A random look at the life and times of Jim Rising recovering radio addict and newspaper columnist.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I was going to write a nice warm and fuzzy column for today. After all it is Christmas Eve. I was going to talk about the glories of Christmases long, long ago because it is the most wonderful time of the year. I really wanted to tug at your heartstrings and write about chestnuts and wassailing, what ever that is.
But then I heard about the kitties. And I saw the pictures of the kitties. And I began to wonder if there are indeed any “ better angels of our nature” as Lincoln said 147 years ago.
There isn’t much that shocks me anymore. Reading the paper and watching and listening to the news on a regular basis has thoroughly tamped down my shock mechanism. When you live in a world where a Mommy can put a newborn outside in sub zero weather you begin to get a bit jaded. At least I do.
But the kitties got to me. The pictures set the hook. Little kitties with their ears sagging under the weight of so called “bananabells” is just plain wrong. Ever see pictures of dogs dressed up for Halloween? They all have this expression in their eyes that seems to say “Why are you doing this to me? I feel ridiculous.” Looking at the kitties they seem to be saying “This is wrong. Take this crap off me!”
You see, the kitties had no say in the matter. And that’s what really is wrong.
I know they are just dumb animals. But they do have the ability to learn ( can they think?) and feel pain. And we as their caretakers have a responsibility to do right by them. A responsibility not to make them into “Gothic Kittens.”
I am going to make a ridiculous comparison. In some of the less than civilized parts of the world a practice called Female Genital Mutilation is done to young girls, presumably without their consent. I don’t think I need or want to go into the details. I know, I know, to compare that to the mutilations of kitties is a far stretch even for me. I do think, however you can tell a great deal about a society by the way it treats it’s pets, not to mention it’s young girls. It’s just a quick slide down the slippery slope to hell that lives in my mind to get there. I said it was a ridiculous comparison. But it happens every day.
One of the kitties was advertised as a gothic cat under the name “Snarley Monster” on various on-line sites.
I think we know who the real monsters are. Or then again I could be wrong.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


He had been barking all night. I have trouble sleeping sometimes and this was one of those nights. It was the day after the big ice storm. Everything had been covered in a film of black ice. Walking anywhere on the Rising Ranch was next to impossible. A trip from the house to the garage was life threatening. A gymnast would have been envious of my moves as I got my feet above my head twice. Haven’t done that since kindergarten. But this was the next day. I rise early. It could be the name. It could be that I have to be at the gym for 5am. I am the first guy there. I like to arrive a little early. I get up at 4am most days but day after ice storm days I get up at around 3:30. I wasn’t asleep anyway. The dog had kept me up. The ice was mostly gone but now it was raining. Hard. And it was cold. The dog seemed to be barking more frantically now. Dogs can communicate a lot with a bark. This one was saying very plainly, “Help!” It sounded close. Real close.

I grabbed a five cell flashlight. Cops call them emergency nightsticks. Walking was a nightmare. It’s uneven ground and was soaking wet and slippery. Mud tried to suck my boots off. I could see the dog on the other side of our fence thru the privacy slats. Technically it was on the annoying neighbor’s property but it wasn’t his dog. Its eyes shone dull red in the flashlights beam. I had to walk to the end of the fence and back up again. Did I mention the cold hard rain? I got a look at the animal thru the rain from about five feet away. It was a big white dog, could have been an Airedale or a large standard poodle. It was stuck somehow. I got a little closer and it snapped and growled at me. This was above my pay grade.

Back at the house on with 911 they promised to “send” someone.

By the time I had to go no show. After an hour I checked in with the Long Suffering Wife and still no joy. This time the 911 call connected me to the State Police who took the info. And someone came for the dog.

He probably wouldn’t have made it much longer. It was just below freezing and he was in some distress.

Later on I got calls from the ASPCA and the Dog warden. Did I report a lost dog? This was hours later. Glad it wasn’t my dog. Or me. But then again I could be wrong.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A bit of undigested Roast Beef....

Charles Dickens wrote the following exchange between Ebenezer Scrooge and two charity workers for his Christmas Carol 164 years ago. With apologies to Mr. Dickens I have taken the liberty of updating it somewhat for this festive season that doth approacheth. Wow-that’s a Dickens type word. Easy to fall into his pattern. 16 days till Christmas, gentle readers.

"At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge," said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, the horseless carriage makers, the lenders and the ninny’s who play the stock market and who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of huge bailouts; hundreds of thousands are in want of big government bucks, air."

"Are there no prisons?"

"Plenty of prisons. But OJ is already going to serve at least nine years. And even as we speak our Great President Bush is busy pardoning many a white collar criminal. The prisons are no place for the rich Mr. Scrooge. The very thought of placing the leaders of the financial free world in prisons. It makes one shudder. Haven’t you ever heard the words of the great bard Dylan?”

“Dylan Thomas?”

“Um no. Bob, not Thomas my good sir. In any case you and Dickens will be long dead before either of them are born. But I speak of the Dylan who sang “Steal a little and they throw you in jail, Steal a lot and they make you king.”

“What shall I put you down for?"


"You wish to be anonymous?"

"I wish to be left alone. Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas, and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the prisons and the workhouses, -- they cost enough, -- and those who are badly off must go there. So send the big three horseless carriage makers, Ford CEO Alan Mulally, General Motors CEO Richard Wagoner and Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli to the end of the unemployment line. "

"Many can't go there; and many would rather die."

"If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

Of course we all know how the story comes out. Scrooge is confronted by three ghosts and has his attitude readjusted. Unfortunately for us a little attitude adjustment isn’t going to solve our current economic disaster. The Bob Cratchit’s of the current bona-fide recession won’t be helped even if Scrooge buys them the biggest turkey he can find. It’s gonna be a long cold lonely winter. Or then again, I could be wrong.