2009.04.08 Talking bears, flying Bullfrogs

Written by David Green.


When I heard my wife running up the stairs and into the bedroom, I knew why she was there. I figured she must have heard an odd noise and I knew where it came from.

I had just awakened from a dream. In the dream, I was lying on the basement stairs in our old house on Cawley Road where I grew up.

I no longer remember what was in the basement, but I was in a very familiar situation. It’s one I’ve experienced many times in dreamland—so many times that it seems as though I must have lived it in conscious life, too.

It feels like a heavy weight is pressing down on me and I can barely move. I want to stand up or at least crawl up the stairs to get away, but I can’t.

I try to speak and my voice doesn’t work, either. It comes out like a.…

I’ll let my wife describe it.

“Are you all right?” she asked after quietly standing over me for a few moments. It must have been 1:30 in the morning.

“It sounded like a bear trying to talk.”

As soon as I heard her on the stairs, I knew that my inner bear was growling out loud. It’s sort of like when you put your finger on the turntable (I’m writing for older people here, those who know vinyl on a turntable) and slow down the record. The voice comes out s-l-o-o-o-w and strange. In the dream, you can actually feel it dragging out slowly. I really hate that feeling.


Last week I received a phone call from a man named Lee Robinson. I remembered that name. I don’t know how many years it’s been since I’ve seen Lee—many, many years—but he was calling because of a printing job that I was preparing.

When we finished business, I told him that I remembered the time that I walked out the front door of the place where he works in Wauseon and saw him wiping something on his windshield. He told me it was Rain-X and said you don’t even have to use your windshield wipers with this stuff. The water just runs right off.

That day probably occurred in the mid-1980s and I guess it must have made quite an impression on me. Perhaps 25 years have passed since that Rain-X day.

When I mentioned this incident to Lee last week, he asked if I was still using the stuff and I had to tell him that I never even started. I should have asked him if he was still using it.

I went to the Rain-X website a few minutes ago and I was soon wondering if Lee overstated the wonders of the product. If rain just runs right off the windshield, then why is the featured product a windshield wiper?

The company still sells Rain-X Original (“watch raindrops fly off your windshield,” just like Lee said), but the main item on the opening web page is the Rain-X Latitude Contoured Beam Wiper Blade.

I suppose you still need a good blade to wash a dirty window when it isn’t raining.

According to the locator tool, I can buy the blade in two locations in Wauseon or five in Adrian. Adrian, it says, is only 14.1 miles away. That must be as the bullfrog flies.


Ground-breaking research from the United Kingdom shows that dogs do, in fact, resemble their owners.

Dr. Workman from Bath Spa University showed volunteers a portfolio of dog owners and asked whether they owned a labrador, a poodle or a bull terrier. They got the answer right twice as often as would be expected by chance.

The big tough guy tends to own a big tough dog. Based on my Observer office window research, that’s not too surprising. I’d go along with that finding to some extent.

Dr. Workman also studied whether or not a link existed between a dog’s personality and its owner’s personality. No such thing. Volunteers expected pit bull owners to be a little stupid and labrador owners to be nice, but that didn’t hold up.

Dr. Workman’s conclusion: You shouldn’t judge people by their dog. Certainly not; give the mutts a break.

My thoughts turn to school mascots and the personality of the team. Bulldogs and eagles and...flying bullfrogs and such.

As I drove to the printer last week to pick up my papers, I asked myself, “Was I suppose to put ‘April Fools’ at the end of that story?”

No, no, no, one reader told me. That would be like having the answers to the crossword puzzle in front of you, right side up.

OK, so I’ll say it now: April Fools.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016