find a cause. Governments can’t be the cause, certainly you can’t blame God; that according to faith, would be despair, a deadly sin. Small town America struggles for understanding and “clings” to what it knows to be true. God is everlasting, omniscient and ever-present. Guns will protect you from someone else’s desperation. And government will bail you out with food stamps and medical care for your kids.

That is the truth that this country NEEDS to accept for us to move forward. Instead, Clinton, FOX and other “thought leaders” pounce on these comments as elitist. They should be looking inward and asking themselves if perhaps Obama hasn’t driven along Hwy 35 in southern Ohio and West Virginia and looked out the windows more often than they have.

You can’t pay your mortgage with HOPE, you can’t feed your children with HOPE. You can’t pray to HOPE. But HOPE is what will fuel a movement for change because hope — combined with the kind of desperation that is felt when things are as bad as they get — will cause people to change, to stand up, clinging to their guns and God and use that power for change. There is a reason God is in the First Amendment and Guns are in the Second.

But, what do I know. I’m only a dog who only want to cling to walks three times a day, sniffing butts and checking out the cute puppy chicks on the corner.

Age

In June, I will be 8 years old, which in human years makes me about 56. I am becoming a dog of “a certain age.”

My most favorite thing to do is to curl up naked at the foot of the couch, with my owner’s toes against my tummy, my head on his leg, staring into his eyes. If I were to die right there on the sofa, I would die a happy puppy. I ache terribly when he is gone.

But, I also like taking walks. Lots of them. I like sniffing around in my neighborhood, but I also like the excitement that comes with finding new smells, greeting new dogs. Mostly, though, I hang with a group of dogs where I am the “middle aged” mutt. There is the younger dogs with lots of energy, whose goal on a walk is to consume as much walkway, pee on as many trees and bushes as possible and munch his way through life.. quickly. Then, there are a couple of older ladies who, on occasion, have been known to just sit and take a rest when they need to. Sometimes in the middle of the street.

For the most part, the younger dog becomes impatient. Old dogs drag him down. But, I usually find a shady patch of grass and hang a bit. If she doesn’t move for a while, I’ll go back and gently nuzzle her nose. She eventually starts up again and all is good.

The younger dog gets impatient with me. “What if the school door is closed and it doesn’t smell as good when we get there” or “The leaves will have fallen from the bush if we dawdle.” Well, I tell him we’ll still get there, and if things are different when we do, then we embrace that change as something new, something discovered. He snorts. In a few years, he will probably understand, but for now, it is all about conquest.

The best part about my walks is coming home, but the worst part about my walks is also coming home. Home is comfortable, safe. But home is where I can’t experience new things. Perhaps that is the middle-aged puppy struggle. I’m sure in a few years, when I am the old dog who just plops, sits and rests in the middle of a road when things get too fast, this post will seem all very silly, a desperate cry of “youth” to understand; a youthful boast about understanding age. And I will smile at my younger self and know that I really did not know what I thought I did.

I like my puppy friends and I will miss the older ladies when they can no longer walk with us. I hope when I am older, someone will always be there to reach back, wait for me when I need to rest and nuzzle my nose when I need it most.

Myths and Rumors about Rufus

Some people have wondered about who Rufus really is and wondered if he is really who he says he is on DogWalkBlog (and elsewhere). So, just so you know.. and you know who you are.. everything on this blog is real. Here are some popular questions.

Is Rufus a real dog?
Yes, Rufus is very real. He was born in June 2000 and “rescued” from Jack’s in Trotwood by a very caring family who lives in Englewood, Ohio. There, he has flourished in the lap of near luxury, enjoying a MINIMUM of three walks a day, chasing rabbits, squirrels and playing with a squeaky toy.

Does Rufus really write this blog?
Well… not really,. He is, after all a dog and he has no thumbs. So, typing is very difficult. But, he is the alter-ego of his owner from time to time. At other times, he is a reflection of the world around him. Everything is this blog is a nakedly honest opinion as there really is no reason for a dog to lie or act a part. Rufus may change his mind from time to time or alter an opinion after some reflection, but the writings are a genuine glimpse into his mind.

What is Rufus’ favorite food?
He is a dog, so he has trouble narrowing down his one favorite. But, in order or preference, honey-dipped Tim Bits (but only from the Englewood store), then a double cheeseburger — without ketchup and onions — from McDonalds, Wendy’s vanilla frosty, a Frosty Paws from Captain Freeze and hot dogs from Englewood Indoor Soccer late at night.

Does Rufus vote? Does he have a political affiliation?
Rufus does not vote, but again, he is a dog. He does not have any political affiliation. He does pee on the Englewood Government Center lawn, but he has not yet shared what he really means by that. He has no political affiliation and his only criteria for being critical of any politician is they are acting stupidly.

How about a religion? Does Rufus believe in God?
People, again Rufus is a dog. But he celebrates all major religious holidays as long as they have some sort of food attached to them. Rufus does believe in God because things are way to complicated and designed to be a happy accident.

How do I become a fan of Rufus?
That one is easy. Just comment on his blog or send an email to rufus@dogwalkblog.com and ask to become a Rufus Fan. If you give him a mailing address and your name, he will send you an autographed photo with a personal message.

Last question. Does Rufus really sign his photos?
Yes, that is Rufus’ real paw print on the photo every fan gets.

Is there a text in this election?

Oh, brother. Why is this DNC nominating process so hard for the common people to grasp? And why is the misinformation being fueled by the press? I saw the same thing happening when Bill Clinton was being impeached. The “mob” saw Clinton’s impeachment as him being thrown out of office. But wait, the Senate actually gets to decide the ultimate fate?? Oh, that’s right, cooler heads are in charge.

The New York Times ran an article by Stanley Fish that is just dead-on accurate about this whole process. My perspective from a dog’s point of view.

This super delegate issue is a NOMINATION by a political party, not an election by the people. It is about picking someone who has the best chance of defeating the other party’s nominee. The GENERAL ELECTION is about which nominee would make the better president.

Primaries and caucuses are “tests” to see how well each party-hopeful would fare in an election. It is a test-run, if you will. At the end of the day, the only “obligation” a superdelegate has is to the party and voting to nominate the candidate who has the better chance of winning in a general election.

If you don’t agree with your party’s nomination rules, work with your party to change their rules. Or join another party. And, if you don’t like who your party puts up for nomination or who it nominates for the general election, vote for someone else. That choice is the part of the democracy that is ours.

The City of Englewood at it again!

I recently received a mailer from Rumpke regarding the change in our trash removal service. It had a few more details than the official City newsletter had. I called the City of Englewood to clarify the “one bulk item” definition. As I do most of my own home-improvement projects as a hobby and relaxation, I was concerned I would no longer have access to construction debris removal as would be expected from a bathroom remodel.

Matt in the government office confirmed my fear, but he was quick to point out the City was saving a million dollars by switching to Rumpke. I then took out my calculator.

Using a basis of approximately 23,000 residents (could be a few more or less.. not sure how many apartment renters are in that count) I calculated out $36.00/year that Rumpke would be pushing off on us for container rental. That came to $828,000, just shy of a million dollars. But, since our $36.00 is AFTER taxes, the REAL cost of renting a container, given the lowest tax brackets, is $45.99 a year. (Your cost may vary, depending on your tax bracket.) This pushes the real cost to $1,057,00.00. A hair over a million dollars the City is “saving.”

As far as me and my third-grade math are concerned, we are now getting fewer services for just a bit more money than we are now paying. And the City is saving a million dollars on our behalf.

If my calculations are not accurate or I am missing something, I invite the City to call and correct me. I suspect a call will not be forthcoming