Five by 8 – 6/15/10: Farewell to a cop

Duy Ngo’s funeral, the futility of the crossword puzzle, Leonard Nimoy retires, lightning strikes a Jesus statue, and born to be mild in Sturgis.

1) Yesterday’s funeral for Minneapolis police officer Duy Ngo, the officer who was shot many times by another cop and then spent years recovering from those wounds and others inflicted by his own department before he finally killed himself, featured the honor he was denied in life, the Pioneer Press’ Ruben Rosario skillfully writes today,

Now, the service was interesting, because it was not that long ago that the Catholic Church considered suicide a mortal sin. You killed yourself, and you spent eternity in hell. No ifs, ands or buts.

In his eulogy, the Rev. Kenneth O’Hotto talked about Ngo’s devotion to police work since youth and that he “lived and breathed being a police officer.”

O’Hotto, a police chaplain as well as the pastor of St. Michael’s Church in West St. Paul, noted the effects of the 2003 shooting that manifested themselves in “personal and professional challenges,” which he said became too heavy for Ngo to bear.

I’ve been working on a post for a few days about how cities are treating their disabled cops. If you have insight you’d like to share, feel free to contact me.

2) Disappointing — and underreported — news came out of an independent government panel yesterday. It wasconsidering ways to prevent or control the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and determined that few of the medically recommended practices makes much difference.

You haven’t wasted your time on the crossword puzzles, but you haven’t gained much, either, Time reports.

However weakly, though, the review did support what doctors know about risk factors for cognitive decline: smoking, diabetes, depression, metabolic syndrome (the constellation of conditions including high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol that are associated with heart disease and diabetes) and specific gene variants were all linked with increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, preventive behaviors such as eating a Mediterranean diet (high in fruits and vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats), exercising, maintaining cognitive engagement (doing puzzles, learning new things) and fostering extensive social relationships were linked to a lower risk.

The problem is that none of these relationships were particularly robust, the authors say. And none were strong enough to justify recommending the behaviors to people who want to prevent or slow down the onset of dementia.

3) Leonard Nimoy has announced his retirement from acting. He spoke at the Hero Complex Film Festival in Los Angeles. His final words were fitting.

 4) A giant statue of Jesus outside of a church near Cincinnati was struck by lightning last night. That’s going to be some sermon next Sunday.

5) From the Department of Born To Be Mild: Every year more than 500,000 motorcycle enthusiasts meet in South Dakota for the legendary Sturgis Rally. The area is busy this week but it’s not because of motorcycles. Sturgis is being inundated with hundreds of Cushman scooter fans. They were offered the chance to “play where the big boys play.”Bonus: Summer camp for dogs.TODAY’S QUESTION

President Obama will address the nation tonight about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. What do you want to hear from the president?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: It’s generally assumed that our brains become less sharp as we age, but a new book suggests the brain can actually improve with age, and that the middle-age brain is surprisingly stronger in some areas than the younger brain. Guest: Barbara Strauch, deputy science editor for the New York Times and author of “The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain.”

Second hour: Emerald ash borers are expected to spread in Minnesota. But Minnesota plant scientists may introduce a natural enemy to the ash borer later this summer: it’s a tiny wasp whose young feed on the slightly larger emerald ash borer larvae.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: A preview of President Obama’s first Oval Office address to the nation.

Second hour: A live broadcast from the National Press Club, by Paul Steiger of the investigative journalism organization Pro Publica. It partnered with National Public Radio last week for the series on traumatic brain injuries of U.S. soldiers.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Advice for the next intelligence chief. When President Obama introduced James Clapper, his nominee for Director of National Intelligence, he said he hoped he would lead an intelligence community that produced quality, timely and accurate intelligence.

Second hour: From baby talk to antidisestablishmentarianism, kids love language, according to linguist David Crystal. Now, he’s published a new history of language,

written explicitly for a young audience with loads to learn for everybody.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – MPR’s Chris Roberts profiles Paul Wirtz, the go-to piano teacher for the state’s most gifted young pianists, aged 4-17.

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