paws of devotion

November 26, 2010

We humans think we are pretty smart. We create new technology; minimize our impact on our planet; buy local; feed the hungry; give money to a stranger; make safer vehicles.

But we don’t know it all, yet.

Everything around us can teach us something, if we let it. Including animals.

Any pet owner will attest to his/her pet’s undying loyalty.

My 11-year-old Schnauzer would take a bullet for me and my family, I’m sure of it.

But it’s not just loyalty to their human owners that makes them so worthy of praise but also their loyalty to each other. Even those outside of their kind.

I witnessed this intense connection once, between a Doberman and a tabby cat.

Simon the cat was displaying signs of increasing illness over the course of a few days. I could hear his meows of discomfort before I even entered his home for my daily pet-care visits.

Doby, the intimidating yet lovable Doberman, always met me at the door, thrilled to see a human face and even more ecstatic when we hit the pavement for a brisk walk.

As Simon’s pain continued, we decided to visit the vet.

Doby watched us go out the front door, Simon curled in my arms.

I can only imagine his mind confusedly wondering where his pal was headed. As I returned to the house, visit after visit, each time without Simon, Doby became increasingly agitated. And with me being the last one he saw with his missing buddy, he began to view me as less of a friend and more of a traitor.

Doby made his distaste clear by regularly tackling me during my visits. His agile body and powerful paws landing on my back–and sometimes my front–though with no intention of hurting me, I know. If he wanted to harm me, I had determined, there wasn’t much standing in his way. No, he was simply protesting his feelings in the only way he knew how.

I couldn’t tell him that Simon was not coming home, nor did I want to. This was something he would have to realize on his own. And if it meant I had to endure a few powerful pounces from a heavy-hearted, 80-pound wrestler, I was resolved to take it.

Doby’s affection for and loyalty to Simon ran deep and was not quickly tossed aside.

I can only hope that my bonds of friendship and family hold so tightly. How much happier the world would be if we all lived like Doby.


the tale of the moneymakers

November 25, 2010

Let’s admit it. Nothing anyone says is original anymore. “There is nothing new under the sun,” as the old addage goes.

Tired storylines are recycled again and again. (The farther I go back in my search for good movies, the more I find that to be true.) Hair and clothing styles of earlier decades return for seconds. Musical arrangements and beats fade in and out of popularity.

Yes, barring the constant progression and innovation of science and technology, even the general human being finds him/herself at a loss for an original thought many times.

And yet, what I find most astounding is how any person of seeming prominence can utter a commonplace statement, such as I really appreciate that the grass is green, and the whole world stops and stares. It could be, I suppose, that everyone is gaping in amazement at this person’s ability to put together a complete sentence. Or maybe they are thinking, Wow, I never thought about that! Either way, the fact remains that the statement couldn’t be less imaginative; I’m sure the homeless people who spend their summer evenings sprawled out on the lawn have shared similar sentiments. As have the retirees admiring the landscape as they fly in from a weekend with the grandchildren. But, being that the person saying it brings in $50 million a year or “has the voice of an angel,” nothing they say is ever questioned.

Garth Brooks commented on a talk show that he talked to his daughters about boys recently. Oh, hold on. Take a breath here, Garth, while your host and audience share a rip-roaring laugh. Because who in the world ever knew that celebrities talk to their kids? And about boys?! I mean, that’s so average.

Once the talk show host recovered from her starstruck astonishment, Garth proceeded to take us word-by-word through his conversation. And there wasn’t a breath to be heard in all the studio.

Please, let me hear Garth’s girl-power statements about being true to yourself and not giving it up. Because, after all, this is completely new information.

And he certainly is an authority on the matter. I mean, he’s a musician.

My inevitable conclusion: Maybe when the world stops treating celebrities, and anyone touting an over-seven-figure income, as if they are gods, then they will be forced to use their brains.


November 16, 2010

We all define ourselves by titles. There’s the obvious ones: male, female, tall, short, black, white. For the most part, these characteristics can’t be changed. (Although, some people would debate that . . . )

But add to those the extra titles we use throughout the day–democrat, architect, educated, author, fashionista, zealot, caffeine addict, health nut, early riser.

We use these words to define ourselves or in one or two words to create an image of who we are. But can one word do that? I sure don’t want to think that my whole person can be described in one word.

For some, these titles may be used somewhat subconsciously to excuse their conduct or to provide an answer for it. As if acknowledging their outspokenness or stubbornness makes it more acceptable.

So, which is better? Acknowledging our shortcomings and making peace with them in an effort to accept ourselves, or turning a blind eye to them altogether? Well, neither particularly encourages growth and change. And humans have an astounding ability to move forward. So I choose neither: instead, I will recognize both my strengths and shortcomings but not accept that I can’t improve. I will fight stagnancy. After all, sitting still was never my forte. And going backwards, well that’s just nonsense.

Oh Oprah

November 5, 2010

Variety is the spice of life. If I don’t vary my writing topics, what kind of journalist would I be?

I know this. And I try. Really, I do.

My rantings about the current landscape of television sludge, the absolute chaos that makes up the celebrity world and our society’s obsession with beanpole women–I try to keep these to a minimum. There’s an enormously vast landscape of information still to uncover, and yet I find my struggle to be somewhat in vain.

I make every effort to look the other way, to ignore the stupidity, to focus on the bigger picture. And then I make one false step. I turn the TV on for five minutes, shielding my eyes (and ears) as I quickly flip to a station airing a “personally approved” show with actual entertainment value. But, alas, it seems I am never quick enough.

Today, it was the Oprah Winfrey Show.

I think this personage tops the list of people in need of a reality check.

Maybe after 24 years on television and with the level of fame she’s received, her reality has become a tad skewed. Because, what viewers, in their right mind, willingly submit to an hour of blatant home videos of Oprah and Gayle what’s-her-name attempting to camp? (Really realistic, might I add. That whole roughing-it, surviving-on-your-own storyline. Yeah, that survival element kinda disapates with the appearance of the camera crew and the invisible assistant who we know is waiting on the sidelines with a bottle of water and a masseuse.)

Does fame make a person that delusional? I guess the difference is that most celebrities, while knowing that people will watch whatever crap they put out on the tube, do not have the easy access to do it. Oprah, however, does in fact rule the world. Her 80 million delirious fans will tell you that.

I keep dreading the inevitable–which is, if I ever want to really understand her appeal, I must do the unthinkable. Watch her show. I have tried before and almost made it through a full hour, but my nausea got the better of me. I fear I will continue to roam the earth without the life-changing understanding of Oprah’s powers.

Fortunately for me, her reign has about ended. But you can bet, before it’s all over, her audience members will traipse off with new homes, Africa will be cured of AIDS and poverty will be a thing of the past.

At least, that’s what her female army expects.

malleable trick-or-treaters

November 1, 2010

It just isn’t Halloween without a few smashed pumpkins in the street.

Two grown adults walked into a Starbucks days before Halloween dressed as a mummy and a grim reaper. Children lined the streets of Brookside and downtown Tulsa on Saturday as ballerinas and devils in order to hear “Awwww how sweet” and to add to their cavities. Maybe Tulsa should host more events featuring free candy and decorated children. That should give a boost to our downtown.

After all, Halloween is just about make believe and fun.

So says the witch hanging from a rope next door and the gravestones and skeletons haunting the yards one street over. It’s natural to feel fearful and repulsed by these images. Observe any child going through their first Halloween. It’s the much wiser, celebrating adults that say it’s normal. Torture, hauntings, murder, glorification of death. And I’m weird if I don’t like these things?

Remind me again, why do we smash pumpkins and vandalize on this ancient holiday? Is it our way of rebelling against societal norms in a “safe,” non-illegal way? Do children find it thrilling? Is it their first act of vandalism on their way to a life of law obstruction?

Yes, Halloween obviously is a very harmless day of celebration. Don’t worry about the meaning behind the day or the images glorified by celebrities, religion, the average Joe down the street.

There’s nothing creepy about children and adults garnishing knives, dripping blood–er, I mean, ketchup, wearing demon masks, pretending to be zombies.

On any other day of the year, we would hear, “Hide the children!,” but on this special day they say, “Bring on the impressionable kiddos.”