Monday, May 24, 2010

24 MAY 10: Bless the Pest

Some people become annoyed by The Mass Media. Not many people annoy The Mass Media right back, but a few do. I recall one man who wrote a lengthy complaint to CNN - and did it on one roll of paper, so it was split in two and posted from top to bottom on two newsroom pillars.

A few people attach themselves to The Mass Media so much, they become known as groupies. When I moved to Columbus, I became acquainted with one of them. He'd call several times a day, trying to talk with female TV reporters. And his voice didn't quite sound like someone leaving informed tips about undercover police investigations....

The man identified himself as Corey, and women in the newsroom weren't sure how to handle him. Some took his calls for awhile, then wanted nothing more to do with him. "Tell him I'm not here," one woman said - and when I repeated those words verbatim to Corey, he didn't seem to take the hint. He'd call back, days or even hours later -- but at least he never stooped to order flowers for them.

Corey's persistence reached the point that when one female reporter finished her on-air appearance during the 11:00 p.m. news, I started counting aloud: "Five, four, three...." and sure enough, he'd call before I reached zero. Stanley Kubrick could have made a movie about him - Clockwork Annoying.

I took so many of Corey's calls that while I tried to be as polite and matter-of-fact as I could, he came to consider me a tough meanie. I was screening his flirtatious contacts with female co-workers, who sometimes were racing to beat deadlines. But come to think of it, Corey seemed closer to romancing single ladies than I was.

In 2010, Corey's constant calling might have landed him on a police watch list. But co-workers who talked with him concluded he was NOT a threat. They explained Corey had some sort of mental disability, and struggled to keep jobs at fast-food restaurants. If it wasn't for his life on the phone, he might not have one at all.

I've mentioned Corey here before, under a different name [9 Sep 09] -- but events of the last week have convinced me to bring him fully forward. Corey has been hospitalized, with what an attendant tells me is an immune problem. He certainly was immune to women telling him "no" for years....

But an amazing thing has happened in response to this illness. Media personalities who were annoyed by Corey for years are rallying around him -- calling his hospital room, paying him visits and even organizing a Facebook support group. It's a case of the "famous" supporting someone who actually made them feel that way.

I had never seen Corey and he'd probably never seen me, but I made a quick trip to his hospital room Friday afternoon. He looked weak and acted groggy. A minister was at his bedside, ready to offer a prayer. And the television in his room was tuned to "Bonanza" on TV Land - obviously because the evening local newscasts were still several hours away.

It's fascinating to see so many well-known Columbus names support someone who could be so downright annoying. I guess it shows the TV and radio community has a merciful heart. In other walks of life, that's a rare thing to see. If President Obama was admitted to a hospital today, most Tea Party members wouldn't know whether to pray for him or against him.

-> Our other blog starts with poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. Check what's happening at "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: The Columbus Public Library has connections outside the city limits, which leads to this....

I recently noticed on the local library website a listing for 3 libraries operating outside Muscogee County..Do these libraries receive operational money from MCSD?

If MCSD does spend money on these libraries why are they not included in cuts in balancing the MCSD budget? Is our Muscogee County tax money helping to operate these out of county libraries or do these counties pay MCSD to operate their libraries?

An online search Sunday night didn't provide much of an answer. But we found a five-year-old library report, which says "the majority" of the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries' operating budget comes from 1.5 mills in Muscogee County property taxes. C'mon now - don't you want to help Quitman County residents become a little smarter?

A chart for the library system's "general fund" shows only about $23,000 in "county participation." Keep in mind those outlying counties aren't known for being wealthy. Just because the Parks Memorial Library in Richland is located on Wall Street does NOT mean it has a fancy stock market portfolio.

We'll have to make follow-up calls on this matter, as well as a series of other e-mails we received over the weekend. In the meantime, let's see what news we

+ The Sunday high temperature in Columbus was 93 degrees F. I turned on the home air conditioner for the first time this season, and it dripped a little on the outside - but I decided NOT to save money by collecting the water in a bucket to boil later for drinking.

+ Columbus Police told WXTX a man was attacked with a two-by-four board outside the Cozy Corner club on 35th Street. Officers are looking for a man nicknamed "Gucci" - which is comforting to those of us who feared YellaFella might have been drinking too much.

+ Columbus Fire investigators reported they've pinpointed the source of the fire at the old Baker High School. But that source has NOT been revealed yet - as if they're going to have a contest in the neighborhood, and give the correct guesser two months' free rent.

+ The Ledger-Enquirer reported on a compromise in the "mimosa madam" case. Formal Elegance salon owner Judy Wilkinson will receive "deferred prosecution," as long as she performs 20 hours of community service. If she serves meals at a local mission, please make sure she handles food and not drinks.

+ The Columbus Fraternal Order of Police and the Business Improvement District combined to hold an antique show downtown. Mayor Jim Wetherington visited this at his own risk - lest a passerby attempt to bid on him.

+ Troy University announced it will open a campus next week in the North Columbus Business Park on Manchester Expressway. Uh-oh - what about that property awaiting development in downtown Phenix City? Will people there have to settle for the old Revco space in the Phenix Plaza shopping center?

+ The Aflac Outdoor Games were held along the riverfront downtown. Contestants climbed poles as fast as they could, sawed through logs as fast as they could -- after spectators searched for parking spaces as slowly as the speed limits on 12th Street and Broadway would allow.

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