Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Mascots Behind the Mascot

During my six years of service as official mascot for Butler University, there have always been a few mascots behind the mascot. And no, I’m not talking about Hink and all of those other human-in-suit varieties running around Hinkle Fieldhouse on “Mascot Day.”

I’m talking a couple of feline counterparts that claim campus shrubbery as home and taunt me with kitty kibble, lightning quick reflexes and strange scents.

Yep, it’s true; when I’m not on campus at night, there are a couple of cats that seem to watch over the place for me. So, I consider them pseudo-mascots, if you will. They are certainly less visible and sociable than yours truly, but they’re holding it down at 46th and Sunset nonetheless.

If you exit Jordan Hall toward the north, turn right, and walk due east to a point that intersects with a point coming from the other way if you were to walk west out of Irwin Library, turn right and head directly north; then you've found the natural cat campus habitat. That probably doesn’t make any sense, but suffice to say at the northeast corner of the mall, there is a corner of shrubbery, pine trees and grasses that have made for nice landscaping and a feral kitty cat safe-haven.

Look a little closer into the deep line of bushes and you’ll see a bowl or two, often spilling over with cat food kibble and other remnants of kitting living. Rarely do I look in and see a cat, but I have spotted at least two of them; an all black cat and a black and white cat. There may be more, but reports are unconfirmed at this time.

Typically, when they see me, they scram and my pops says that I’m typically not awake enough on my way into work to even catch that. So a cat sighting for me is rare, but I know that they are there. I like to stop by that spot on my slow walk into work each morning to give it a good sniff and leg-raise. (Sorry kitties, this is still my turf!)

I’ve also been known to try and drag pops on into the bushes to score some cat food, but I’ve never quite made it in that far. I wonder what that stuff tastes like. Probably not as good as my Holistic Select brand food, but I’ve always wanted to try it.

So why am I bringing this up now? Well, as I happened to get to campus early this morning (just after 7 AM) I finally spotted the lady that keeps these cats fed. I saw her from afar, but she was nobody that I recognized and she had a tan mini-van with nothing “Butler” on it whatsoever.

Here all of this time I just assumed that the grounds crew or one of my cat-loving colleagues were doing the honors of filling those bowls with foods, but what I found out this morning was that it was a complete stranger. ..and that makes this story really strange.

I think it’s nice that the lady is keeping these cats alive and somewhat well and it gives me hope that someday if I ever found myself in a similar situation that I could live in the bushes around Butler and someone would come by every now and again to keep me fed. But really, who exactly comes to a college campus at seven in the morning to feed a couple of feral cats in the bushes?

I know it’s been going on for a while as I’ve seen the food in the bowls, that are in the bushes, but what also reaffirmed it was watching the cats (who had no idea I was up and on campus at that hour) come scurrying over to their “home bush” to meet the lady and their precious kibble. Like a couple of Pavlov’s dogs, those cats came running at the sight and sound of that lady and her van.

Oh well, it’s doing me no harm and like I said, those cats watch the place for me at night so I’m not going to complain. Plus the cats and their natural habitat are a nice distraction for me on my way in to work each morning. And, not to mention, I’m living the good life and I think all animals should be so lucky…let them have their delivery kitty food every now and again.

So, the story of the campus kitties will live on as far as I’m concerned. It’s just a little Butler lore that I wanted to share with all of you. Now, about those squirrels always taunting me from the trees and sidewalks…they’ve got another thing coming!

Go Dawgs…and maybe even cats too!

Blue II

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gordon Hayward: A Jazzy Bulldog

So Butler Bulldog Gordon Hayward got himself a new gig last month when he was selected ninth in the NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. There were fist pumps and cheers of joy at the Kaltenmark house when NBA Commissioner David Stern made the announcement. And ever since, people have been asking me what I think about it all.

While I hate to see a kid cut short his one chance to be, well, a kid, I am quite happy for him. If only we could all be so fortunate to have such an incredible opportunity to follow our dream, do what we love, and get paid handsomely for it.

You see, I’m long over the sadness of Gordon’s decision to leave Butler early to pursue a career in the pros. Sure, I would’ve loved to have him give me a pat on the head when introduced at every home game for the next two years, but that’s not going to pay him $2 million a year either.

So to see Gordon represent Butler on a National stage like the NBA draft, get selected ninth overall and go to a fine organization like the Utah Jazz, well, that just makes my big bulldog chest swell a bit more. And I just couldn’t be happier for the kid given the circumstances, I mean, just think about it…

-The Utah Jazz are a successful organization. They win basketball games and a lot of them too. They regularly make the playoffs and win many of those games as well. From the front office to the end of the bench, they have winners.

-The Utah Jazz have room for a player like Gordon which means there’s a good chance he’ll get to play sooner rather than later. Not only that, but Gordon may have the opportunity to be a real impact player for the team.

-The Utah Jazz wanted Gordon...they recognize his game, the understand his abilities, they see his huge potential, and they believe they can help him overcome any weaknesses.

-The Utah Jazz have University of Evansville standout and graduate, Jerry Sloan as their coach. Not only does he have Indiana connections, but he’s also has the longest standing tenure as a head coach in major professional sports.

-The Utah Jazz play in EnergySolutions Arena. Gordon has played their twice. He defeated Syracuse and Kansas State in the NCAA West Regional Semi-Finals and Finals. He’s yet to lose a game there.

-And last, but not least, the Utah Jazz fans make humorous YouTube videos in his honor as well:

The list goes on and on, but I think all Butler Bulldogs can rejoice in the fact that Gordon Hayward will now be a Jazzy Bulldog. So go get your Utah Jazz/Hayward apparel and be prepared to actually follow the NBA this season.

Congrats to Gordon and may have a safe and blessed professional career. I know he’ll make Butler very proud.

Speaking of pride, how about that cover of the July 2010 Indianapolis Monthly? That’s one good-looking dog!

Well, that’s about the only insights I have for you these days. I’m still making plenty of appearances and booking requests. From pet parades, to summer camps, nursing homes, and media announcements, you name it, I’m doing it. I don’t mind…it’s good to get out and see the people and its good job security too.

Big projects of late…my children’s book, my 2011 calendar, and the 10th annual Bulldog Beauty Contest on Oct. 23rd.

Go Dawgs and Go Jazz!

Blue II

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cover Dog

How about the cover of that July 2010 issue of Indianapolis Monthly? Pretty handsome fella on there if I do say so myself!

I’m honored to have both the cover of the Indianapolis Monthly and the new PETBOOK Magazine for July. I don’t know if it’s as much about me as it is a sign of Butler’s success and popularity these days. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s never been a better time to be a Bulldog!

You’ve probably already seen the latest Indianapolis Monthly in your mail box or in the checkout aisle at the supermarket, but I still wanted to post it on my blog for all of those non-Indy readers.

Here’s a link to the article and some photos from the photo shoot that I participated in:

The photos are fantastic!

Unfortunately, they didn’t have room to submit the entire Q&A and I had some pretty sweet answers to their questions. So, I’m thinking that I’ll post the entire Q&A on this blog in August after the July issue is off the store shelves. That is of course, if the fine folks at Indianapolis Monthly allow me to do so.

Also, if you find a PETBOOK magazine at a local vet office or pet store, take a look at the photos in that piece as well. Those were also great and shot by Red Hydrant Pet Photography. You can see some of those here:

Okay, that’s it from me for now. Short and sweet. After all, I’ve got a kiddie pool calling my name…gotta beat the heat…doctor’s orders! Okay, not really, but it is effective and fun!

Next entry I’ll share my perspective on Gordon Hayward’s recent job offer from the NBA’s Utah Jazz. Until then, stay cool!

Blue II