|For December 20, 2000 "That voice, it's Mel's!" - Vol. I No. XVI published every other Wednesday
Southside() In an act that defies the status quo (and most people's better judgment), several children were seen enjoying the playground equipment at Bro. Bryan Park (formerly Magnolia Park) on Birmingham's Southside today. The south town commute was snarled for hours as drivers on 22nd Street slowed to gawk at the unusual event. A car fire at the intersection of 22nd and 10th Avenue South was also blamed on the distraction caused by the children's merriment. The car apparently ran off the road, struck a parking meter, and burst into flames. No children were reported injured, although Bobby had his feelings hurt when the girls kept chanting "fatty, fatty, got no daddy."
This unusual event has outraged several local organizations including the SCLC, the ACLU of Birmingham, and the local GLAD chapter. In a hastily arranged protest outside City Hall, GLAD chapter president Sommerset Willoughby vowed "to get our park back." ACLU lawyers have promised to bring suit against the city if any more vagrants are disturbed by the gleeful sounds of youngsters playing in an urban park. "This kind of thing just shows how little we care about our transient population," said former Arrington lawyer Donald Watkins. "We have taken away their jobs, their dignity, and now we are allowing their sleeping places to be overrun." "Poppycock," says Quinlan Castle resident Morris Fishburn. "I enjoy watching the little ones running and laughing without a care in the world. It makes my job much easier." Morris was somewhat vague as to what that job is, but it seems to make him happy in a city that has forgotten how to smile.
For further investigation, a 'Hamster staffer visited Marconi Park in North Birmingham, and Chatham Park in West End, to check for other possible childish activity. There was some activity observed, but no children. There were, however, several youths seen at the Wavaho station on Carraway Boulevard shortly after school let out. Talks are under way between the City of Birmingham and all concerned parties in an effort to come up with a less visible place for urban kids to play.
UAB() An unmarried local couple, obviously bored with the Alabama Symphony's production of Handel's Messiah, left during Part II to go have sex. Dan Simpson and Darla Jenkins had been growing increasingly fidgety during the 'shame and spitting' section of the choral masterpiece, and got up to leave just before the 'we have gone astray' part began. The couple's petting had become so heavy by that point that any message contained in the music would probably have been lost on them anyway.
Another couple, Bart and Leslie Grooms, almost left to have sex when they saw Dan and Darla exiting, but decided to stay for the 'Hallelujah Chorus' to put them in more of a mood. "Besides, everyone stands up during that part anyway, so it is easier to sneak out undetected," said Bart. Either Dan and Darla did not know about the forthcoming exit opportunity, or they simply could not wait to have sex. Regardless, the result was a rather boisterous and hasty scramble for the doors during a very quiet passage in the countertenor's solo. After climbing over several patrons, the couple left through the main door between the upper and lower balconies.
Usher Marianne Phillips reported seeing the couple as they crossed the Grand Lobby of the Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center on their way out of the Jemison Concert Hall. "I remember them because Darla was already all over Dan. He was practically carrying her under one arm, and I think her hand was down his pants." The couple appears to have successfully made it to Dan's Suburban, which was still in the parking lot when the Messiah let out.
Downtown() Unprecedented demand for the Mayor Kincaid Teddy Bear has local parents fighting over the few remaining in local stores. Toy manufacturer Ty Incorporated, which makes Kincaid Bear for the city, has said that there will be no more shipments before the new year, when a design will hit the shelves that features the Mayor in his popular Liberty overalls. Some people are blaming the company for creating an artificial shortage of the toy just to initiate this demand frenzy. Not so says Ty spokesman Ned Geranimal. "We are just as surprised as everyone else at how quickly our first run sold out. We made 100,000 of them and they were basically gone in a week. And we only made them available in small select toy stores that we thought people wouldn't know about."
One of those toy stores is Lyndy's, a Mountain Brook fixture which prides itself on those whimsical and hard to find toys that grandpa once had. Store owner Lyndy Flippen says that Kincaid Bear is a throwback to another time. "There has been a steady stream of parents and grandparents coming in to buy one of these for their kids and grandkids. They want them to experience the real joy of a soft cuddly teddy bear, and not the artificial pleasure of a Sony Playstation." Strangely enough, kids seem to get it, and Kincaid Bear has become the most asked for toy in Santa's lap this year. Its soft cuddliness, adorable round face, and whiskers make the toy almost irresistible.
Kincaid was counting on this when he reserved seven of the toys especially for his former City Council mates. The effectiveness of that ploy can be seen in the softening hearts of each council member as they describe their Kincaid Bear. Jimmy Blake blubbered uncontrollably as he clutched the Mayor's gift tightly to his chest. "This reminds me of why I supported the big lug during the mayoral campaign. At heart he really is just a lovable, huggable, old bear. I mean look at his face, that scruffy beard, and those pudgy cheeks. I think I want to go give him a hug right now." William Bell had a tear in his eye as he straightened the Mayor's whiskers with the tiny included comb. "I can't believe we have been fighting all this time. It is time to set aside the rancor and live in the spirit of Christmas all year." And a cry went out from all Birminghamsters saying, "if only we could believe."