• ONE FLU OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST: The Louisiana Dept. of Health and Hospitals releases its Influenza Surveillance Report through the month of August. Meanwhile, pharmacies around the metro area have begun giving this year's flu jab, but (as you probably know) it's just for plain boring old flu, not the H1N1 strain. That inoculation should be ready later this fall ...
• THE GOLDEN CAGE OF FILM: Nicolas Cage to shoot another movie here in January. This one's called The Hungry Rabbit Jumps, after which he'll remain in the state to shoot Drive Angry, a 3D revenge flick.
• LIP UP, DITKA: After Mike Ditka disses the Bears, Chicago sports guy Eamonn Brennan has two words for the former Saints coach: Shut up:
What's not his job is to be so condescending, to act like any Bears team that wasn't a part of his era is inferior. Since his heyday with the Bears, Ditka has had exactly zero in the way of actual football success. His post-1985 years were marked by a DWI, tirades with fans, retirement, and then a return in 1997 with the New Orleans Saints in which Ditka traded every single draft pick for Ricky Williams. Ditka not only didn't win in New Orleans; he crippled the franchise for years.
I thought they loved Ditka up there. God knows we tried to.
• AND FINALLY: Scandal in the classroom!
Former NFL star Archie Manning and his two sons, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton and Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants signal-caller, wrote their first book together, a children's book called "Family Huddle."....
According to the Manning brothers, besides their love of their game, the "Family Huddle" has a larger message, which is to hit the books.
"You have to read. Your education is so important," Eli said. "From a young age getting off to a great start. And I think athletics and sports are important in building character and hard work, but a lot of these things carry into schools and doing your school work and learn to go read. And I think that's so important in a child's life."
Telling kids to work hard? Communist socialist indoctrination!