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A big news week by any standard
by Harry Spencer
Sep 03, 2012 | 4224 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week by any measure was a big week in the news. The main story, the Republican Convention, was overshadowed by Hurricane Isaac. In fact, the hurricane caused the convention to be shortened to three days instead of four.

Having witnessed a couple of hurricanes in Florida while I was in high school, I can remember that the wind sounds more like a locomotive than something in the air. Peeking through the slits in the outside wooden shutters and seeing palm trees bent almost to the ground was a startling experience.

Fortunately, we never suffered any heavy damage from these hurricanes. Actually, we would stay on the beach testing the wind and the waves until we were herded off by officials. A hurricane was a mixed blessing in those days since it meant that school would be closed for the duration of the storm.

Watching the aftermath of Isaac on television, the flooding was the worst part. But the wind damage to the city of New Orleans was much lighter than projected.

As to the Republican Convention’s final night, the major discussion on the following Friday was the performance of the mystery guest Clint Eastwood. In a rambling put down of President Obama, Eastwood “winged it” for twice his allotted time. His was the only carefully unscripted presentation of the evening. On Friday morning, the Twitter crowd was going crazy with even President Obama issuing one. The obvious reason that Eastwood was chosen to appear was that he was to counter the supposedly 100 percent of Tinseltown support for the President. Clint’s rebuttal to the liberal celebrities was, “We (conservatives) don’t go ‘hot-dogging’ around.”

It was fitting that the backdrop for Eastwood’s performance was a silhouette of him as “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” which he has often said was his favorite movie role. The use of the “empty chair” is an old political standby used when the candidate is unable to get his rival to participate in debate. The mainstream media outlets were beside themselves on Friday with expressions such as “vulgar,” “drunken,” and “almost senile.”

Knowing Clint, as I do personally from the time he was the main attraction at the Celebrity Tennis Tournament at Lake Tahoe in 1975, I was not surprised by his performance. Unlike most celebrities, he is a natural and down-to-earth man. At one point during his Tahoe visit, he and I chanced to tour several places on the North Shore of the lake in his state-of-the-art GMC RV. The vehicle was well equipped and included an ice chest full of cold beer. Clint and I were able to “crack” a few on the trip. When I asked him what his next movie would be, he replied that he hadn’t done a Western for a while and he had a script for “Josey Wales.” I asked him where he would be filming, and he replied in nearby Oroville, California. I noted that my son, Hugh, was an excellent horseman and would appreciate the chance to work in the movie. Clint’s response was to give me the name and phone number of an Assistant Director, whom I later contacted, and my son auditioned and got a speaking part in the film.

I spent a lot of time with Clint during the tournament on the court and at the social functions. At all times his conduct underscored the fact that he was just a regular guy.

As referred to at the top of this column, we had an editor’s delight with the above stories as well as the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon.

On the local scene, the major story of the week was the news that University of Nevada, Reno Athletic Director, Carey Groth, announced she was retiring at the end of the school year. Reaction to the news was mixed at best with some praising her and others saying it was time for her to go. “Burning Man” was another hot topic. The first event to be nationally televised at Norm Dianda’s Motorsport Complex garnered quite a bit of space. Also, the long-awaited opening of the I-580 portion between Reno and Carson City is proving to change the business climate on old 395.

All in all, it was a week to warm the cockles of the heart of any Editor in Chief worth his salt.
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