Both Ends Against the Middle?

Published 10:45 am Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

   If the old joke had whiskers, they’d drag the floor. You’ve heard it–the one about a church with two worship services held concurrently at opposite ends of the building. The pastor announced baptismal services for the upcoming Sunday, with “infants to be baptized at both ends.”

Switch now to the “here and now.” A recently renovated Texas church also has concurrent services–one in the sanctuary and the other in a new, all-purpose venue down the hall, more than the length of a football field away. Each service, as one might guess, has age-sensitive music styles.

The pastor preaches “live” at one of the venues each week. He issued a warning to congregants in whichever auditorium he’s “piped in” via video on giant screens. “Remote controls have been removed. Don’t even think of changing the channel.”

Speaking of channels, TV seemed to be “all inauguration, all the time” on January 20. Words were on parade. (Maybe it was after an inauguration someone said, “Whenever all is said and done, usually more is said than done.”)

Watching President Trump sign executive orders early on brings to mind a joke from the mid-1960s.

On the White House lawn, a worker–picking up refuse–was “semi-panicked” when a scrap of paper blew from his bag. It floated lazily through a window into President Lyndon Johnson’s office, and the worker’s supervisor sent him to retrieve it. “I was too late,” he lamented upon return. “He’s already signed it.”

My 104-year-old Uncle Mort remembers inaugurations all the way back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s. Now, with cutbacks looming, Mort says he won’t be surprised if they have a virtual 21-gun salute in 2021, as well as less “pompous circumstance and circumstantial pomp.”

I hope he’s wrong about his predictions of employment upticks in education. “We may soon have tail gunners on school buses,” he opined.

Mort figures increased numbers of secret service personnel will be needed, too, since we now have five living former presidents.

First responders serving at the inauguration in record numbers made hearts hum with thanksgiving.

So did the wonderful musicians. Hearing the fife trilling away in the band dressed out in Revolutionary War garb caused me to rethink long-ago musical ambitions. Maybe I should have considered being a fifer.

I’ve long favored the trombone, thinking it best fits my life philosophy–letting things slide.

A network newsman caused me to cringe when he said the “podium” President Trump had used In NYC to practice his inaugural address was shipped to Washington, DC. Say what? Did he mean lectern?

Podiums–OK, podia for purists–are “stood upon” (hint: PODiatrists=foot doctors). Sometimes, “goldy-throats” talk about speakers “standing BEHIND podiums.” What happens? Do they fall off?

Laughable during a recent TV newscast on a major station was the reporter’s failure to read what viewers saw on the screen. What we saw was “circular saw.” What she said was, “secular saw.” Wow, who knows what happens if “religious saws” are used. You think?

One last beef (for this piece, anyway): When will news people realize that folks are TAKEN to hospitals, not TRANSPORTED. The latter can be left to trains, delivery trucks and even drones.

The injured–and the deceased–deserve the dignity enhanced by the change of a single word….

Can I get an “amen?”

Finally, this “smile-maker” courtesy of longtime Texas minister, Dr. Russell Dilday. Approaching the sanctuary on a Sunday morning, he paused to extend hallway greetings to a pair of kindergarten girls. They were excited about finding a dollar bill a few minutes earlier.

Joking, he asked: “Is it green? Does it have a picture of George Washington on it?” Giggling, they nodded, breaking into laughter when he said it must have been a dollar he’d lost earlier.

Why were they laughing? “We were wondering why you were in the ladies’ room,” one giggled.


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