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Q&A: Garrison Keillor taking break from weekly column

Keillor puts column on hold

For a long time, Garrison Keillor's column appeared each Saturday on the editorial page. Now it's missing. Is it going to return? I hope so.

Tribune Media Services, the Chicago syndicate that sells and distributes Garrison Keillor's weekly column, announced June 29 that Keillor "is taking a break from his weekly column so that he can finish a screenplay and start writing a novel." The duration of the leave is indefinite. His last column ran in the St. Petersburg Times on July 3.

Tim Nickens, editor of editorials for the Times, said: "We are big fans of Keillor and will resume running his column when he resumes writing it. It's unclear when that will be."

Keillor, 67, is best known for his Prairie Home Companion radio show that he started in 1974. He also wrote the screenplay for and appeared in the 2006 movie of the same name.

He's had some health issues, having heart surgery in 2001 and a mild stroke in 2009, but there's no indication health considerations were involved with this decision.

No scripts for meteorologists

The TV meteorologists give no indication that they are looking at a TelePrompTer or monitor, as they are walking back and forth continually. Are they looking at a monitor, listening to an earpiece or ad-libbing? As much TV time as they have, surely they are not ad-libbing.

We put this question to Mike Clay, chief meteorologist for Bay News 9, the Times' broadcast partner. He writes:

"All TV meteorologists ad-lib all of the time. In 20 years I've only known one TV weathercaster who put notes on a TelePrompTer, but that didn't work out too well. The monitors we look at have the on-air output.

"Yes, you have to know what you are talking about."

Currency conversion

In a recent copy of the Times, it said $1 equates to 0.7724 euros. What does this mean in layman's terms? And how do they figure out the rates?

It means it will cost you about $1.29 to buy 1 euro. That rate fluctuates, so you need to monitor it right up to the minute you need to make the exchange. There are many websites available to use. Just go to a search engine and punch in "converting dollars into euros" and you'll get a variety of choices.

How it works is a lesson in complex economics that can't adequately be summarized here. Economists will tell you that inflation, interest rates and trade value between the two countries whose currencies are being compared are the key factors. But there's a lot more that goes into it, including such things as natural disasters and political stability.

Q&A: Garrison Keillor taking break from weekly column 08/01/10 [Last modified: Sunday, August 1, 2010 4:30am]
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