1. It’s Monday, July 31, 2017. Seven months down, five to go.

2. It’s the 52nd birthday of J.K. Rowling, who gave the same birthday to her most famous creation.

Heart is what makes the Harry Potter books stand out from anything else written in this genre. Rowling put humanity on extrahuman activity, and made her characters – even the evil ones – special people.

It’s why these books have so much power – my grown kids still talk lovingly about reading them. And while the movies are really good in their own right, there is nothing quite as moving as reading the words on a page. Rowling poured her heart into her writing, and it’s there for anyone to share.

3. I have to thank my wife for introducing me to the work of Sam Shepard.

Not the acting part – I saw “The Right Stuff” on my own and thought his Chuck Yeager was an iconic film character.

But his plays. The first one we saw was “Fool for Love,” more than 30 years ago. Most recently, we saw the amazing New Group production of “Buried Child” starring two of Shepard’s longtime collaborators, Ed Harris and Amy Madigan.

The plays were complicated, intense looks at American life. They weren’t about the joys of suburbia but rather the struggles of people scraping by or troubled by sins of the past.

One thing a Sam Shepard play guaranteed: Your mind was going to turn for hours, both during and after.

The ability to do that is a great legacy to leave.

4. In the last hour or so, the reports that Anthony Scaramucci is out as White House Communications Director flashed across Twitter with a joy that seems both perverse and yet irresistible. 

Here’s a thought: Scaramucci is real Trump. What you saw in this 11-day supernova flashing across the Washington sky is what’s really sitting at the desk in the Oval Office.

What you’re going to see for a little while – how little is anyone’s guess – is how Trump can act like how he and his handlers imagine a president acts. John Kelly will try to organize the West Wing in military fashion, and he might have some initial success.

But that Twitter app is too much a lure for Trump. Something will happen. It might get us past his upcoming vacation in New Jersey.

After Labor Day, all bets are off.

5. Now that Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, has been found guilty of contempt of court, I wonder if law enforcement will heed the words of Trump and not go easy on criminals.

Arpaio is famous for flouting federal judges’ orders to stop his roundups of immigrants. He also was among the more prominent birthers, insisting that President Obama’s birth certificate in forgery.

I don’t care that he’s 85 years old. I’d love to see the odious Arpaio behind bars. Perhaps in a pink jumpsuit.


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