Getting into a summer state of mind

Wow, the weather certainly turned on a dime, didn’t it? It has my mind wandering and I’m in a summer kind of mood …

* If I were giving a speech at a local graduation (don’t worry, I’m not), I’d tell the new grads to be their own person and stand up for what they believe in. Be leaders in words and actions, and don’t become part of the anonymous generation, hurling insults and name calling behind anonymity. A man’s word is his bond, and more importantly – Say what you mean, mean what you say.

* I understand the need to bring road salt in to prepare for next winter, but that darn pile starting to grow again sure puts a damper on the warmer weather, which didn’t even come to Northeast Michigan until recently. Now that’s really pouring salt in the wound.

* The price they are talking about for the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers is beyond ridiculous. Steve Ballmer, former Microsoft CEO, put in a $2 billion offer that was accepted. This isn’t about the obscene costs of sports and entertainment because that ship sailed 30 years ago. The Clippers are the No. 4 sports team in Los Angeles on their very best day. Only recently have they had any measure of sustained succcess, so the value is questionable.

The Lakers and Dodgers are the top dogs, and USC football is No. 3. It could be argued the Angels and UCLA are bigger as well, with the Kings battling the Clippers for No. 6. Just imagine if the NFL finally gets a team in L.A., the Clippers could be the seventh sports option. Rich people with too much money on their hands looking to lose some cash were lining up to buy the team.

The only reason the team is a hot commodity is because of “I’m Not a Racist” Don Sterling’s big mouth. If he just sold the team without all the publicity the price people are willing to pay for it wouldn’t be nearly as high.

* Speaking of money, a couple of lawsuits have me scratching my head. The first is the lawsuit being brought against Led Zeppelin relating to “Stairway to Heaven,” the second is one being brought against, in part, Sixto Rodriguez.

In the Led Zeppelin case, the first thing that jumps out is the song is 43 years old. Why did it take this long to file suit? Second, the guitarist in question who the attorney represents died in 1997. Randy California has been dead for 17 years, so the attorney looks like a money chaser – which he is because he’s tried to sue over a song before. He sued Usher and 19 others for “Bad Girl” and was admonished in court for his behavior. Apparently he misled the plaintiff’s songwriting partner into believing he was a witness when in fact he was a defendant.

If you don’t recognize the name Sixto Rodriguez, he was the subject of the documentary “Searching for Sugar Man,” which was released two years ago. He’s being included in a lawsuit over songs on an album he released … in 1970. What is with all the 40-year-old song lawsuits? Of course this suit probably wouldn’t have been brought at all if not for the documentary and the notoriety it brought to Rodriguez and his music recently.

* There certainly is a distinct difference in traffic in Alpena. You can always tell when the snowbirds return from down south, and then it slowly gets a bit busier until Memorial Day weekend. Then it’s like a completely different driving experience around town. Imagine the change next year when Meijer opens and other development takes place.

* So Google is going to build and launch vehicles that can operate without human involvement. They won’t have a steering wheel, or gas and break pedals. With as many errors as navigation systems make when people are traveling, how much would you trust a vehicle to not make a wrong turn or make a sudden stop without prompting? I guess a driver who gets pulled over for a traffic violation could blame it on the car in order to get out of a ticket. Like that would work, the car couldn’t flirt with the officer. Maybe Google could install a sexy computer-generated voice to try and talk its way out of the ticket.

* We released our annual graduation tab this week with the top students from area schools. It would have been nice to run Rachel Nave’s full senior picture instead of just a headshot of the Onaway grad because it was the best senior picture I have ever seen. It was clever and had a theme to it.

* Do you have your Fourth of July fireworks button yet? The deadline is drawing near and the chamber is getting close to its goal, but it’s not there yet. Make sure to get one from a Chamber Ambassador, or stop by the chamber and pick one up. The last-chance street sale is June 11 in front of True North Radio. It would be nice if that sale were a windfall.

Steve Murch can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5686. Follow Steve on Twitter at sm_alpenanews. Read his blog, Pardon, Me But … at