Life As We Know It: May 13, 2013

        Somebody sent me a report on studies which show that if a cat falls off the seventh floor of a building, it might not survive, but if it falls off the 20th floor, it probably will.

        Apparently the researchers concluded that it takes several floors, somewhere between five and eight, for the cat to comprehend what is happening, relax its body, and correct itself for a safe landing.

        My first reaction was to think that I’m being had here. I know cats land on their feet -- it’s called the righting reflex -- but from 200 feet up? Moreover, if the report is true, I figured a lot of cats had to be sacrificed before a safe drop point was determined. I’m not a cat person but where was PETA when we needed them?

        So I dug a little deeper.

        Evidently the study was done in the 1980s and published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. It turns out, thank goodness, that the cats were not simply tossed of tall buildings.

        Cats which had already fallen from known heights in New York City and survived were analyzed for injuries, and it was discovered that the damage was steadily more severe in falls up to the seventh floor, but actually decreased from the eighth floor on up.

        Baloney. I think what happened was that most of the cats which fell from greater heights died in the fall and obviously were not brought in fore medical attention, thereby skewing the results.

        By the way, no cats were harmed in the production of this commentary. And for reasons that should be evident to faithful listeners who know I once drew a paycheck from The Blade, no dogs either.


        Law enforcement in Ohio was unhappy last year that legislation introduced in the Ohio General Assembly would eliminate the front license plate on Ohio vehicles. Not to worry, Sheriff. Fret not, Chief. The bill went nowhere.

        Even so, I see some merit in the idea, proposed by state Rep. Rex Damschroder, a Republican from Fremont. Although a front license plate provides an important piece of identifying information to a police officer, the same information is already available on the back plate.

        None of the five states which border Ohio require front plates. One state trooper in Michigan whose 16 years on the road came after his state went to rear plates only in 1980 said he could not recall a single time the absence of a front plate caused a problem.

        Dumping the front plates would save the state of Ohio an estimated $1.65 million a year in production and distribution costs.

        In spite of that, Ohio cops don’t want it. However, it’s highly unlikely that a bad guy has ever tried to flee from police by driving really fast in reverse.