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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Unfinished Business

I hope you never lose a job.  Having been through it a few times, you become a lot more sensitive when you learn about what other people are going through.  When several Arby's around here closed, most people thought "Where am I going to get my curly fries?"  I saw the faces of people who showed up for work, and who were met with silence from their bosses, along with locked doors.  You might say that they are only fast food jobs, they don't pay well, and there are a lot of them out there.  Maybe so, but any job is a good job when you really need one.

Due to the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing, I've been thinking about the space program.  If you haven't seen it, go to YouTube and look at Will McAvoy's speech from the opening episode of HBO's "The Newsroom."  He goes off on how America is no longer the world's greatest country because times have changed.  Said McAvoy, "We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe...."  The Saturn V rocket was a big thing.  Going to the moon was a big thing.  Do we do anything big these days?  We tried to free Iraq and Afghanistan.  I guess that was big.  Health care?  You can debate that one for months.  iPhone6?  Shampoo and conditioner in the same bottle?  AM Crunch Wrap?  We stopped going to the moon in 1972. The space shuttle was neat, and the same goes for the International Space Station.  It's fascinating that probes launched years ago still work from the outer fringes of the solar system.  Is it big?  Are we expanding our reach?  The jury is out.

I've expressed my affection for David Letterman's "Late Show" in this space in the past.  I hope you saw Monday night's show.  It started with a funny talk with Jeff Daniels.  It was followed by a sometimes serious, sometimes humorous chat with Norah O'Donnell of "CBS This Morning."  The show ended with Will Lee and a stage full of musicians performing "MacArthur Park."  It was a full orchestra, and it must have cost a fortune.  One of Letterman's best shows ever.

I produce WNEP's weekend morning newscasts, and I do try to be family sensitive by keeping dead animals and bodies at an absolute minimum.  We have a war in the Middle East and a jet crash in Ukraine.  Some of the images have been disturbing at any hour, especially the morning.  Keep in mind, we don't want to sanitize the horror, but we do want to make sure people, especially kids, aren't terrified by what they see on television.

Death by train:  a man took his own life by going under a train in Danville Saturday.  Police tell us it was the same man who wanted to jump off a bridge, into Interstate 81 traffic a couple of weeks ago.  I know it's a free country, and involuntary commitments can only go so far.  You cannot help those who don't want to be helped.  It doesn't lessen the tragedy.