Tempests in teapots: Share your local controversies
Vinca Minor - 07:46pm Dec 5, 1999 PST (# 44 of 47)
The most appealing items of local news I can think of are actually fairly old, but charming. The flap over the newly elected sheriff who hired his minister, at county expense, and paid him $25K for two weeks' work as a "consultant" to see that the sheriff's department was run according to Christian principles, which apparently consisted of firing anyone who had voted against the new sheriff in the election, was officially declared closed by the single local newspaper after the sheriff paid it a visit and threatened to close it down.
I was also proud to stand behind another trucker in the checkout line at a newsstand where a tabloid magazine trumpeted, "Lesbian Lovers Just Out of Jail Murder Nude Drunken Dwarf". "Geez", he shook his head, "Who believes this stuff anyway?" I was able to tell him that that happy little event had taken place in our very town, several years before. It was actually even spicier than that, but you know how tabloids soft pedal things.
Actual Moral Writers
kdickens - 07:39am Dec 5, 1999 PST (# 609 of 618)
He came into my public library every Saturday morning, torturously wheeling his wheelchair up to the reference desk. His arms were strong, his legs were missing. He was a man with a mission. His mission was to locate all of his former shipmates for a reunion of all who had served in his unit when they were stationed in Italy during WWII. We had publications that listed a roster of names of men who had served in the various Army and Navy divisions. He would pore through them, looking up names and checking their names in our vast collection of telephone books. This was a difficult task for him because his one remaining eye made it difficult for him to see. A magnifying glass was of enormous help. He was able to locate some of the telephone numbers of these men and he called them on the phone. Sometimes he was able to speak to them in person, and he was elated. Other times, surviving widows or other family members would say that so-and-so had died. He told us stories about these men and he made them come alive in our minds. With others, he showed us letters that he received after he contacted them. There was passion in the writing, and tears in the eyes of our patron.
One day, the computers were finally installed and ready for patron access. On the computers was a database of telephone numbers. This made his job of locating them much easier. Sometimes he found them through relatives having the same last name who lived in a certain locale.
Finally, all the men that could be located were located and a grand reunion was planned; those who were unable to attend would receive a video of the event. This had been our patron's late in life work, to bring all the remaining men in his unit back together to form a whole, to make themselves whole again.
One week before the reunion, our patron died.
Movie audience horror stories
R. N. Dominick - 08:41am Dec 9, 1999 PST (# 6 of 19)
I had just been laid off from a job I really liked and enjoyed for purely political reasons. The movie "Office Space" had just come out, so I decided to go and see it. (I liked it quite a bit.) Anyhow, I usually get to the movies really early so I can stake out a good seat, play the stupid games on the slides, see all the trailers, and so on. Well, during the last trailer someone sits behind me, and he sounds like a boar or something..."snuffle, snuffle, snort, snort, gag ... ... ... ... heaving breath". I thought the guy was going to die before the movie started. "Ah, well," I thought, "at least when the movie starts, I won't be able to hear him". The movie did start, and I couldn't hear him breathe over the music, but I did hear him read the movie title to himself ("*grunt* Office Space *exhale*..."). He laughed at a few lame jokes ("heh heh heh *snort*..."), and then the camera showed a reserved parking space, and he READ THE SIGN OUT LOUD ("...parking space reserved for
It didn't stop there, though.
I heard a distinctive voice rumble "Did you see that? That motherfucker moved away from me. Punk-ass shithead...I'm gonna find him after the movie and kick his ass..." It goes on like this for quite some time, in a loud voice that probably everyone in the theater could hear, until a guy six rows in front of him finally turned around and said "Will you please shut the fuck up?" He eventually subsided.
And no, I didn't get my ass kicked. But I think this incident made the movie a lot more memorable than it would have been on its own.