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Vacation news highlights

August 10, 2009 - Steve Murch
Returning from vacation always has its downside, like the 700 e-mails I had waiting for me. Luckily, I suppose, is that almost 100 of them were from the same two people. I had set up an auto-return message for incoming e-mail; unfortunately, those two people had done the same thing. They apparently had sent their e-mails as they were leaving for a few days off and had set auto-response. Needless to say, we auto-responded to each other for a couple of days while they were out of the office. I just hope they figured out why they had so many e-mails from me.

This week we'll take a change from the Monday top 10 and list a baker's dozen of newsy things that caught my eye while on vacation. Nothing numerical, just 13 items that stood out while I was taking it easy.

In no particular order: * Sotomayor takes oath of office. Not only is it historic to have our first Hispanic woman on the Supreme Court, but the fact it was done now is significant. She will be on the bench when the Court rehears a case. It was kind of funny how the cable news networks covered it. I got the impression they all thought she or Chief Justice John Roberts would make some comment immediately after the swearing-in. They seemed to be caught off-guard with a bit of dead air

* Laura Ling and Euna Lee released by North Korea. Watching the families greet the two journalists in the airport hangar, it was striking how Lee's daughter didn't appear to recognize her at first. When you consider her mom was away for six months, about one-eighth of the little girl's life, it's easy to see how she would be confused.

*Cash for Clunkers. If ever there was a government money no-brainer, this was it. Talk about getting some money back into the economy. However, once this new funding is through that should be it.

* Chocolate covered bacon on a stick. The new concession stand fare at the Wisconsin State Fair was interesting, if not all that appealing. I don't even want to know what's next.

* Airplane-helicopter collision over the Hudson River. The thing that is striking about this is how much air traffic there is over the Hudson. It is understandable that airplanes would have to follow the Hudson River because of all the high-rise buildings, but describing it as being as busy as some streets in small towns makes you wonder.

* Health club shooting. What would make a man develop such a hatred toward anyone that he would just go in a shoot random people? There's being frustrated with the opposite sex, but this was incredible. To think he tried to do this on other occasions but chickened out is scary. Clearly someone who needed help a long time ago.

* Michael Jackson's kids. Unfortunately, you can't avoid the continued over-examination of all things Jackson. And now, the people who claim to possibly be the father of the children is getting out of hand. I'd joke about me being a possible father, but I don't need to be dragged into that mess. Poor kids.

* AIG profits. For the first time in a couple of years, AIG turned in a quarterly profit. I don't if it's a sign that the economy is really making a recovery, but AIG was the poster child for everything that was wrong with the financial industry. Surprisingly, the story didn't get much play.

* Unemployment drops 0.1%. The thing that caught my attention was that it depended on who you listened to as to whether or not it was a good thing. Obviously fewer people receiving unemployment benefits is a good thing, but there was a faction, but not a large one, who thought it was primarily a drop due to people just giving up on finding employment. If that's the case, then the number is pretty insignificant, and perhaps a bit disturbing about the future. Plus, most talking heads were saying they still believe we'll get closer to 10 percent unemployment.

* John Hughes dies. If you went to the movies in the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, you would have seen a John Hughes film. He either wrote or directed (or both) many of the biggest comedies of the era. From teen comedies like “Ferris Buehler's Day Off” and “The Breakfast Club” to “National Lampoon's Vacation” and “Uncle Buck,” Hughes knew how to make us laugh.

* Football is back. Who cares that it's still only preseason (and just practice for college)? It's time for football once again. Heck, I've been jonesing for it so long that I've been watching bits and pieces of CFL games. It's football season for everyone but ..

* Michael Crabtree. Talk about silly. According to a relative, who apparently is an adviser, Crabtree is willing to sit out the season and re-enter the NFL draft next year if San Francisco doesn't meet his demands. I just have two words for him: Mike Williams. While the circumstances are a bit different, Williams was the next big thing who had to sit out a year and then was another in a long line of first-round flops. Heck, Crabtree and Williams were even taken with the same pick in their respective drafts.

* Finally, for a chuckle, Chelsea Clinton. A Kenyan man, Godwin Kipkemoi Chepkurgor, offered the Clintons 40 goats and 20 cows for Chelsea's hand in marriage (and she wouldn't be his first wife). I wonder if Bill and Hillary want to become farmers?


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