When the Jet's All Blue

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 that we were warned several months ago to “save the date.”

Now, he’s scurrying around the thicket 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 paint ball wars, wild cow milking and acrobatic rides in an open cockpit biplane.”

JetBlue takes to the airways.

“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 that occurs on a regular basis in our world. Case in point was the diversion to Amarillo of JetBlue’s Flight 191 from New York City to Las Vegas.

“Initially, I would have guessed that if a pilot diverts his airliner from Las Vegas to Amarillo, he may have one whale of a gambling problem,” Mort opined.

He admitted another scenario possibility, albeit less likely. Maybe the pilot wanted to take one more stab at consuming a seventy-two-ounce. steak at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo. (The feat has been accomplished some 2,500 times in the past fifty years.

Customers downing the massive cut in an hour get full refunds. Elie Ghattas, a professional football player for the New Orleans Saints in the 1960’s, successfully took on the challenge three times during a four-year period. Drafted out of Ball State at  No. 411 in the seventeenth round of the NFL draft, the 6-2, 245-pound gridman never played in a Saints’ game, but he sure could eat steak. He replaced Klondike Bill as the Big Texan champ.)

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 that make?”

“It makes a lot of difference,” the controller responded. “If you are Trans World Airlines, it’s 2300 hours. If you are American Airlines, it’s eleven in the morning. 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 thirty-five-year career in aviation when Braniff took to the skies 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, ninety-something, enjoyed a plane ride over Surprise, Arizona, where welcome signs claim “mid-life begins at seventy.” At the controls was his twenty-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 one of the plants in Amarillo, two hundred workers are idled.

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

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


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