by R.L. Furse
Dogs weigh-in on heated team mascot name debate PDF E-mail

It appears the National Football League is in a hubbub over the Washington Redskins proceeding through this season being called “The Redskins.” One protesting Minnesota Viking fan is organizing a boycott of the game between the Vikings and the Redskins.

The betterhalf and I have talked about the subject and quite frankly have no problem with a team called the Redskins anymore than we put the tag of the Vikings 11, or the Oakland Raiders, baseball’s Angels, Braves and Pirates. As we discussed the issue we looked back to our high school days when our alma mater was tagged the “Blue Devils.” Both of us chuckled and wondered just how much longer our old Blue Devils could still play in high school sports without a protest.

From the corner of our room and the comfort of her cushion on the couch came a whimper of protest about team names. Our dog Missy barked her own entry into the conversation questioning how long our community would be able to call the Aurora sports teams, “The Huskies.”

Missy contended the name “Huskies” reflected a breed that was neglected by owners who overworked dogs in cold weather; underfed them; and made them sleep outside in cold weather. “It was slavery and we should not remind people of those circumstances and abuse,” she barked. There are other positive breeds that could be used for sports teams, she contended.

We thought that would be the end of our in-home debate, but Missy took her protest to the animal shelter the next morning where she confronted the doggone occupants.

Immediately the subject was brought up to Chocolate Labrador Moose and black Labs Buba and Abby. They all agreed with her and reached a consensus that a sports team should be named the “Labs.”’

“Now wait a minute,” came a bark from kennel No.12 where Peanut, the Chihuahua, was housed. “You can’t call a team the ‘Labs’ because that gives too much credit to the Newfoundlanders. They supposedly inherited the breed from the Portuguese. It is possible even earlier the breed landed at Newfoundland via Norse explorers who should get original credit along with the English who later developed the breed into the retrievers we know today. And besides, I think the team should be named, ‘Chi Wa Was.’ Just think how cheerleaders could trigger fan support with rhythmic cheers utilizing such a catchy name.”

Boy . . . did that comment stir up a bunch of barking  at the kennel! Immediately growling comments were barked about a racist name that reflects a nationality, the physical size of team because the name Chi Wa Wa insinuates small and lack of competiveness because of  its light weight or short height.

Later when we left the kennel the debate appeared to still be going on and just as on the human side, the debate will continue. Our bet is the “Blue Devils” and “Huskies” will still be the tag of our teams for many more years to come. The Redskins and Blue Devils can fight their own battles.

RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

EPA, head gear hard to keep straight these days PDF E-mail

Our government agencies do some things that are hard for me to understand. Recently the Environmental Protection Agency attempted to put the clamps on giving federal military surplus vehicles such as water tankers, trucks and other motorized equipment that could be used for fire fighting to local fire departments throughout the United States.

The generous program was slowed for a few days when the EPA objected saying those surplus vehicles didn’t meet today’s minimum emission standards.

It’s puzzling to me why anyone would be concerned about the minimal exhaust emission from a water tanker truck while at the same time a vast amount of smoke is raising into the atmosphere from the field fires, forest fires, and building fires those fire fighters battle to subside.

It appears the EPA must have turned their heads the other way when those vehicles were being used by our servicemen.
Times are changing and it was no more evident when we walked through the entryway of a hospital and an older gent reached up and tipped his felt hat to my betterhalf. First of all, the broad-rimmed felt hat is somewhat of an oddity these days and is even hard to find in thrift shops and used clothing stores. Secondly, the politeness of a gentleman tipping his hat is more than infrequent – it’s a rarity and maybe not ever witnessed by our younger generations

Today billed caps with logos and the narrow brimmed derby seem to be the most popular head gear. A felt hat seen squared on the head is no more and a billed cap to us oldsters appears to be worn in any position except with the bill protruding over the nose. The bill is either cocked sideways over the ears, or covering the nape of the neck.

As far as politeness is concerned, hats are worn indoors or outdoors and I assume in some cases even to bed. Hats or caps are commonly seen at the dinner table . . . except in the household of my mother or mother-in-law.

Our sons can attest to the fact no cap stayed on the head of any individual who ate at grandma’s table. Come to the table with a cap on and you’ll soon find a quick smack on the back of the head and see your cap flying across the room. And it only took no more than one swat to get her “what’s proper” message across.

Each year the dictionary and the game of Scrabble add new words. I grabbed my dictionary to find the formal definition of hat and cap. Hat is described as a “head garment, esp. a formal one.” Cap is described as a “soft, close-fitting hat.” After reading that, I couldn’t help but wonder when the word “hat” will cease to appear on a page of the dictionary, or for that matter, on the head of a man.

RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

New generation taking reins of Aurora’s vision PDF E-mail

As I cleaned out drawers of my filing cabinet I came across some community planning projects for future decades. I guess I could call it a wish list, or vision, formulated by Aurora Development Corporation members for the future of our community. Many of the members are now deceased but their dreams have been fulfilled thanks to the next generation that has stepped to the plate to turn them into a reality. What struck me was the foresight of those “old-time” individuals who recognized the importance of grooming the next and future generations to continue turning into realities their past dreams of the keys for a progressive community.

I looked through several reports covering a few decades that pointed to dreams for the future of our community. School expansion, an aquatic water park, improved infrastructure for the square, filling of existing and future growth of industrial sites, technology development, recreational development and creating new housing and the recruitment of young families to return or move to our community. Many of those goals have happened and many more are on the plate or in the planning stages.

But, what is interesting is the fact previous generations have groomed the next generation to fulfill those dreams of our past generations. I guess you could call it, where a younger group of community leaders has picked up the ball and ran with it. To them, we oldsters are indebted and have found great satisfaction in the enthusiasm they have for making our community better. That younger generation’s efforts have been displayed in the past few years by such projects as private individual and foundation fund raising for new turf surfacing for the Aurora football field, the new Streeter Park ball diamonds and of course the new aquatic park. However, all efforts have not been centered only on recreation. Earlier efforts created more housing developments, a technology park, growth and development to and at the I-80 interchange and a host of infrastructure changes facilitating other growth throughout our community.

I found it interesting a New Mexico state senator said it best relative to what has been taking place over the decades in our community.  She said she liked to witness aggressive leadership.

“Pick a project, move forward, get everyone on board and keep going. At the same time you have to know when it’s time to step down. Once I was walking outside and saw some sandhill cranes migrating through the watershed of the Rio Grande. They fly in a V-shape. I asked one of my biologist friends, ‘How do they pick their leaders?’ He said, ‘The headwinds are too strong for any one of them to stay in that front position for very long, so they rotate.’” So I thought, “Boy, are they smart.”

As for me, I would hope we all remember when contentment enters, progress ceases and if we all did no more than we had to, life would come to a standstill tomorrow.

And we should also remember progress doesn’t happen instantly. Once a patient while in the dentist’s chair complained that wasn’t the tooth he wanted pulled. The dentist said, “Calm yourself, I’m coming to it!”

Progress doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a continual effort  ...  decade after decade and generation after generation.

RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

Which are better for reading: Old books or new one’s PDF E-mail

It’s no secret, particularly to the Aurora Library staff, that my betterhalf is an avid reader. She reads her books the old fashioned way turning paper page after paper page, or she goes tech on me and keeps her nose in her Kindle.

Recently I caught her at the computer and asked her what she was doing. She told me she was updating her list of  “must read books” by adding those new issues to her list that still contained, I assume, the top 10’s of 2012. Then betterhalf told me she liked to read the most recently published books rather than the “old” ones. Her last statement puzzled me. But, that was nothing new. A lot of her statements over the years have puzzled me.

In my mind the question still remained, “Why would it make any difference when a book was published for a woman or anyone for that matter, who enjoys reading?”
The betterhalf claimed book authors seem to progressively write better novels thus making his latest book the best. As she broke into her reading theory, the betterhalf’s real reason actually came to the surface. Her reading centers mostly on mysteries she noted and after she has read several of the author’s books, she can figure out the “who dunnit” in his latest novel before she reads the last page.

Now it was my turn to point out to her I like to read new and older books. In fact, I have a shelf loaded with old books from my grandfather’s era and those books as well as old classics have provided me with some pretty good reading. I’ve had many hours of pleasure reading books by Mark Twain, Kipling, O’Henry and other noted authors. However, real pleasure came from a 1908 book, “Trail of the Lonesome Pine” and “When a Man’s a Man”  published in 1916. Well, you can understand how much that impressed her after I rattled off those titles.

I should have known she was going to make her final point in support of her new book over old book debate. I should have also known it would be a zinger.

The betterhalf smiled, looked me in the eye and then said, “After you criticized me over old vs new, just which would you rather read, today’s newspaper, or yesterday’s?”
An Aurora alum recently told me of her disappointment because many of her former classmates who lived in the area did not attend the banquet or her class festivities. This seems to be a common issue among alums throughout the nation and appears to have gotten worse in recent years.

I thought about the problem and I wonder if the problem has been compounded by the age of technology. Could it be the fact that today people use Facebook, Twitter and smartphone connections so frequently they have nothing more to visit about at a class reunion?

RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

Foot race no contest between old man, dog PDF E-mail

A simple task of walking dogs at the Aurora Adopt-A-Pet animal shelter can become more complex than we expected when signing up as volunteers several years ago. At the time, we told our bosses we wanted a job with little responsibility, but were willing to join the staff of  approximately 20-plus volunteers who daily feed animals, clean kennels, give medications, arrange adoptions and do the paperwork required for admitting/releasing animals at the shelter.

In an effort to give a helping hand we sometimes take on an extra duty or two. Generally our effort accomplishes nothing more than giving us the message we’re getting too old to handle some of those serious responsibilities. That was the case with a little Chihuahua the betterhalf called, “Peanuts” and carries her official name “Blanca.”

Peanuts had appeared to be losing some weight and I wasn’t familiar with a six-pound mini-size canine’s normal weight. Thus, Peanuts and I headed out searching for expert advice from a longtime Chihuahua owner who I knew would be hosting a coffee for friends in the back of his former insurance building just off the square. Upon arrival at the location, we stepped from the car when the leashed Peanuts immediately leaped off my lap; shook off her chain; and sped up the street. Folks, you’re too old when my striding four-foot legs fail to catch up with a Chihuahua with a five inch leg stride. The chase was on.

Momentarily I was in hot pursuit for a matter of 10 yards. By the time we rounded the first corner, Peanuts had stretch her lead to a quarter of a block. As I ran across the street a car made a sudden stop. At first I thought the driver and passengers were going to help me in this hot pursuit. I looked back moments later and while I am still uncertain, it appeared the driver and occupants were laughing with no plans for pursuit. Although I wasn’t in a laughing mood, the chase had to be a real laughter for any witnesses.

I don’t know the real age of Peanuts, but I would guess she was in dog years around 40. Her age was evident when she reached the post office corner and decided to take a “break” on a lawn. I didn’t need a “lawn break” to have my body tell me I was an old man. With what I thought might be my last breath, I staggered up and nabbed Peanuts. The chase was over. Yes, it was found Peanuts was a little underweight, but  her energy seems unaffected by lack of fat.

I mentioned earlier the betterhalf and I have volunteered at the shelter for several years. Now it appears even that news has gotten around our community’s canine citizens (licensed and those undocumented canines from nearby counties who have crossed over into Hamilton County). This past week our neighbor called to tell us there were two black labs resting on our driveway. The dogs appeared to have been attracted to the cool concrete after a day of freedom on the golf course and other points in Aurora. We took them to the pound where they were watered, fed and later claimed by the owner. We certainly hope this incident is not an indication of wandering dogs knowing where we live and are expecting amnesty and no punishment from their owners. Wait a minute! Haven’t we witnessed something similar to this on our human side?

RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

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