A Dog’s Life (And Their Owners Too)

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When I first created this blog I told you I’d be writing about everyday occurrences. My first few blogs we skewed toward the political arena, but that’s not my sole purpose.

So, I thought I’d share something that happened to my wife and I this morning during our normal walk/hike. We normally walk up a place called Mt. Rubidoux, which is located near downtown Riverside, California. The mountain is a city park that was donated to the city of Riverside in 1955 by the heirs of Frank A. Miller, a very well-to-do businessman from the early 20th century who had purchased the property with two other businessmen with the intent to build a road to the summit and develop the mountain as a park to benefit the city of Riverside.

Ok, so you’ve got enough history – it’s a well liked placed that attracts many people all day long from dawn to dusk. My wife and I go to the park regularly with our two little dachshunds and we walk the 3-4 mile round-trip routes to the summit and back down.

This particular morning, as we were at the very top and beginning our walk down, a couple of young ladies came by us jogging. One of the ladies went around us, which is what most people normally do when they see you have pets with you. The second young lady thought better of this strategy, and she decided to attempt to run in between my wife and I – and our two little dogs. Our male black & tan doxie was startled by the young lady’s sudden invasion of our space, and moved quickly toward me defensively. At this point, the young lady had to skip over our doxie exposing one of her thighs to his defensive lunge. Essentially, she got bitten, and it was not a nice scenario afterwards.

The young lady became vulgar and crass, and my wife and I tried to abstain from joining in the yelling and finger pointing, but after a bit we decided to defend ourselves and countered with a few choice words of our own. All the while, everyone was speaking in terms of who was at fault for what had happened – not one of us stopped for a moment to examine the young lady to see how badly hurt she was. This is the point of my blog today.

We live in such a litigious society, that almost nothing matters except evidence that is either incriminating or exculpatory. Everything else is unimportant, including but not limited to the well being of others.

Well, all of us were at the top of this beautiful mountain, and we had no choice but to make our way down hill, so we did. In the course of our walk down, we all began to realize just how foolish we’d all behaved, and how shameful it was to have acted in the manner we did. Sometimes we lose sight of what is really important in life – the proverbial “can’t see the forest because of the trees.”

Yet, by the time we were down the hill, I had agreed to take care of the young lady’s co-pay with her doctor for her visit, while clearly stating that I didn’t really care whose fault it was to begin with. My wife also apologized to her for initially not wishing to even discuss the matter with her because she’d felt that if the young lady had acted prudently as her jogging partner had done, none of this would have happened.

That only left the 21-year old young lady who thanked us for apologizing, for the money to go see he doctor, and for the information exchange we provided, but who did not think it necessary to apologize back to us for changing what is normally one of our most pleasant times of the day into one of the most traumatic and stressful hours we’ve had in quite some time.

My wife and I arrived home and we immediately wrote down what had happened to the best of our recollection, contacted our homeowner’s Insurance carrier, and the local Animal control. All -in-all, we covered all of our bases and while doing so discovered that our homeowner’s policy covers us against dog bites up to $100,000, and the Animal control people came by and issued a quarantine for our dog, but essentially reviewed what we told them and said it wasn’t our fault. We did everything by the book – except our initial reaction.

Lou Holtz said it best, “Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react.” We screwed up our initial reaction, and although we straightened up plenty by the time we got down the hill, I certainly wish I could take back that first reaction. I also wish the young lady who was bitten would’ve also taken some responsibility for her actions and lack of judgment. I am not too quick to dismiss her behavior as that of someone being young. When I was 21 years old, I was already a Sergeant in the U.S. Army, responsible for men and millions of dollars worth of aircraft and equipment.

Lesson learned – again. Our little dog is quarantined for 10 days – albeit voluntarily reported by us – he’s in the doghouse, if you will, but then, so are we – his owners. Despite our best intentions at the end, I still can’t shake the feeling that we could’ve done so much better. I hope there’s not a next time, but if there is, I can only hope we will conduct ourselves as the  grown ups we’re supposed to be – regardless of whose “fault” it may be. Ahh, life’s little lessons…

Thank you for reading – Ed Martinez, Regular Guy.

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Hello world!

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Hi everyone!

This new blog is specifically geared toward the every day happenings, and how to try to make sense of them. A lot goes on in the world and people don’t know or understand why. Many blame men (mankind in general), while others blame a deity (usually, God), while others blame the devil.

Being an ordained Pastor, I have my own perspective on why things happen, but my insight will hopefully go beyond what some might categorize as the simplified belief in the endless battle between good and evil that is embodied in the pages of the Bible.

I prefer to look at each situation and circumstance on its own merits, rather than labeling and lumping them with any particular group. I don’t particularly thrive in diatribes, but I will occasionally get on my soapbox – and you’ll know because I will start my little rant by prefixing it with [Start Soapbox], and then once I’m done you’ll see the corresponding [Stop Soapbox].

It is my hope and desire that you come by and read my thoughts and analysis. Perhaps you’ll discover that not all those who are Christians are necessarily just “right-wing fundamentalist bigots” as we’re so often labeled. Whenever I disagree with something, you will absolutely know why – I won’t hide with something like, “Because the Bible says so…” despite the fact that this is one of my core beliefs. Be that as it may, I always believe in thoroughly explaining my position on any given situation or issue. I also believe in looking at things from both sides of the argument, thus, I will definitely encourage dissent and disagreement with my posts.

If nothing else, I hope to promote the idea that we can learn to disagree in an agreeable manner. After all, we are all from the same human race, and there is no reason why we can’t be respectful of one another when we’re in the midst of discussing a hot topic. I won’t try to push anyone’s buttons, but I will confess that sometimes that does happen. Some of my buttons will likely get pushed too. Through all of that, I only hope that we can find common ground, and common decency and respect.

Thank you for reading – Ed Martinez, Regular Guy.

The Flip Side

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Ok, so now you know how I roll with respect to conservative vs. liberal policies and politics in general. I tend to be more conservative – across the board. I don’t accept those who say, “I’m a fiscal conservative, but a liberal socially.” That’s a total cop-out and fence-walking all the way. Choose a side, and right or wrong, stick to it!

Well, now to the gist of this post: Why are so many mean-spirited graphics and pictures of the President and his wife cropping up all over the Internet? I find this to be egregious in nature. I’m especially appalled at the treatment Michelle Obama, who is our First Lady, is receiving.

Again, I’m gonna ask why? I would post links to the offensive graphics, but that would only serve to perpetuate their spread across the Web, and I refuse to do that. I’m gonna take a step out on a limb here and ask for something simple: can we be civilized again? Our country was once the greatest country in the world because we had certain things going for us. One of these was our self-respect as a people, coupled with our honesty, hard work, and respect for our fellow man (that includes women too).

So, how about it? Can we drop all the childish bull&@#$&!$@!(*& and start behaving like adults who live in a great country? Let’s have some respect for the President and his family. I’m not saying you have to like him or his policies. In fact, I strongly urge you to disagree if you so feel the need, but come on – how about the attacks on Michelle? Are these really necessary? By all accounts, she’s made some mistakes, but I’m not privy to their entire lives and since I don’t know all of the information behind what’s happened, who am I to judge.

I do understand that in many instances, Michelle Obama’s heart is in the right place. Everyone complains about her spending and vacations, but why isn’t anyone speaking about her PSAs (Public Service Announcement) designed to help others? She famously did one for Haiti, and she also did one that talked against child obesity in America. Most near and dear to my heart are Veteran’s causes, and she also spearheaded the joiningforces.gov initiative and Web site with Jill Biden, the VP’s wife.

The bottom line is we are supposed to be better than this. Let’s disagree, but do it respectfully, and without all the edginess that has crept into our society over the last 25 years. Since when did a dislike for a particular party or politician have to be so malicious to turn perhaps into hate?

I constantly pray to God that the day never comes when any harm befalls the President or his family. That would be the epitome of the downfall of America as a great nation. Make it your prayer as well, irrespective of which way you lean politically, and whomever you plan to vote for in November. Deal?

Thank you for reading – Ed Martinez, Regular Guy.

Todd Akin – What a Mess!

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Well, here we go again. Another politician speaks up and sticks his foot in his mouth. No, it wasn’t Joe Biden, nor was it George W. Bush. Who was it? Todd Akin (William Todd Akin), who is the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s 2nd congressional district, serving since 2001, and as you already know, a member of the Republican Party.

Now, I want to put a few thoughts out there real quick. For starters, it is unquestionable that Mr. Akin absolutely misspoke. He’s 65 years old, and he ought to know better than to speak about something that was neither a topic of discussion nor a core or elective curriculum course at neither of his alma maters: Worcester Polytechnic Institute, or Covenant Theological Seminary.

What is in question is why is this getting SO MUCH media attention. When the Vice President of the United States of America, a man who is literally a heart beat away from being the leader of the free world, said “they goin’ to put y’alll back in chains” last week during a Virgina rally of hundreds of African Americans, there was almost no hipe. In fact, much of the Vice President’s tenure has been littered with comments that would normally cause the “gaffe police” in most media outlets to come running – but they don’t when it’s the VP.

Taken one step further, whenever a non-republican has said or done something crass, stupid, immoral, and in some cases, illegal, they are almost NEVER asked to step down. When it is a Republican, it almost always ends up in a standing/stepping down or resignation. Case in point – famously or infamously, Nixon screwed up and resigned before he was impeached. The media demanded it. On the other hand, Clinton screwed around, lied about it – a SITTING PRESIDENT – and he was impeached, but did not resign, and the media did not call for his resignation.

Is there a double standard? Mr. Akin has apologized profusely for his poor choice of words, however, this is NOT good enough. Even some in his own party, hoping to avert the perceived fallout, has begun to call for him to step down. That’s a nice day’s worth of work for the President, especially when he can get the opposing party to do his work for him.

I don’t believe Mr. Akin really meant to denigrate women – he’s guilty of citing information that is (a) unpopular, and (b) not easily quotable without causing a stir. In fact, some of the things that Mr. Akin said in a clumsy way are actually true – for example, pregnancies due to forcible rape are extremely rare. This is a statistical and scientific fact. You wouldn’t know it from listening to media reports, though, because they’re not interested in “discovering” those kinds of facts now are they.

Ok, so let’s take a look at it from the perspective of women, who are the only truly offended party here. What do women really have to say about it? I’d like to know. I’d also like to know if anyone has done any research on Mr. Akin’s comments at all. If you have, then please answer the poll below – but please don’t if you haven’t. I would really like your opinions to be fair and based on your own leg work. We’re Americans; let’s not be lazy about the search for truth, Ok?

Great! Here’s the poll:

Thank you for reading – Ed Martinez, Regular Guy.