1. Escorted by George W. Bush, the prime minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi, paid a visit to Graceland last week. The VIPs also dined at The Rendezvous and dropped by the National Civil Rights Museum. Just like a group of typical tourists -- except for the couple hundred Secret Service agents and the fact that our visitors came and went aboard a little plane called Air Force One. Memphis hasn't seen such important visitors since -- well, since longer than we can remember.
2. Community leaders held meetings and vigils to ponder why so many children have been shot or killed in our city in recent weeks. One rap artist told reporters, "These kids are just cowards. They get a gun and don't shoot someone up close. They just start shooting from 10 yards away." Uh, with all due respect, we don't care if it's 10 inches, 10 feet, 10 yards, or 10 blocks. Stop shooting our kids.
3. A large asteroid -- called by scientists "2004 XP14" -- flew within 250,000 miles of the Earth Monday night. This is the closest an object from space has come to our planet in more than 80 years. Although in astronomical terms this was a mighty close call, gosh, we didn't feel a thing.
4. Shelby County Commissioner Walter Bailey was assaulted while waiting in line at a downtown restaurant. This is really getting depressing. Is no place -- and nobody -- safe in Memphis anymore?