The dog days of summer came early this year. So I’m outta here for a while. I’ve got a couple of writing projects to finish, which means my time off won’t be only fun and games. But I do intend to entertain myself. Besides, according to the archive, more than 850 entries have been posted since Straight Up was launched (two years ago, come Aug. 11). That’s an average of more than one a day, which is a lot of blogging. It ought to explain why I need a break — not even counting The Juice, my daily MSNBC.com blog, which preceded Straight Up. While I’m gone, a tireless staff of thousands may keep its hands in by posting “look back” items from the past two years. For instance, on Aug. 9, it might post a link to The Pharoah, The Outlaw, and The Hot Club, which ran on that date in 2004.