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The Idle American
Politics and Paint Brushes...
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 • Posted November 30, 2011

The only records my Uncle Mort may one day claim will be measured in breadth or depth. He has to be a contender in the leaping contest—the one for “jumpers” to conclusions—as well as the timed event for arrival at the bottom line.He’s done bunches of both during his 99 years on the planet, blissfully ignoring facts along the way.Sometimes he gets to bottom lines before wet paint signs have been removed….*****He had politics and painting on his mind when he phoned yesterday. “I hate to paint with a broad brush,” he blurted. “But it seems to me Rick Perry is growing weary in his presidential pursuit. He’d enjoy life more if he simply walked away from politics.”Mort recounted how Governor Perry has been immersed in little other than politics as an adult, and that he might well enjoy fresh air in the great outdoors. “There’s much to be said for leaving political wars to others,” Mort maintained. “Personally, I think he ought to take up painting.”I questioned whether Perry might most enjoy landscapes, seascapes or still life. “None of them,” Mort countered. “I was thinkin’ barns, deer blinds and fences—after he’s slapped a second coat on that rock by the hunting camp gate.” (Aside: It was such a temptation to mention “Cain Mutiny” and “Perry-less seas.”)…*****Over the course of a half-century in public speaking, it occurs that at many confabs scheduled over periods of several days, others have spoken of the sublime, leaving me to address the ridiculous. To wit, during a week-long national convention of muffler installers in Atlanta, my role was to provide 30 minutes of “comic relief” at the mid-week banquet.That was my assignment a few nights ago for a gathering hosted by the Texas Association of Hostage Negotiators. Some 300 participants from throughout the region—and some from around the world—underwent a week of serious training—except, of course, for the mid-week banquet. (Before receiving the speaking request, I didn’t know such an organization existed.)Parallels were drawn between the hostage negotiators and the muffler installers. “Both have to deal with lots of hot air and try to keep things as quiet as possible,” I said. (They had a $43 per plate dinner that had lots of forks. You don’t want to know the price tag they had on the meal before the figure was negotiated.)…*****Terry Morrow, a Jacksonville resident who is a veteran member of the Tyler Police Department, has been a board member since joining the association a dozen years ago.Having answered “12” to questions about length of membership and years on the board, he spent the rest of the week answering “12” to virtually all questions sent his way.They didn’t buy it, though, when he claimed to be 12 years of age on his birthday that coincided with the final day of the conference—Friday, 11/11/11….*****Overheard recently: “I’m as nervous as a lab rat at Penn State.”One of the rodents—seeking a way out—accepted a slot on a rocket ship scheduled for a Mars Mission. “Are you out of your mind?” his buddy queried.“Well, it was either that or cancer research,” he answered….*****From “rats” to terriers: A dog-fancying friend says he always chooses veterinarians based on their “pet-side” manner.And for a closer, I choose a duck that waddles into the feed store daily to learn if they have duck food. “Nope, just cow, horse, hog, chicken, sheep and goat feed,” answers the store clerk each time. Finally, tiring of the same question, the clerk changes his answer: “We have no duck food—today, yesterday or tomorrow. If you come in here tomorrow with the same old question, I intend to nail your little webbed feet to the floor. Do you understand?”The duck gave an affirmative quack, but waddled into the store again the following day, this time with a different query: “Got any hammers?... (Nope) Got any nails?... (Nope) Got any duck food?”…*****

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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