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The Idle American
"Go Ahead: Name Something..."
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 • Posted June 5, 2013

Worthy cause enthusiasts postpone sleep until wee hours—sometimes beyond—trying to come up with names for days, weeks or months that might reap the highest order of recognition. Such names—or slogans—or other IDs—typically result in folks opening checkbooks to extend financial support.

One would have a difficult time finding a more successful group than the one for breast cancer research. The world seems awash in things pink; contributions come from millions of donors.

There are far more “causes” than there are calendars to accommodate, with local, regional and national lists numbering into tens of thousands. Try to tally ‘em and risk serious eye-rolling….


As surely as yeast rises, such lists grow with exceeding rapidity.

Some of ‘em, of course, seem more for grins than impact. Take Jeff and Anne Horch—young marrieds with a quartet of toddlers—three ages two and under. They’re in the midst of potty training, calling it-“pottypalooza.”

A “right” of passage?...


If Will Rogers were still alive, he might not credit newspapers for supplying ALL he knows, but I have a notion the printed page would still provide most of his material.

Writers help us to feel better about ourselves. Their accounts of generosity extended by so many in so many ways give us light in a world too often dark.

Cases in point: Heroism following the fire/explosion tragedy in West, Texas, as well as tornadoes in Granbury, Cleburne and Ennis, TX, and Moore, OK. How about OKC Thunder basketball star Kevin Durant signing a $1,000,000 check for tornado victims?...


Successes marked by school and college graduation provide encouragement. They are countless.

So are remarkable feats accomplished despite overwhelming odds. How about that Plano West HS athlete who helped his team advance to the recent baseball play-offs? His name is Blake Bruce, and he was born with two club feet. He brought a 3-1 pitching record into the playoffs. He’s also an effective outfielder, thanks to a quick first step.

His early years were marked by surgeries, pins and casts, and he was finally able to walk at age two. His mother joins the rest of us in amazement: “All I ever wanted for him was to be able to walk.”…


Who among us are not impressed by folks who excel in two or more professions with night and day differences? I realize that appreciating music doesn’t mean we’ll become accomplished on an instrument, or that visits to museums don’t mean we’ll make it as artists. Particularly intriguing to me are people handy in car repair. I find a deep sense of accomplishment in adding water to the radiator without anyone being scalded and replacing caps on valve stems without cross-threading.

Then there are “Click and Clack,” a pair of mechanical geniuses who also happen to be great communicators. Only in recent years have I read their weekly column that runs in hundreds of newspapers. (The brothers’ real names are Tom and Ray Magliozzi, ages 75 and 64, respectively.)

They have “Bombeck humor qualities,” entertaining as well as informing….


In a recent column, they provided suggestions for frequenting auto junkyards—uh, “automotive recycling centers.”

For “do-it-yourselfers,” they suggest the importance of buying items still in the “donor car.”

The main reason for this practice is so buyers will know where the stuff has been.

“Get in the car and take a deep breath,” Ray said. “You don’t want to install seats in your wife’s car only to find out that they were in the car of an old lady who drove around all day with her eight male cats while chain-smoking Cuban cigars.”…


The Magliozzi’s “Car Talk” on National Public Radio ended its 25-year run in 2012. Don’t fall victim to withdrawal pains—NPR is offering re-runs.

When they announced “retirement” last year, their blog indicated they “plan to get even lazier.”

I’ll take their columns, even if re-prints, and I’ll love their radio shows, even if re-broadcasts. I don’t expect to make it as a mechanic, but vow exhaustive efforts to “appropriate” some of their humor. Count me in if a day, a week, a month, a year—shoot, even a decade—is ever named for these zany brothers….


Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Speaking inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Twitter: @donnewbury. Web site:

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