Thoughts on this, that and the other thing.

A hodgepodge of thoughts yours truly has pondered of late:


    -- Happy first day of summer! Oh, it's not official for another 2 1/2 weeks? Well, around here folks tend to look at the first Monday after the last day of school as the first day of summer. So for those communities whose kids were done with school the week before Memorial Day, the holiday kicked it off.


    So, would it not be simpler for all of the United States to start school on the closest Monday to the first official day of fall in late September and end it on the Friday before or on the first official day of summer, which is June 20 or 21? Knowing exactly when school begins and ends throughout their children's primary and secondary education, parents can sync their vacations for 13+ years. There'd be no confusion from year to year as when those dates are. School-age friends living in different cities would no longer find themselves discussing when each other's school year ends and begins to plan their visits.  And with everyone being on the same track, we'd be able to plan summer events such as reunions and weddings without worrying about cutting into far-away relatives' school calendar.


    I do have relatives and friends in the Twin Cities and in other states whose school year runs closer to the true seasons. They're just fine with it, but then again, they've never known it to be any other way. 


    Of course, switching gears so drastically would take a bit of adjustment for those whose school year rarely or barely extends into June. Parks & Rec activities for summer and fall as well as school sports schedules would need to be altered. It could also take a few years for our mindsets, not to mention our biological clocks, to get used to this new system.


    Wait a minute, why do I even care? In three years, I'll be done with all this school stuff.


    -- Something's been really irking me about the Internet lately and I'm sure if I've noticed, a lot of others have as well. I'm talking about these ads that come up on nearly every site, ads that are seemingly personalized to me.


    For example, I have ordered clothes from a couple of retailers online. Now, every time I play one of my games or check out a story, in the corner or on the side of the website I catch glimpses of shirts, dresses and shoes offered through these and similar shops scrolling along. Local political ads are also starting to pop up on every website I click, but not as a pop-up. They seem to be embedded into the page.


    So that hefty bill we pay to use the Internet every month is also paying for all these annoying ads to crop and pop up? Pop-up blockers only go so far, and they don't work on these. The technology employed somehow allows the ads to waft across the web.


    My question is: How do I get one of these ads and how much does it cost? I'm thinking I could really make a statement about someone or something with this. Hmm, who are my enemies and how could I embarrass them?


    -- With Richard Dawson, another great game-show personality bites the dust. I say personality because, not only was he the original and by far the best host of "Family Feud," but prior to that one of the favorite regulars on "Match Game." He was the last of the show's trio of regular celebrity panelists to go, with the deaths in 2007 of Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers.


    As both a game-show host and panelist, Richard was smooth, charming and not bad looking, although one could detect a bit of smug pomposity underneath it all. He appeared very confident of himself, especially when it came time to kiss the ladies on The Feud.


    But that was his style, his signature, and if he had somehow forgotten to plant one on one of the adult female contestants, everyone surely would have noticed. And that poor woman would have undoubtedly been totally devastated. As far as I know, that never happened.


    Several incarnations of the show have met with varied success, but none of the five hosts since have come close to displaying the flair and finesse that Richard did. Granted, each brought his own style to the role, but Richard was king of the hill. This seems to fall under what I call the originator syndrome – people like the original version of a show, movie, song, etc. best, as it's the one they're most familiar with and in their minds, all others pale in comparison.


    Lest we forget, Richard was first an actor-comedian, having been in one of the after-school rerun sitcoms of my childhood, "Hogan's Heroes," which eventually led to his game-show career that made the Brit a household name in America. 


    Here's to the Feud Originator, may you find plenty of families to moderate where you are now.