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Just a few things that are on my mind

A few thoughts as I head off for some R&R:

∫ I don’t know if it happens to you or not, but when I encounter someone on the road who does something wrong/dangerous/illegal/etc., I encounter the same driving behavior all day. For example, on Thursday I got behind someone who was in the left turn lane at a stop sign. As traffic cleared they promptly decided to make a right hand turn, cutting off the car coming up to the intersection in the correct lane. Five minutes later the same thing happened at a stoplight. I then saw the same thing happen two other times later on that day. All four times they cut off another driver to change lanes.

∫ One of my favorite websites is the U.S. Geological Survey site (usgs.gov). Though it does have other information on it, I like the earthquake map that shows where the most recent earthquakes are and when they happened. I find it fascinating to see — for lack of a better word — trends. It seems that whenever a quake hits it is followed by others quakes, not aftershocks, somewhere along the same fault line. It’s amazing how many there are in a 24 hour period.

∫ Unlike American sports, soccer doesn’t have trades but rather transfer fees. Brazilian soccer star Neymar (I find it odd how the thing for all Brazilian stars to do is go by one name) went through the transfer window for the American equivalent price of over $263 million. Holy Third World county GDP, Batman. He goes from Barcelona in La Liga to Paris Saint Germain in Ligue 1, changing European leagues and countries. On top of the transfer fee, PSG will pay Neymar nearly $700K a week to play for its team — after taxes (long, drawn-out whistle).

∫ A Kingsley man received jail time last week for stealing two ATMs. Back in May the man went to two different hotels and told them he was a repairman and he was swapping out their ATMs; he left empty crates. Now there are a number of questions I have about this, but they all center around the fact that you’d think someone would ask where the work order was or try and find out if they’d be notified the company was swapping them out. He was caught on security camera, which you would think he considered was a strong probability. However, he might have been emboldened because now there is an investigation into whether he is connected to an ATM theft in Bay City. I guess if you get away with something criminal you’re bound to try it again.

∫ The honorees for this year’s Kennedy Center Honors were announced Thursday, and television writer and producer Norman Lear was on the list. I’m surprised he wasn’t honored sooner. He was at the cutting edge of how TV changed in the 1970s with shows like “All in the Family,” “Maude,” “Good Times,” “The Jeffersons,” and “Sanford and Son.” Lear shaped television and probably should have been honored years ago. He’s still a funny storyteller. I would recommend looking for the TED Talk with him from last year.

∫ Does China really want a war? I ask that because as the next door neighbor to North Korea you’d think Chinese officials would be trying to do more to discourage North Korea in its continued ballistic missile testing. If experts are right and North Korea has the capabilities of reaching the U.S., China should be getting Pyongyang on the phone and telling, not asking, Lil’ Kim Jung Un to cease operations. No one in the U.S. is going to sit around and not retaliate against an attack. South Korea could become an island if North Korea bombs the U.S. It’s hard to imagine China doing nothing about a U.S. retaliation, so again, does China really want a war?

∫ I know I’m not alone when I say “where has the summer gone?” It’s already August? The biggest problem with working at a newspaper is we are always working ahead. Obviously we have the next day’s paper we are always working on, and we print Section C on Wednesdays, which rushes three days forward, but special projects rush things along much quicker. We plan them two, three, sometimes four weeks in advance, then we put them together days in advance. Of course, because they are extra work they sneak up on and you wonder where the time went. So again: Where did the summer go? It seems like yesterday we were celebrating the Fourth of July.

Steve Murch can be reached via email at smurch@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5686. Follow Steve on Twitter @sm_alpenanews.