Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Closing Out 5783

Three Things: This past week, three things touched Abq Jew's spirit. Two of them involved the way-too-early deaths of a couple of well-known, beloved public figures who had accomplished a great deal in their lifetimes. 

And then there was that other thing.

But let's start with

Jimmy Buffett   1946~2023

Jimmy Buffett

We all learned last Friday that the one and only Jimmy Buffett, the Mayor of Margaritaville, had died at the age of 76. That seems awfully, terribly young for Abq Jew, who recently completed his 73rd circuit around our Sun.

Oy. What to say? Once again, Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner get it exactly right in the Substack Steady column titled - what else? - Margaritaville.

There was something quintessentially American about the singer/songwriter/entrepreneur Jimmy Buffett, who passed away yesterday at the age of 76. He was a showman, selling a laid-back vision of life: beaches, cocktails, sunbaked days, and parties after dark. 

The allure of letting loose and having fun has been a part of our national identity. But so have hard work and seizing opportunities to monetize an idea, which Buffett did with such skill that Forbes estimated his net worth this year at $1 billion. 

Buffett’s life followed an arc that exemplified the American Dream. Originally a reporter working for Billboard, he struggled as a young musician to find his voice and make his mark. 

That changed when he moved to Key West, Florida. He would later say that there “I found a lifestyle, and I knew that whatever I did would have to work around my lifestyle.” 

And it was this lifestyle — a blend of love for the open sea and the camaraderie of a seaside bar, all infused with music — that drew legions of loyal fans over decades of success. 

Not being a true Parrothead, Abq Jew had sorta lost track of Jimmy Buffett. But twenty (20) years ago, he (that is, Jimmy Buffett) joined with country star Alan Jackson in the joyful rendition of It's Five O'Clock Somewhere - one of the best drinking songs around, at least when Abq Jew was drinking.

No, Jimmy Buffett rarely if ever exuded gravitas (at least, not in public) - which is exactly why we all loved him.

If you wanted gravitas, seriousness of purpose, and lifelong dedication to public service, you turned to 

Bill Richardson   1947~2023

Bill Richardson

We all learned Saturday that the one and only Bill Richardson, the former 2x Governor of New Mexico, Representative, UN Ambassador, and Secretary of Energy, had died at the age of 75. Once again - that seems awfully, terribly young for Abq Jew.

Perhaps most importantly, Bill Richardson was known as a מתיר אסורים - freer of the imprisoned - a mitzvah for which we also thank The Holy One, Blessed Be He, each morning.

In fact, shortly before his death, Bill Richardson was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in hostage diplomacy - seeking the release of 15 political prisoners, including professional basketball player Brittney Griner and former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed.

Dan Rather said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter:
Bill Richardson was a skilled politician, gifted diplomat, and good guy. He was determined and deliberate. Rising to prominence in his native New Mexico, he became a respected figure on the world stage. Over the years, he brought many Americans detained overseas back home. He was a symbol of hope and resolve. 
May he rest in peace.

And then there was that other thing.

The Travels of Howdy Doody

Howdy Doody

We all learned Friday that the one and only Howdy Doody, the steer who rides shotgun in his owner’s car, had been stopped by the Norfolk, Nebraska Police for ... riding shotgun in his owner’s car. That seems awfully, terribly harsh for Abq Jew, who often rides shotgun in Mrs Abq Jew's car.

Maria Luisa Paul reported in The Washington Post:

On Wednesday morning, Capt. Chad Reiman was sitting in his Norfolk, Neb., office when he heard radio traffic that immediately piqued his interest. There was a report about a car driving through the city’s downtown area with a cow inside of it.

Reiman “just had to see it for myself because it seemed so unusual,” he told The Washington Post. He drove to the scene, where he found a fully grown, black-and-white-dappled steer with long protruding horns riding shotgun in his owner’s modified Ford Crown Victoria sedan.

“It was quite a big surprise,” said Reiman, with the Norfolk Police Division. “We were all kind of expecting it to be a smaller animal, like a calf, that would actually fit into a vehicle, not the large animal that we actually discovered there.”

The animal was Howdy Doody, a 2,200-pound, 9-year-old Watusi-longhorn mix steer who’s more doglike than fierce fighting bull. 

His owner, Lee Meyer, said Howdy Doody enjoys going on walks on a leash, getting treats and, yes, feeling the wind rush past his face when they go on rides. Howdy Doody also knows some commands, such as “back up” and “come here.”

Hayom Harat Olam

As we approach Rosh Hashanah, the birthday of the world, let's review what we have learned here.

    • Jimmy Buffett laughed but could get serious.
    • Bill Richardson was serious but could laugh.
    • Howdy Doody could ride shotgun in his owner's car.

It takes all types to make the world go round. As we prepare to move from 5783 on to 5784, let's all remember that and go easy on others. 

And on ourselves.
We too make the world go round.

Parrot Guitar

"Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic.
But I had a good life all the way."
- Jimmy Buffett - 

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