Friday, March 7, 2014

Don't let illness change view of your Pet

Here's a controversial column.


I'm against  euthanizing the family pet because of age and ailments.


Here's the story.


When a dog or cat becomes seriously ill, we follow the veterinarian's recommendation that we terminate the animal's life  as an act of mercy.


If it were our Uncle Jimmy, we would either treat him or do everything to make him comfortable.


We would do nothing to expedite Uncle Jimmy's demise. Let the Grim Reaper arrive when he is ready to make his appearance.


Why do we take a different stance for Fido?


I'll tell you why.


It's because we are lazy.


We don't want to put up with the aggravation of caring for a sick animal in her waning days.


So the vet gives us a handy excuse. He tells us that the only kind thing to do is to "put her down."


Then we all become sad that "we had to do it".


As if you didn't have a choice.


You did have a choice.

You didn't have to automatically agree to pull the plug on fluffy.


Why do we go along so easily with the Vet's

 "suggestion" ?


If caring for the sick pet is too expensive or inconvenient, admit that you've put cost and time above your pet's life.


Be honest.


If you can, consider  caring for that innocent soul who has loved you unconditionally  for many years.


How many people do know that have the  kind pure heart of your faithful furry friend?  Practically zero.


A few months ago, we said goodbye forever to a petite Golden retriever named Marby. She brought a spark of joy into my life every single day of her nine-year existence.


Although she died on the operating table, my wife and I had already responded to the animal doctor's request for instructions that Marby should be put down if the operation resulted in only a grim prognosis.


Today when I think about it, I am ashamed of having made that decision.


Somehow, when our family pet becomes seriously ill, the dear affection that we have for these important members of our family degenerates into a question of keeping a table lamp or an old broken down recliner chair.


I'm not exactly sure how or why it happens. But when I go back and think about it, I see that it's just not right.


Just because our pets haven't received official recognition from society as equals to us, we easily transition from someone who really cares for the family dog to someone who's supposedly making an objective decision about an in animate object.


I don't buy that. And I can see now that I was wrong to have ever thought that way.


So, next time think about it.


You just might find immeasurable benefit for your own psyche in being patient and loving and caring for someone ignorant people often referr to as a "dumb animal".


I love these pets.


Let's not be so quick to give Dr. Death a thumbs-up. At least think about it.



Thursday, February 20, 2014

United Nations making sense for a change

For years, the international community has been criticized in the United States because of the efforts of various state legislatures, including Ohio, to limit and restrict abortion activity.


The battle cry of these mostly European liberals has centered around a woman's right to determine what she does with a conglomeration of cells in her own body. They view  abortion as no more significant than having a wart removed.


Unfortunately for the  pro-abortion crowd, a recent United Nations report released on Monday shows a little crack in the international armor frequently worn by those who want to end the life of the unborn.


The new report catalogs scores of human rights violations taking place in North Korea: Murder, rape, and the systematic torture of those who oppose the government. The report was commissioned by the UN and written by a former judge from Australia.


Some have glossed  over one of the major concerns listed in this comprehensive report. This highlighted human rights violation is the act of forced abortions.


If abortion is merely the removal of irrelevant tissue, then why is a forced abortion considered a human rights violation?


The answer is obvious.
The  United Nations commission recognizes that a forced abortion constitutes the violent death of a child brutally and bloodily extracted from a horrified mother.


Take that, international community. The United Nations has recognized the importance of the unborn child and the tragic consequences visited upon a mother who loses that child at the hands of the abortionist.


The report also contains a letter from the United Nations commission asking the Chinese government to help put pressure on North Korea to cease and desist in undertaking these horrible human rights atrocities.


The director of the commission felt that North Korea's superpower ally would be the country most likely to have some influence over Kim Jong-un, the egotistical North Korean leader.


Unfortunately, the commissioners have forgotten that China itself, with its one child per family policy, has been and continues to engage in the diabolical practice of forcing women onto the gurney at the point of a gun to  engage in their version of forced fetal executions.


Listen folks, if an organization such as the United Nations is willing to admit that abortion is a horror, then the rest of us need to rally the rest of the world to do something.


If getting mankind to stop forced abortions in North Korea becomes the first step in stopping the unprecedented destruction of pre-born life throughout the world, and I'm all for it and am willing to support the United Nations in this effort.


During World War II, humanitarians urged President Franklin Roosevelt to do everything in his power to put an end to the merciless destruction of the Jews at the hands of the godless and satanic Nazi regime.


The innocent unborn child faces the same death camp as did our Jewish brothers and sisters in the 1940s.


Are you still willing to be silent?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Wake up Lake County and the rest of the region!

Whatever happened to regionalism?


If you been studying Cuyahoga County's attempts to extend the sin tax for another 20 years, you have to conclude that regionalism has lost its sex appeal.


Back in 1990 the residents of Cuyahoga County decided that every time you buy a pack of cigarettes, you should pay an additional 4.5 cents in order to support the construction of the Indians Stadium and the Cavaliers arena. In addition, extra fees were lopped onto the purchase of beer, wine, and hard liquor. By the way, the sin tax on 1 gallon of hard liquor is a whopping three dollars.


Since its passage, $350 million has been raised for those glorious sports palaces.


The new sin tax extension will generate approximately $260 million and will be applied to the Q, Progressive Field, and FirstEnergy  Stadium, the Cleveland Browns facility being a newly added beneficiary of your smoking and drinking in Cuyahoga County.


Here's my problem.


The presence of the sports teams makes for better quality of life and helps us to attract business activity in the entire region of Northeast Ohio.


There are six counties that are contiguous to Cuyahoga County: Lake, Geauga, Medina, Portage, Summit, and Lorain.


They benefit from and use the sports facilities just as much as those  from Cuyahoga County do.


As a matter of fact, it's no secret that the lion's share of wealth in Northeast Ohio lies outside of Cuyahoga  County in the six counties I just identified where people of greater means live in luxurious housing developments far from the  crime  of the central city in Cleveland.


It's only fair that those that derive the greatest benefit from the sin tax should share in paying it.


Here's another way of restating my proposition.


Poor people and others who live in lower income areas are paying a higher cost for cigarettes and alcohol than wealthy folks who are the ones most likely to enjoy the benefits of the Browns, Cavaliers, and Indians.


Who can afford to attend these sporting events? I think you'll find that season-ticket holders and others who could buy the expensive seats,  overpriced food, and  high priced parking are people that drive in from outside of Cuyahoga County so they can entertain their families and their corporate customers.


I am urging citizens of Cuyahoga County to turn down the sin tax until the burden is shared by the entire region.


In addition,  I am telling the citizens of these six contiguous counties to step up to the plate.


Stop taking advantage of those in the lower income brackets who paid for your sports playgrounds. Go ahead and have a good time, but let's not do it completely at the expense of those who can least afford it.


Something is wrong when the Kirtland millionaire at a tribe game looks with contempt at the wino who paid for the stadium.


All I'm asking you to do is pay your fair share so that the entirety of the burden doesn't fall on Cuyahoga County residents alone.


Is that so much to ask?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

True love means sacrificial commitment

The other day I heard an amazing story.


It seems that a young man and his bride were looking forward to their wedding day which was only a few months out into the future.


The handsome young man and  beautiful young lady each had promising professional careers ahead of them. They also  looked forward to children.


One night, the bride-to-be had a terrible nightmare that caused her to jump headfirst off  the end of her bed.


She snapped her neck and within a few days she was pronounced a permanent quadriplegic.


Here's where the real miracle begins.


The bride's father had a man-to-man talk with the groom, explaining that everyone would understand if he decided to back out of the wedding.


The groom's circle of friends and family also counseled him to withdraw from his nuptials.  Well-meaning associates warned him of the struggles that lay ahead in tying the knot  with the young lady who couldn't even tie her own shoes.


This determined groom then explained  to all the definition of love. He told them that he had made a permanent commitment to the woman that he loved in a way that transcended physical limitations. There was no sacrifice he would not make for his beloved.


The wedding went forward and this dynamic couple is the very picture of marital love.  They are heroic lovers.


Then there's the couple by the name of Mary Lou and Jim Beers.  He suffered a stroke in 1971 and was  unable to move  his limbs during 37 of the 40 years of marriage.


Jim died just a few years ago but his wife's dedication to him and to their relationship is a touching tribute to the power of the human soul.


Valentine's Day will be with us in just a few days.



Does your love come from your soul instead of your loins?


Is your love truly unconditional to the point where there is no pain or inconvenience that you wouldn't endure in order to be of loving service to that one single person to whom you've made a lifetime commitment?


In our culture of oversexed and superficial relationships, the meaning of true love is rarely put on display.


Unfortunately, this frequently means that a middle-aged man feels justified in dumping his wife for a perkier model with tight buns.


All of us need to know this: when the clumps of dirt are thrown upon our casket and we watch from afar in bodiless spirit form, the scorecard for our eternal existence will show a massive accumulation of points for those that loved truly and dearly and sacrificially.


Those that have loved superficially, unwilling to put aside concern for themselves, will find that they are watching their own burial from an uncomfortably warm climate.


If you want to be a true lover, sacrifice and never abandon.


After all, it's for better or for worse, right?



Thursday, January 30, 2014

Get in line with the rest of us and smile

This incident happened  Saturday afternoon over at the Heinen's at Pine Ridge Plaza in Willoughby Hills.


The entrance to that Heinen's is like  every other grocery store,  involving an automatic  glass door.


The door is only wide enough for one person at a time.  I was  in a bit of a hurry.


In the doorway ahead of me was an elderly woman.


She was wearing a beautiful long fur coat, a bright red nylon scarf, and a  dark blue hat with some sort of black netting that came down over her eyes a little bit.


Grey hair coiffed perfectly, she was wearing makeup  very carefully applied, complete with  dark red lipstick,  mascara, and eyebrow pencil. The scent of a delicate perfume surrounded her.



In essence, I saw before me a  beautifully dressed grand dame, someone's grandmother who knew not to go out of the house unless she was decked out in a way that would make her family proud.


But she was moving very slowly.


Father time had shortened her steps while also diminishing their pace.


I had to stand in that doorway behind her for a good 90 seconds before I could get into Heinen's wonderful food emporium.


I waited.


I felt the presence of another person and looked behind me to see a gentleman wearing jeans and an Ohio State jacket also standing patiently behind me.


And a few seconds after that an additional middle-aged man joined our entranceway conga line.


All three of us were smiling and all three of us exchanged an unspoken message.


Here was that message: No matter how important our mission, it was important for us to patiently wait for that great lady to make her way into that store.


I think all three of us realized that we were witnessing not a reason to be impatient, but rather a reason to feel proud of the effort it took for this wonderful senior citizen to make her way through the snow and the cold.


Finally, in the store, I made my way to the section that featured dry roasted peanuts.


One of the three men in line behind me came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder. He told me that the little old lady who led us into the store reminded him of something his wife  told him earlier that day.


His wife reminded him to respect old people because he was merely looking at his own future. The time would come when he would hope that other folks would be patient with him as he shuffled his way through life because of the physical limitations of age.


He was right and I think that all three of us are grateful for the lesson we learned from that  woman.


God bless you, madam. May I become elderly with elegance like  you.


And may I continue to have  patience  with those that are just a bit slower and a bit wiser than the rest of us.



Thursday, January 23, 2014

Watch someone who loves well and learn

Some lessons are learned from observing others.


My mom taught all of us in our family of nine children just by letting us see the things she did.


Her life was  one act of compassion after another.


We noticed and soaked it all in.


Mom practically turned our home into a boarding house because someone needed a roof over her head.


Most of the overnight visitors were pregnant girls, thrown out of their home by a family that couldn't bear the shame of a daughter who was expecting out of wedlock. That was a pretty typical reaction for families back in the 1960s.


Mom made them feel warm, welcome,  and safe.


The real miracle of the sleepover guests was convincing my dad to go along with the idea.


Dad was set in his ways and turning our house into the Motel 6 upset his routine.


But Dad loved Mom and her desire to do good melted his heart.


In Mom's presence you felt an aura of kindness.






Which brings me to the story at hand.


It's been so cold lately that my memory pushed up to the surface recollections of one horribly cold night.


Dark and freezing, about 7 PM.


I was in the sixth grade.


At the door, three kids,  African-American, ages about ten, nine, and seven.


They were selling magazines.


Noses running.




Standing in the doorway of our stately rambling house on Fairmount Boulevard in Cleveland Heights.


Someone left them out in the winter chill for hours.


These kids were frozen and miserable.


Mom was moved.


She took them inside and made them hot cocoa.


They each had 2 cups but that's understandable because mom's hot cocoa was amazing. I've never tasted anything like it since.


After about a half hour mom was able to get some details about where they lived.


It was somewhere in a very poor neighborhood around E. 45th St. and Lexington.


She packed them into her car to drive them home.


I went along for the ride.


One of the kids talked about a brother who had been killed in an accident.


My heart broke and I was only 11 years old.


When we reached the destination,  Mom walked them to the front door.


She gave a wad of cash to the mother that greeted them.


It was a quiet ride home.


I was pondering.


Even at that young age, I wondered.


What's our obligation?


What's our role in a world filled with  poor and  hungry?


Mom had it right.


Do what you can when you can.


And if need shows up on your doorstep, God is sending you a message.


Don't close the door.


Do something.


By the way, when we got home that night I found a magazine order form. Mom ordered 15 magazines that would be delivered for the next five years.


Who knew mom liked fishing magazines.




She's gone now.


But the lessons live on.


I bet somebody in your life is teaching you lessons right now.


Your job?


Observe, learn, and love.



Thursday, January 16, 2014

Houlihan the Weatherman he ain't, but that's OK

Channel 19 Television news weatherman Jeff Tanchak is one of my favorites on the local broadcast scene here in Northeast Ohio.


His style is extremely energetic and animated. Some people have criticized him by  describing his style as sensationalistic.


These critics indicate that  Tanchak frequently delivers his weather forecast in a fashion designed to inspire fear.


These critics cynically claim that he  wants to create fear in his audience so that viewers will feel compelled to continue to watch his broadcast as a way of protecting themselves against the onslaught of some oncoming weather disaster.


They claim that  Tanchak essentially is saying the following: You better stay tuned to my broadcast, because if you fail to do so you may get wiped out by a tornado without warning.


I disagree with these naysayers that don't like Jeff Tanchak's high-volume intense delivery.


He is  a refreshing contrast with the velvet voiced blown dry pretty boy frequently chosen as a TV meteorologist because of a handsome face and dulcet tones.


That's why readers of this column should realize that when it comes to Jeff Tanchak, I am a fan.


Now that doesn't mean Jeff Tanchak doesn't go a little too far on occasion.


One of those occasions occurred two weeks ago on a Tuesday night when temperatures fell well below zero and the wind chill dropped to bizarrely low levels.


It was in fact a dangerous time for seniors and small children. Schools were closed for two days.


However, in the 10 o'clock broadcast on that Tuesday evening, Jeff Tanchak went on a brief rant.


He peered into the camera and raised his voice to a fever pitch, announcing to the audience that these super-low  temperatures made him very angry.


He wasn't angry at municipal employees failing to plow the snow. He wasn't angry at education officials that might have been too slow to close our institutions of learning.


No, believe it or not, he told the entire world that he was angry at the temperatures themselves. He was enraged that a frigid front had made its way into our land of the Western Reserve.


Now really, Jeff, are you kidding me?


You are an outstanding meteorologist and one of the very dynamic broadcasters of weather information.


But I've got to tell you, that broadcast just made you look stupid. It hurts your credibility when you act as if the weather itself has some kind of human personality at which you can direct your wrath.


The weather can't defend itself, Jeff. That's because it's not human, and is merely an expression of scientific principles that you were taught during your many years of meteorological education.


Jeff Tanchak, I'm just hoping that you experienced a brief mental lapse, as opposed to trying to increase viewership with this ridiculous approach.


You've many years of great success ahead of you.


Just do me a favor and leave mother nature alone. She isn't real and all of us just want to know what you can tell us about the weather.


OK, I feel better now.