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THE IDLE AMERICAN: Sweet chariot stocks? - Odessa American: Guest Columns

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THE IDLE AMERICAN: Sweet chariot stocks?

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Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2019 5:00 am

A casual statement made by my Uncle Mort at his 107th birthday party recently may go a long way in explaining why he continues his relentless pursuit of get-rich-quick inventions.

He said he suffered a monumental financial blow—a borderline “gut punch”—from Wall Street.

Mort rues the long-ago day he put all of his available cash in what he described as “Sweet Chariot Stocks.” Huh? “Hours after I bought ‘em,” he claimed, “they swung low.”

He’s been hearing quite a bit about a Russia-based company that has introduced a computer download called “FaceApp.” It uses artificial intelligence in processing photos to make persons in photographs look much older.

“Many Americans don’t trust the Ruskies enough to share their photographs,” Mort said. “I’m working on a new invention which will allow folks to use it without fear of compromise.”

He says his invention goes beyond the technique called “Photoshop” introduced several years ago.

His new invention is intended to be helpful for pictures used in obituaries.

“Many widows and widowers like to run photographs of their deceased mates that probably were made in the last century,” he said. “My invention will be in great demand when searches for truly old pictures are futile.”

Mort won’t reveal much about the process—only that it involves a mixture of gasoline and vinegar, and a low-voltage current from batteries. “The current isn’t strong enough to coax a butterfly from a bluebonnet,” Mort said. “And when the juice is really cut back, it can change the photo of a 90-year-old to a baby picture, maybe still in the arms of the delivering physician.” He says he’s going to call his new invention “Photoshock.”

The old-timer has taken note that beginning this fall, members of Texas high school bands must pass physical examinations, a long-time requirement for sports participation.

He thinks it’s about time, and that Johnson and Johnson, which manufactures BAND-AIDS, should get into the liquid refreshment business, directing it straight at the music-makers.

They could call it “BAND-ADE”—the kind that doesn’t have to be wrapped, stuck on or peeled off.

Uncle Mort provided me with significant embarrassment at his party. My face reddened when he called my name, since I was one of dozens of nephews, not to mention countless other great-nephews and great-great nephews. He says “great-great-greats” are likely.)

“There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for Don, and nothing he wouldn’t do for me,” Mort said, his voice thundering. Pausing, he then offered the rejoinder: “Consequently, we do little for each other.”

‘Nuf said.

This is the time of year that educators make good on their promises made last May.

They are the main reasons the National Day of Prayer is calendared each year in May. Frenzied by a school year that has included additional responsibilities, frustrations and tough duty, they’re pretty much in prayer all month long. Each is praying, “Oh, God, if You’ll just get me through this month, I’ll come back to work refreshed in August.”

Now, it’s August again.

A new kindergarten teacher, with the daunting challenge to keep 25 youngsters busy, came up with a new description of her daily duties. “It’s like trying to keep fishing bobbers under water at the same time,” she claimed. She remembers one day when she urged a student to get down to work. The youngster mournfully looked up at her, saying, “You do know I didn’t sign up for this. My dad did it.”

Then there was the fifth-grader—greatly lacking in self-confidence—who feared taking home his report card, since it revealed an “F” grade in one subject. He dared to improve it, changing it to an “F+.”

Welcome back, all ye daring to respond to the noble call to educate. May your kind increase, and may your prayers, preparation, presentation and efforts sustain you throughout the year. And remember, May is only nine months away.

Odessa, TX

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