Happy Birthday Shirl and Babs, also–don’t jump!

24 Apr

I took Monday off, which included not only not going to my job, but I also took the day off from blogging.  Slacker!

To get the juices flowing after such a long writing break , I have been skimming the news.

I tend to gravitate to the ABC News website, although I have no special love for ABC News since the passing of Peter Jennings. I used to rely on Peter to tell me the news and I knew if Peter was telling it to me, it was factual and free from so-called “spin”. Peter was there for me on that agonizing day when the nation stopped in our tracks to watch O.J. Simpson’s slow speed car chase. With Peter on board you almost never stopped to wonder, “is this really news?”, you just went along for the ride, slow speed though it was.

Peter has gone now. ABC News is now as crappy as any other network news. Like CBS News after Walter Cronkite died. Or NBC News after the death of Chet Huntley. Is it just me, or does Brian Williams talk too loud? Sometimes it seems like Brian Williams is doing a parody of himself doing a parody of that old Saturday Night Live schtick–News for the Hard of Hearing–“OUR TOP STORY TONIGHT!”)

Anyway, I did not latch on to any news I wanted to write about. Local news is even worse. If the local news was truly representative of life in Jacksonville and the surrounding area (Florida’s First Coast, or just The First Coast as we call it round these here parts) then all of the children are being neglected, that is, when they’re not eating cocaine off the floor while their mother turns tricks in the next room; and men are shooting their girlfriends–either on purpose or because, as one man did, because he had mistaken his beloved for a wild hog.

All of Jacksonville is not like that, people, I assure you. They only have wild hogs in the more rural areas, so don’t fret.

I did see this interesting bit of news–two birthdays of two special ladies today.

Shirley Maclaine turns (OMG, really?!) 78 today. I’ve always loved me some Shirley. So great in Terms of Endearment, The Turning Point, Steel Magnolias, and so many more. When I lived in San Francisco, Shirley was performing her one woman show at one of the local theaters, but she took time out to host a human dog show on Castro Street. My memory is a little vague, but basically it involved men in dog collars being lead around by other men with leashes. It was a charity fund raiser of some sort. Shirley was her usual ball of energy and some of the “dogs” were quite fetching. (Pun not planned, but definitely intended.) Good times…

As for the other birthday, I am reminded of a personal anecdote: I was once at a local bar. A young friend of mine was the bartender. He was chatting with a bar patron was sitting a little to my left. At one point, my friend turned to me and asked,”Bill, when is Barbra Streisand’s birthday?” I replied, “I have no idea. I’m not that gay…”

As it turns out the answer is, today, April 24. Today is the day. Barbra turns the big seven oh!

I don’t have a personal story about Barbra, other than the one about the bartender who assumed I would automatically know Barbra’s birthday. I was not present at any live event where Barbra was hostess. I do have a friend who went to one of Barbra’s most recent concerts. During a lull in the music she shouted, “I love you Barbra!” and Barbra replied “Thank you” or “I love you too” or “Have that women thrown out of the theater”–one of those, I can’t remember which. But the concert was recorded and that little exchange is included on the CD, so I can say that I have a friend who recorded with Barbra Streisand and I wouldn’t be lying.

I had a nice weekend. Nothing to report particularly, but I liked it. The big news was from last week, when I was at work. There is a bridge outside of my office window and on Friday, there was a potential jumper.

He climbed out over the concrete barricade and was standing on this little abutment. Several police cars, a rescue vehicle, and a fire truck came. They closed off the southbound lane of the bridge. There was a police boat and a fire department boat circling around in the waters below.

I can’t stare out my office window all day. There’s work to be done. Besides, the view of the bridge is much better from the large conference room. So, that’s where we all assembled. It seems callous, I suppose, while watching such a dire scenario, to become impatient. “Is he going to jump, or isn’t he?” I’ll admit it, we were all thinking it. I know, because all of us said it out loud.

Before you write us off as horrible monsters, I would like to point out a few important facts:

1) This bridge is high enough, but it isn’t that high. There was a consensus among all of us that if a person really meant business, he’d go jump off the Dames Point Bridge. Now that’s a tall bridge! A fall from there might kill you.
2) This guy was on the down slope of the bridge. He wasn’t even threatening to jump from the highest point on the bridge. It truly makes you question his commitment.
3) This same guy pulled this same stunt the previous Thursday. I missed that one completely because he did it after 5PM (which is a terrible time for the authorities to have to close the bridge, so we can add thoughtlessness to this man’s list of bad traits.) The Thursday “don’t come any closer, I’m going to jump” event was at an even lower part of the bridge. Frankly, had he jumped then, I am not sure the water would have even been over his head. Again, you have to question his commitment.

In both instances, this man wore a blue shirt and a red cap. He reminded my boss of Waldo of Where’s Waldo? fame. It would be sad if Waldo has fallen on such tough times that he has to threaten to jump off a bridge just to get anyone to look for him, but I am trusting Waldo is a fit and happy as ever and this guy was someone else.

As with the previous Thursday, the police were able to talk this man back over the barricade and into the loving arms of a policeman who handcuffed him and put him in a police car. Not sure if he’ll be back for a third try this week, once his 72 hours of observation are up, but I’ll be keeping one eye out the window just in case.

The world is a crazy place.

Happy Shirley Maclaine and Barbra Steisand’s birthdays to one and all (especially Shirl and Babs!)

Happy Tuesday.

3 Responses to “Happy Birthday Shirl and Babs, also–don’t jump!”

  1. Mary Atwood April 24, 2012 at 8:37 am #

    “…men are shooting their girlfriends–either on purpose or because, as one man did, because he had mistaken his beloved for a wild hog.”

    You know, the problem with that story is that he did it twice! He claims he didn’t know his girlfriend had left the tent, but he heard a noise in the bushes, left the tent, fired once….then returned to the tent, heard another noise outside, left the tent again, and fired again. Ummm. If one is camping with their loved one and hears a noise outside, don’t they usually ask, “Hey, did you hear that?” before rushing outside with a loaded gun? And to leave the tent twice without ever noticing your loved one is missing…….yeah, right.

  2. Pamela N Red April 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    Some women are hard to tell if they are hogs or human these days so I’m siding with the shooter.

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