Gary Conkling Life Notes

Mostly whimsical reflections on life

The Post-Holiday News You May Have Missed

For those of you too busy cleaning up fireworks debris off your irritated neighbor’s driveway to keep up with the news, here is my post-July 4th summary of what you missed:

Tour de France startThe 101st Tour de France began today – in Great Britain. The first day was marred by crashes as riders, eschewing doping, carbo-loaded before the race on pints of Guinness. Naturally, a German won the first stage.

Nike founder Phil Knight has a new $7.8 million private airplane hangar at Hillsboro Airport. Previously his Gulfstream G850 had to hang out in the general Nike hangar. This seems like a similar upgrade to the TSA pre-check line where you don’t have to remove your belt or take off your shoes.

The cougar that had been spotted prowling around Portland was captured and euthanized. Officials figured the big cat had lost its fear of humans and posed a threat, pretty much like every other house cat.

The charge that Congress is doing nothing has been proven false. Records indicate that House members, their staffs and spouses have been busy traveling, with a total of 1,900 privately financed fact-finding junkets to all parts of the world. Jet lag is now a valid excuse for legislative inaction. It also appears, House members were busy discarding a post-Jack Abramoff era rule to disclose going on such trips. They quickly reversed course, showing they can act when caught in an embarrassing act.

NYT illustrationIf you are on the lookout for useful, simple smartphone apps, look past the newly popular Yo to the pending ON? Big thinker Frank Lesser says what could be simpler than an app that tells you whether your cell phone is on. Lesser predicts a revolutiON? as he and the app developer, who could be an unemployed construction worker, plan to make $1 million by charging $1 per app from 1 million clueless phone users, including possibly you.

For those who have seen and done it all, there is yet a new thrill – renting a luxury RV and going wine-tasting in Walla Walla, without ever leaving the grounds of the airport. Walla Walla wines are good, but this flyway-to-buzz experience just puts them on a whole new plain. (You can look forward to reading about this in the Sunday Oregonian.)

There was a touching story of an NPR reporter who paved the way to her dream job as a 15-year-old writing letters to NPR stalwarts. Tamara Keith shared her career-bending reflection as she hosted Weekend Edition Saturday, filling in for its regular host, Scott Simon. Keith recalled how Simon invited her and her family to his house when they visited Washington, DC. Sitting on Simon’s peach-colored couch, she remembers Scott’s advice – go to college and major in philosophy so you know the big questions to ask. She did and in an existential moment here she is at NPR.

That’s all the really interesting news. Of course, there were pictures of fireworks, stories about people being arrested for DUII and continuing coverage of the World Cup and fighting in Iraq, which tended to blur together. If you want that kind of news, you will have to read the paper, listen to the radio and watch TV yourself.



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