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Darts and laurels

Laurels to simple ideas that can make a difference in peopleís lives ó like putting up seven new bus stop shelters at heavily traveled points around Salisbury. If you donít regularly ride a city bus, it probably doesnít matter to you. But think back to some of the rainy, sleety mornings when you stood on the roadside waiting for the school bus that always seemed to be running behind on soggy days. A roof offers protection against the elements, while a bench can be a welcome respite for tired legs or aching feet. Thanks to a grant, City Council was able to secure this project with a 10 percent match of $8,407 (which will come from other Community Development Block Grant funds). Itís money well spent. Government leaders canít protect us from lifeís storms, but they can sometimes be a bulwark against bad weather.

Dart to Albert Pujols. Why criticize a great baseball player who tested the free-agent market and wound up Thursday with a 10-year, $254 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels? It just illustrates once again the absurdity of the top-echelon professional sports paydays and how closely they resemble the head-scratching, multi-million-dollar salaries, stock options and bonuses dished out to corporate executives who often fail to improve a companyís performance. Is Albert Pujols really worth $156,790 a game over the next 10 years? And a decade from now, when Pujols is 41 (some people say he is older than he claims), will he still be worth $25.4 million a season? Baseball fans will pay for this craziness. In 2010, the average cost of taking a family of four to a major league baseball game was $195. The price just went up.

Laurels to space exploration and the marvels it reveals. We got a double dose of that this past week, with the announcement of two discoveries. Scientists have discovered an Earthlike plant in another galaxy, far, far away, that orbits its sun in the so-called ěGoldilocks zone,î with temperatures amenable for the presence of liquid water and perhaps even some form of life. While astronomers and physicists have long posited the existence of planets similar to ours, the Kepler telescope discovery was the most tangible proof to date that theyíre out there. The other announcement concerned the discovery of two super-massive black holes, the strange phenomena which exert a gravitational pull so strong not even light can escape. While the future of manned space missions is uncertain, exploration continues, thanks to increasingly sophisticated devices that enable earthbound scientists to probe ever deeper into the universeís mysteries.

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