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Tribute to a friend

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
December 30, 2013 2:05:54 PM PST
We fool ourselves every day, thinking we can control things, including our lives. We know, somewhere either down deep or maybe right at the surface, that we actually have no control, but we rationalize the whole thing because ? well, because we can.

One of my dearest friends, since childhood, is in the hospital, in isolation, with the flu and severe pneumonia. I talked on the phone to her on Friday and she asked me to call her husband because, uncharacteristically, he hadn't called her in her quarantined room.

I tried, but I couldn't reach him. No answer at home, no answer on his cell.

Finally, someone called their building's super, who went in and found him, dead.

Today, they buried him, all of us shoveling a few scoops of dirt onto his plain pine casket. My friend, Bonnie, was not there, not there for the funeral of her husband, because she was still in isolation. Can you imagine?

A few hours after the super made that discovery, the flip side of life. My brother-in-law Drew, who a year ago was undergoing treatment for throat cancer, was holding his first-born. A little girl. What a road for Drew and his bride, a new mother, Maling. Fighting the devil a year ago, welcoming new life 12 months later.

We pretend we are in control. But we know the truth. We can control when we make coffee. Or when we tell someone we love them. But for the really big stuff, it's so beyond us. Which is why we have to hold each other tightly. And treat each other rightly.

That's my back story as we prep tonight's 11 p.m. newscast. What's yours? We all have one.

Meanwhile, tonight we're following two big announcements from the next Mayor of New York. Bill de Blasio first naming Carmen Farina to be the next Chancellor of New York City Schools, the nation's biggest. She's a veteran educator, and, like de Blasio, an advocate of early childhood education. The other announcement ? that the new Mayor will, once he's sworn in (first as public theater by Bill Clinton and then later officially by someone who is allowed to actually swear-in a Mayor) on Jan. 1, he will eliminate the hansom cab industry, those iconic horse-drawn carriages. They bring in about $15 million in revenue to the City, but the 200-plus horses and their drivers have also sparked controversy. Critics say it's an outdated and inhumane industry, and Mr. de Blasio agrees with them.

Also at 11, Meteorologist Amy Freeze (in for Lee Goldberg) has her AccuWeather forecast, and Laura Behnke (in for Rob Powers) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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