Friday, January 30, 2009

Cruel To Animals

You don’t hear about everything that goes on at a radio station on the air. It’s supposed to be a slick professional product, but behind the scenes the other day it got a little interesting. I walked back to our kitchen area to get a cup of coffee and got zoomed by a bird. I checked to make sure it wasn’t a bat, but the frightened fowl was small and meek.

It flew up behind some cupboards and I checked behind the refrigerator to make sure it hadn’t gotten caught up in the coils on the back. No somehow it managed to escape and must have flown up into the ceiling area of the building. If you’ve ever been inside KFIZ it’s more like a warehouse or loft in the office area.

Eventually one of our guys corralled it and got it outdoors, but not before it banged into one of our huge picture windows and stunned itself. Now if you’re going “poor thing” than you’re probably appalled by the recent thrill killings of ducks and deer in Wisconsin. One of those incidents happened right here in Fond du Lac. I’m right along with you on that.

A policeman I know says things like that can really work people up into a lather, but reminded me that there are folks out there committing violent crimes against people that will probably get less jail time than those responsible for wildlife “thrill kills.” He says we should be more ashamed of that. He’s probably right.

Still I can’t see being intentionally cruel to animals. That goes back to an incident that happened when I was very young. It involved my brother John who was only a few years old at the time. My mom caught him swinging a cat by the tail out in the backyard. She was mad. To make her point she picked him up by the legs and began swinging him around, threatening to let him go. How do you like it she asked? Needless to say it scared the heck out of him.

Fortunately that was back in the day when you could get away with disciplining your kid and not have to worry about being charged with child abuse. As for my brother John he loves animals to this day. Wouldn’t you?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Random Thoughts

I wonder how the almighty might get out the 10 commandments these days? I’d be willing to bet that most people can name at least one. Some how Moses made his way down the mountain and they were passed along through the years. I say this after receiving a complaint about the extension of Fond du Lac’s winter parking restrictions.

It was pointed out to me that some people are still unaware of it and how it works. That’s because they don’t read the newspaper or listen to local radio stations. This particular person registered their gripe about it by reading it on and faxing their anonymous thoughts. Plus the city used their city watch program to place robocalls to make people aware of it. As if that weren’t enough they’ve been considering placing notices on message boards along our roads.

This particular person feels the extended restrictions should be scrapped and the city should go with the nighttime only restrictions. It’s a legitimate complaint and it’s particularly hard on our visitors. However I’ve tried navigating a number of streets during daytime hours and although I can get my car through I’m wondering how a plow, fire truck or ambulance can?

A couple weeks ago I sat in the parking lot at the Town of Eldorado Town Hall waiting for word from Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s officials about shootings at a residence just up the road. We know how that turned out, but everyday life continued even as people were being turned away from going up the road during the investigation into the shooting. One officer turned away a realtor who was supposed to show a home up the road. He noted it wasn’t a particularly good day to be showing a property.

Every small town has its local hometown hero. In Manistique, Michigan when it came to athletics it was Ron Rubick. He was a high school football star in the late 1950s who later gained fame as a high school football coach in Manitowoc. He recently passed away. After retiring Rubick moved back to Manistique where he lived until he died. Although I grew up in Manistique I never knew the man, but that doesn’t prohibit me from respecting him. When I played high school football his name was always used whenever people mentioned some of the best teams that ever played for the school.

He could have been selfish, but instead whenever he was asked about his success he credited players, coaches and others he first played with and later coached himself. That’s rare. Rubick’s #33 was actually retired twice. The second time in 2000 because when the original high school was demolished it was misplaced. It was the players of that later era who asked for the second retirement of Rubick’s jersey, kids who played more than 40 years after the “Manistique Missile.”

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Alzheimer's: Getting Lost On Memory Lane!

Sometimes Hollywood endings can be downright cruel. I was disheartened over the holidays to find out that actor Peter Falk is suffering from Alzheimer’s. He’s not one of my favorite actors, but I did enjoy some of the roles he’s played. Of course Lieutenant Columbo, the rumpled detective comes to mind right away. However he also played an angel named Max in a series of TV Christmas films that were also quite enjoyable.

The 81-year-old actor can no longer see to his own affairs and a family member filed for conservancy last month. That’s something I hope I never have to do. However my mother fears it more than anything else that can happen to you when you get older. I know where she’s coming from.

She volunteers in a wing of the local hospital where she lives that she refers to as the “Medicare” unit. That’s because most of the people there are on a Medicare and it’s probably their last stop in life. She’s seen too many people go through there whose memories were ravaged by Alzheimer’s.

A couple that used to live just down the street from us when I was in high school both ended up in that unit. Both of them went through the stages of Alzheimer’s. I remember attending high school with their daughter Carla. One of her grandmothers stayed with them at one time. The woman went for a walk in the all-together one day. Back then they referred to that as senility. Not anymore and apparently it climbed down the family tree.

I worked my way through college by taking jobs both during the school year and during the summer. A few summers I worked at a limestone mine. College kids were looked down on by some of the full-time workers at the mine. I remember a foreman called George who you could always talk to if you were having a problem. Now George is in that “Medicare” unit. He smiles when you call his name, but that’s the only recognition you’ll get out of him.

Lieutenant Columbo had a habit of always coming back when he remembered another question he had for his murder suspects. Of course that was just a gambit, but for the man who played him it no longer is. I hope that I’ll never get lost on Memory Lane.