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The Idle American
Hitch in Uncle Mort's "Git-Along"...
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 • Posted April 11, 2012

Uncle Mort, my beloved kin, urges family and friends to avoid “putting big pots in little ones” as his 100th birthday on July 4 approaches. He’d rather do it himself. (Keep in mind his notice several months ago to “save the date.”)

Now, he’s scurrying around to schedule back surgery the doctor has recommended unless Mort plans to “take things easy.” Mort has no such plans, and will NOT allow a back problem to reduce his “partying” to handshakes, checkers/dominoes and “up to four puffs of blowing” for “candle-snuffing.”

“Let’s schedule the surgery right away, then,” Mort answered. “I’ve got lots of party plans, including paintball wars, wild cow milking and acrobatic rides in an open cockpit biplane.”…


“I had no clue that surgery requires so much coordination,” Mort said. “Surgeons like to work early and tattoo artists prefer late hours. It’s gonna take both of ‘em.”

What? I was puzzled about the need for an artist, forgetting that Uncle Mort came across a new tattoo shop in Houston years ago. A sign offered free tattoos to the first 10 patrons. He got a butterfly tattoo on his lower back, exactly where the incision will be made.

“The doctor said he couldn’t guarantee to get the butterfly wings even when he closes the incision, so I figured it would be best to have the tattoo artist there to back him up,” Mort explained….


My uncle is having a hard time processing all the “you ain’t gonna believe this” stuff going on in our world. Case in point was the diversion to Amarillo of JetBlue’s Flight 191 from New York City to Las Vegas.

“Typically, I would guess that if a pilot diverts his airliner from Las Vegas to Amarillo, he may have one whale of a gambling problem,” Mort opined.He admits another scenario possibility. Maybe the pilot wanted to take one more stab at downing the 72-oz. steak at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo. (Background: The feat has been attempted more than 87,500 times during the past half-century, and some 9,500 have made good on the “free grub” offer when completed in an hour. The “champion” is Elie Ghattas, an NFL draftee of the New Orleans Saints in the 1960’s. Drafted #411 in 1968’s 17th round, he succeeded in all three tries during a four-year period. The 6-2, 245-pounder never played a down for the Saints, but he sure could down steaks. Two other “noteworthies:” Klondike Bill collected twice in one hour in 1963, and Rich LeFevre did the same thing in 1999. LeFevre, on a TV show with Donnie and Marie, came on the set weighing 134, and walked away at 143.)…


Someone said JetBlue should be renamed “Jet Red-Faced.” That was the color of a pilot’s face decades ago when he radioed the control tower to check the exact time. “Which airline are you with?” the tower operator asked. The pilot answered defensively, “What difference does it make?”

“It makes a lot of difference,” the controller responded. “If you’re Trans World Airlines, it’s 2300 hours. If you’re American Airlines, it’s 11 p.m. If you’re Eastern Airlines, the little hand is on the ‘11’ and the big hand is on the ‘12.’ And if you’re Trans Texas Airways, it’s Saturday night.”…


One last aviation note: Charles Murphy began a 35-year career in aviation when Braniff took flight in 1945. His son now flies for Southwest Airlines.

Murphy enjoyed a “picture perfect” day recently. A huge Texas Rangers fan, he took in a spring training game with his son and grandson. The same morning, Murphy, 90-something, enjoyed a plane ride over Surprise, AZ, where welcome signs claim “mid-life begins at 70.” At the controls was his 20-year-old grandson, a third-generation pilot.

If you see a guy at the ballpark wearing an “I-started-with-Braniff” lapel pin, say “hello” to Charlie. He might even share a handful of his two-foot-long hotdog with you….


What with all the negative publicity associated with “pink slime,” three of the four plants turning out the filler have halted operations.

At the Amarillo plant, 200 workers are idled.

Anyone else notice that all the “pink slime” news was followed by the Texas Rangers’ announcement of their new, $26 hotdog? Surely there’s no connection….


Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site:

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