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The Idle American
Behold the Hail...
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 • Posted May 23, 2012

Jesus assures in St. Matthew that the gates of hell will never prevail against the church, but the Good Book is silent on protection from hail damage.

Lubbock minister David L. Wilson figures he’s got hail to deal with on this side of the River Jordan. Dr. and Mrs. Wilson built a new home in ’06 and are now on their third new roof. Hail wiped out the first one four years ago and provided a similar roof-pounding last month.

“The roofer asked if I wanted a 30-, 40- or 50-year shingle,” Wilson recalled. “I asked him to quote a price on a four-year roof.”…

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Michael Brown, a long ago Dallas TV newsman, often told a story about his short-lived stint as a TV weatherman.

“No one told me that the temperature numbers shouldn’t be stuck on the weather map until minutes before the telecast,” he explained. “The bright lights soften the wax, and soon, the numbers are not firmly attached.”

One evening, he warned of a cold front coming into Texas from Oklahoma. Brown glanced at the map, where the numbers were sliding downward. “Look, the temperatures are starting to fall already,” he defended….

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Adherents to Chicken Little’s claim that the sky is falling are growing greatly in number. Even when we “buys our ticket and takes our chances,” odds worsen by the day. And “tickets” cost more.

In our debt-ridden culture, the world groans about ever-growing demands on the pocketbook. “Nickel and diming” has given way to “dollar and 100-dollaring.”

A current example is a proposed new luggage carry-on policy by Spirit Airlines. If it doesn’t fit under the seat, they tack on another fee—$100 per bag….

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The new policy is fraught with “what if’s.” What if the guy in front of you weighs 400 pounds? A bag might fit there until he sits down.

What if one opts to fly without luggage, but sleeps fitfully the night before? Surely this couldn’t lead to an additional airline fee.

“That’ll be another $200,” the boarding agent may say, “$100 for the bag under each eye.”…

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The masses of us who can’t balance our checkbooks are heartened to learn that even the big guys “goof up,” sometimes “big time.” The nation’s largest bank, JPMorgan Chase, admits to losing $2 billion in six weeks.

Reasons given leave us with eyes crossed. Chase Bank brass blame “a trading portfolio designed to ‘hedge’ against risks the company takes with its own money.”

Such “hedging” shows that even the giants can get clipped. Maybe even scalped....

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Graduation season is often marked by “feel good” stories. One this year is about former Dallas Mavericks’ Coach Don Nelson crossing the stage to pick up his baccalaureate degree at the University of Iowa.

A half-century has passed since he left school a few hours short of graduation to pursue a career in professional basketball.

Some 40 family members and friends were in the audience to “whoop it up” for the hoopster, who turned age 72 three days after the ceremony. Shaquille O’Neal, former NBA great who received his doctorate the same day, inspired Nelson to finish requirements for the bachelor’s degree….

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In some of life’s arenas—as in some zoos—we draw lines, refusing to step across to acquire more knowledge—particularly about technology. (I send and receive emails, but I don’t text. I’ll break the “never say never” rule with the prediction that I’ll never join the ranks of texters.)

Maybe you read that six orangutans at Miami’s Jungle Island have been given iPads. It is one of several zoos experimenting with computers and apes. In Miami, the four younger ones are “catching on,” actually communicating in a mental stimulus program. The two older ones, however, ignore the iPads. I agree with oldsters. Some technology is not to be “monkeyed with.”

Final thought: There’s now an answer to the 19th century poet’s question: “What is so rare as a day in June?” How about almost any day in May that the Texas Rangers’ Josh Hamilton fails to swing a mighty bat?...

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Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Email: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com.

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