Sometimes phone calls from my Uncle Mort down in the thicket call for considerable dissection. A recent one certainly did when he asked if the word ‘paparazzi’ is singular or plural. It seemed to me that an ‘I’m not sure’ answer might be safest’ *** ‘It’s definitely plural,’ he cackled, adding that there’s ‘no need for singular designation for meddling photographers who travel in packs.’ Again, he was certain that his foresight is better than the collective 20/20 hindsight of the rest of us. ‘If you ever run into just one paparazzo, let me know,’ said my uncle before turning serious’ *** Mort then explained why the Dallas Cowboys imploded in their first play-off game. ‘If they had listened to me, they’d still be playing,’ he claimed. ‘We invited Tony Romo and his buddies to hang out down here in the thicket during the bye week.’ He said Jessica Simpson would have been welcome, too, figuring that she would add a spark down at the fire hall where the guys gathered to watch games on TV’ *** Then, he switched back to the paparazzi. ‘We learned how to handle those guys when they showed up at Cut ‘N Shoot 50 years ago,’ Mort said. ‘They thought they’d barge in here to get the goods on good-old-boy’ Roy Harris when he was training for the world heavyweight boxing championship.’ He said none of the ‘stalkarazzi’ had ever been in East Texas, and got so interested in frog-gigging that they forgot all about why they were there in the first place’ *** Rambling continued. (Those lacking sensitivity might call it babbling.) Whatever, Mort talked about the importance of keeping an eye on the ball, setting the tone, leading the team, rallying the troops, thrilling the fans, etc. ‘I think Jessica rearranged priorities,’ Mort said. ‘If Tony shows up at training camp with a shaved head, they’d best check to make sure Jessica’s middle name isn’t ‘Delilah.’ *** My uncle said that if outcomes could be choreographed, the game with the New York Giants could have turned out like The Sound of Music. But reality has a way of trumping choreography. Dallas fans were urged to ‘wear white’ to the game that became a wash-out. And the ‘rally towels’ handed out to the first 40,000 fans became ‘crying towels.’ Fans WERE ready for some football’ *** My old uncle was hoping for a Dallas/Seattle division championship game. New York and Green Bay, however, made the plan moot. ‘I heard that Seahawk fans were going to smuggle double-barrel distractions into Texas Stadium,’ Mort said. He claimed they were going to wave cardboard fans of Jessica’s face with one hand and Tony Romo ‘bobble-thumb’ dolls with the other. The dolls were to remind Tony of the fumbled extra-point snap last year in Seattle. (No doubt this shenanigan would have gotten a good ride on ESPN)’ *** Uncle Mort reminded me that despite the Cowboys’ loss, the sun is still rising in the east and setting in the west daily. ‘Time heals all wounds and wounds all heels,’ he joked. Mort and some of his plumber friends are determined to salvage good memories from the 2007 season. ‘After all, we named Tony’s East Texas fan club,’ Mort bragged, promising to send me a ‘Romo Rooter’ coffee mug’ *** Finally, he ‘waxed poetic,’ quoting his altered version of the late Grantland Rice’s lines. Here’s the way Mort put it: For when the One Great Scorer comes, to write ‘gainst the Cowboys’ names, he marks down that they won or lost, and how Romo played the game’ *** He ended our visit by calling for a more balanced Dallas offense next year. ‘I took a vote in the thicket, and it’s unanimous that Marion Barber will give the ground game a boost,’ Mort believes. ‘It was detailed, in-depth balloting,’ he assured. ” Mort called it ‘The Barber Poll’ Dr. Newbury is a speaker and author in the Metroplex. He welcomes inquiries and comments. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com.