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THE IDLE AMERICAN
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 • Posted April 6, 2011

Double Takes in the News…

School superintendents and presidents of public higher education institutions no doubt did double takes—maybe triples—upon learning of Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst’s pronouncement on March 26. Editors re-arranged front page headlines; radio and TV anchors had new lead stories.

After all, Dewhurst’s bombshell that no education funding cuts are needed runs counter to Governor Rick Perry’s numbers by a few billion dollars. School heads read and re-read Dewhurst’s account, searching for small print, misprints or maybe a small asterisk noting a wilting disclaimer at article’s end.

One skeptic, maybe feeling foolish that he hadn’t already considered the possibility, chilled his colleagues with this thought: Maybe it was an April Fools’ Day story released five days early? Other shoes will drop on this hot potato issue….

* * * * *

Late columnist Molly Ivins, often outspoken and always colorful, feasted on goings-on in Austin. And that was when the state typically had the wherewithal to grant funding increases.

She was oft-quoted, and her musings remain all over the ‘net. One of her best described the legislature’s painting of itself into a small corner, then deciding there was nothing left to do but apply a second coat.

There was no middle ground for Molly, and that’s the way she liked it….

* * * * *

My Uncle Mort down in the thicket got lots of laughs from Molly, as well as his pastor, who is forever getting into predicaments. Last year the parson pressed the deacons to buy a "marquee on a two-wheel trailer."

He promised to change it regularly, and take careful mind to spelling, good taste and creativity. In Mort’s words, "He did pretty well in the summer months, usually filling up all four lines."

The parson’s fingers weren’t so nimble during the Super Bowl cold spell, when only two lines were needed for "MAPQUEST GOT YOU HERE—GOD GETS YOU THERE."

The deacons are hoping that his sermons will become as succinct as the marquee sign. Aunt Maude says if he had to wear her girdle and high heels, they’d never have to mention brevity to him….

* * * * *

The parson, sometimes excessive in his attention to detail, dropped by the cemetery a couple of hours before a funeral service was to begin. He judged the work to be no more than half done. (The two men with shovels were paid by the hour.)

"Think it’ll be ready when the service is over?" he asked.

One of the men, leaning on his shovel, seemed to have it all figured out. "If you ‘funeralize’ as long as you ‘sermonize,’ it’ll be ready with an hour to spare."…

* * * * *

Attention to grave detail, part two:

They said Elizabeth Taylor often mentioned that she’d be late to her own funeral.

And it came to pass; the service began 15 minutes after the announced time….

* * * * *

Good news, bolstered by a 15-year-old with religious convictions, common sense and uncommon judgment, is worth repeating. Kudos to the networks, ESPN, newspapers and other publications for giving generous coverage to the decision made "on his own" by Joel Northrup, a 112-pound sophomore wrestler in Iowa.

With a 35-4 season record, he qualified for the state tournament, but chose to default rather than compete against a female opponent. He’s due double kudos for doing the right thing. Iowa has 275,000 young men and 6,000 young ladies in a marquee sport begun there 85 years ago. So far, only two females have qualified for the state tournament.

It is surprising to learn that most states have co-ed wrestling. Though most states’ wrestling programs require girls to wrestle boys, five states—California, Hawaii, Texas, Washington and Tennessee—sponsor girls-only high school tournaments. (Hopefully, the legislature will let us keep separate wrestling rings.) May young Joel continue to demonstrate such values, courage and judgment….

* * * * *

I fall into the "equal opportunity" category of limited knowledge about wrestling and numerous other sports. For the life of me, I’ll never understand why some people consider bullfighting to be a sport.

A proper English woman visiting Mexico City asked a resident if bullfighting is, indeed, the country’s favorite sport. The resident nodded, and the visitor countered, "Isn’t it revolting!"

"No," the host responded. "Revolting is our second-favorite sport."…

* * * * *

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Send inquiries/comments to: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com.

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