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• Some of the days this summer felt like boot camp for an ugly afterlife.

• Political transparency is an oxymoron.

• The Cubs seem to have cashed in this season for moneyball; Wrigley still sells out. Go figure.

• A Curiosity Shoppe has opened for business on Mars.

• The Olympics. Isn’t it amazing what the human body can do? If only the human spirit could shape up to eliminate the violence among us.

• The weather in London deserved a gold medal all its own.

• The media make it feel like Da Bears have already won the Super Bowl. Let’s see what the regular season has to say about that.

• Assault weapons on our streets, in our homes, in our theaters, now in our churches are an assault on our collective sanity; ditto for most guns.

• The most shameful thing about Penn State is…Penn State; double ditto for the Catholic Church.

• Social networking is trying hard to prove that technology is not making us smarter, just quicker at “doing dumb.”

• How much worse can the presidential campaigning get? Well, there are still the Conventions.

• Robin Ventura’s debut with the White Sox is everything good for Chicago.

• Next up: Couch Potato Olympics – with such events as snack dashes, remote and replay races, trivia tosses, potty break endurance marks, etc.

• Does it concern anyone that what used to be a million bucks in our minds is now a billion?

• Last but far from least, the next 75 days or so will be a crash course in Democracy – the good, the bad, the really ugly – for all of us. Listen up – and vote.