Monday Midday AARP: Dog Days of August


You guys. This is precisely how I feel today. My chin just almost hit the keyboard typing this sentence.
In midday news headlines: McDonald's is doing quite well - thanks so much for buying their coffee, y'all! Former NYC mayor Ed Koch is on a crusade to remake New York state government - but is anyone paying attention? (Koch: "You're either on the side of the angels, or you're a bum. And if the angels betray their pledges, I'm going to run around the state screaming, 'Liar, liar, pants on fire!'") Also: Deportations of illegal immigrants have gone up, but students enrolled in universities are being allowed to stay. And as the oil spill cleanup switches to "aftermath" mode, everyone's promising not to forget about the Gulf - but the Gulf's residents remain unconvinced. And in sad Monday news: actress Patricia Neal has passed away.
Your great sports profile of the day: Joe Posnanski profiles Rafer Johnson.
The funny thing about the torch lighting is that a lot of young people did not know who Rafer Johnson was when he began to climb the stairs. They needed a television announcer to explain that Johnson had won the 1960 Olympic decathlon gold medal in a duel with his good friend C.K. Yang, and he was the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 1958, and a two-time world record holder, and an actor, and an activist and a sportscaster and a speaker ... these quick explanations somehow fell short.
But ... there was something in the grace with which the 49-year-old man ran that told a larger story. To watch him climb those stairs, the choir singing around him, then to reach the top, hold out the torch to the crowd, light the cauldron and then stand there under the burning Olympic rings ... well, you didn't have to know the stories to know that there was something extraordinary about the man and his life.

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