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Questions, changes, and stray thoughts

August 07, 2005|By Terry Headlee

There's a lot going on and I have plenty on my mind.

Here are a few random thoughts:

For those of you calling into "Mail Call" and "You Said It" and asking who the knucklehead and idiot is who is letting all the pet achievement comments into the daily column - that would be me. ... Any bets on Tampa Bay finishing above Baltimore in the A.L. East this season? ... The Washington County Commissioners voted last week to kick in an additional $300,000 toward a new stadium at North Hagerstown High School. What made this particularly interesting to some of our readers is that stadium supporters initially said it would be built entirely with private funds. Even so, two school board members still questioned the commissioners for their lack of financial commitment. Go figure. ...

A U.S. Army spokeswoman said Friday that the cremated ashes of convicted double-murderer Russell Wayne Wagner will remain at Arlington National Cemetery because the interment exemption doesn't apply. Why? Well, you see, Wagner was given two consecutive life sentences for murder in 2002, but the judge granted the killer a chance for parole. Had the judge sentenced Wagner to life without parole, he wouldn't qualify to be buried at the national cemetery. Seriously. I guess tying up an elderly couple, placing pillowcases over their heads and then stabbing them to death doesn't disqualify a person from having their final resting place in the nation's most sacred military cemetery. Now that's some serious fine print. Any comment from readers? ...

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You will soon be noticing some changes in our newspaper. We will be switching horoscope columnists beginning in Monday's paper. At that time, we will drop Holiday Mathis and replace it with a horoscope column by Bernice Bede Osol. It's better. Trust me. ... "Calvin and Hobbs," one of the most popular comics ever, will likely be coming back to our Sunday comics pages in September. The syndicate is offering the classic strip for three months only. That means two comics will have to be temporarily dropped - for now, that likely will be "Brevity" and "Donald Duck." ... Washington County government officials predicted last week that a new hospital off Robinwood Drive will pump $60 million into the local economy. ...

An Antrim Township, Pa., couple found a 28-inch-long alligator in their goldfish pond Wednesday and said it was a good thing there were no fish in it or they would have been "goners for sure." No argument here. ... Prediction: If Jeff Gordon has another DNF at the Brickyard this weekend, he won't be in the running for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Championship run. In fact - and not to throw gas on the fire, but here it goes anyway - he probably isn't even going to finish ahead of Junior this year. ... What's the point of diet, caffeine-free soda? ... I'm in my second year with an organic garden - after giving up fertilizer - and I can vouch that composting and double-digging (to loosen up soil) really works miracles. ...

The Herald-Mail's second historic pictorial book ("Our Past, Our People") will be published this fall and will feature about 200 pages of photographs submitted by readers, including visits to Washington County by U.S. presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon (though he was vice president and stumping for Eisenhower at the time). ... Speaking of FDR, did you know his three favorite foods were frog legs, pig knuckles and scrambled eggs? That tidbit came from "Uncle John's Great Big Bathroom Reader," so it must be true. ... I recently finished a book by author David Mindich about why Americans under 40 don't follow the news. There were plenty of stunning findings, including this one: 54 of 58 young adults he surveyed knew that Alicia Keys is a rhythm and blues singer, but 35 of the 58 couldn't name a single U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Terry Headlee is executive editor of The Herald-Mail. He may be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7594, or by e-mail at terryh@herald-mail.com.

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