Zeke Of The Rescue Dogs

I rooted for former OSU running back Ezekiel Elliott as he tore through the Big Ten, I cheered as he gashed Wisconsin and Alabama with long, soul-crushing runs, and I chanted “Zeke, Zeke” as he ran for multiple scores to secure Ohio State’s national championship win against Oregon.

1476732655-ns_17zekespca05spBut now I like him even more.

Elliott, who was the first-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys this year, has been tearing it up in the NFL, too.  But the story that really caught my eye was this one, about Elliott making a big donation to help Texans adopt rescue dogs from the SPCA of Texas shelter.  It turns out that Zeke is a big-time dog lover — big enough to contribute $10,000 to the SCPA, propose an event that would encourage families to take a dog that wants a home, and then personally show up to escort the dogs to their adopted families and give them a special treat.

Zeke’s got the right idea.  I wish more people would look at adopting rescue dogs.  My brother-in-law is a dog lover who always gets his dogs from the animal shelter, and he’s right about that.  Our current dog Kasey was a rescue dog, and she’s been a terrific addition to our family.

Rescue dogs don’t deserve to be penned up in a kennel and run the risk of being put down because of space issues.  They deserve a home, and people who adopt them might end up getting a really great dog, as we did.  As Russell points out, many purebred dogs have health problems — that’s often a by-product of the inbreeding — whereas mutts usually don’t.  But the mutts are dogs just the same, and happy to hang with people and share their hearths and homes.

As I said, Zeke’s got the right idea.  If you’re looking for a dog, won’t you look first at the local animal shelter or SPCA facility?

Still Reelin’ And Rockin’

Chuck Berry turned 90 this week.  Perhaps fittingly, one of rock and roll’s few surviving pioneers will be releasing an album of new songs next year.

chuck-berry-duck-walk-hd-wallpaper-1Many people helped American music take an abrupt turn in the early ’50s, from the big band/crooner/torch singer sound to the chaotic rhythms of rock and roll, but Chuck Berry was foremost among them.  Berry helped to define the genre in two key ways — in writing about fast cars, music, and girls, and in producing a guitar-focused sound that made everyone want to move their feet and strum the air.  More than 60 years later, the riffs he produced on Maybelline and Johnny B. Goode remain some of the greatest ever recorded.  And Berry’s showmanship on stage, including his trademark duck walk, helped to define what live rock music should be, too.

When Elvis Presley died almost 40 years ago, I was working for the Ohio State Lantern, which ran a headline referring to Presley, as many did, as the King of Rock and Roll.  Our faculty advisor, Tom Wilson, emerged from his office to vigorously object to that headline, because he thought that title could only be given to Chuck Berry.  Some people in the newsroom argued with Mr. Wilson, but not me.  He was absolutely right.  And Berry’s recordings remain as fresh and catchy today, and as ready to convert a young person to the world of rock and roll, as they were when they first hit the disk jockeys’ turntables so long ago.

One other thing:  it’s nice to be able to write about a music legend who has lived to a ripe old age.  Rock music takes its toll, and many of its best have been felled by drug overdoses, plane crashes, or violent death.  Chuck Berry duck-walked right on past all of that, with his wife of 68 years, Themetta, there beside him.  Two of their children are part of the band that has recorded the new album, too.