The Idle American: A Kingdom for a Horse?...


In all the years I’ve known my aged Uncle Mort, he has made few observations about horses, if any at all. For the past few days, he has spoken of little else, what with the news that the City of Dallas hardly knows what to do with one of its storied landmarks.

Yep, trouble isn’t limited to River City. Dallas leaders are moaning about what to do with The Pegasus, proudly perched atop the city’s first skyscraper, a 29-story structure built in 1922 by the Magnolia Oil Company. The company’s horse logo--adorned by blazing neon to outline the steed’s features--was a welcoming rotation of greeting to Big D. Some have claimed sightings of the 15-ton sign from 75 miles away.

No doubt squirming, the Dallas City Council has appropriated some $360,000 to stabilize the base, address corrosion and replace missing neon lighting. “Phoenix 1,” a construction firm, has been engaged to take on a project that could take weeks or months. The city manager has indicated that high winds have made Pegasus “unsafe,” adding that if it should be blown off the rooftop, city fathers (as well as city mothers) might one day be faced with multimillion dollar lawsuits. This is where Uncle Mort comes in….

“I wish Dallas no ill,” Mort tells visitors in the thicket. “But I wouldn’t mind owning Pegasus.”

His mind racing and oiled with the smoothest of creative juices, he is fueled by “what ifs.” He’s wondering if the City of Dallas might entertain a bid for the horse’s, uh, remains, should Pegasus fall from the structure which now houses the Magnolia Hotel.

A recent Dallas Morning News headline caught my eye: “City to pony up for repairs.” I was immediately intrigued that the City Council had deliberated for 90 minutes before deciding to foot the bill. Much was said, including some sentiments that Newcrest Image--now owner of the hotel--should help with the cost….

No hands went up offering help, and now the City of Dallas wishes it hadn’t maintained an easement to continue ownership of the sign, located atop the building once owned by the City of Dallas.

There are additional complications since the Dallas landmark is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It appears that this fabled horse cannot legally be put out to pasture, destroyed or given away….

I asked Mort why he’d want a fallen horse, reduced to twisted steel and neon shards if winds sent the structure downward.

“I figure if such should happen, I’d rent an 18-wheeler from U-Haul, pick up the major pieces, sweep the small stuff into the storm drain and return to the thicket, burying the various remnants on my farm.”

My head wobbled in disbelief. He wasn’t through. “I’ve been hearing about banks, cities and individuals making big investments in mining for bitcoins,” he said. “I don’t pretend to understand what this means, and I’m wondering how enticing such mining could be if they come across gold or silver along the way.”…

In short, Mort claims he’d put up signs inviting “bitcoin miners” to bring their picks and shovels to mine for bitcoins, with prizes awarded to participants finding both bitcoins and parts of Pegasus.

“I can’t imagine why everybody is so intrigued by bitcoins,” Mort asserted. “We knew about them in junior high, mostly from yells at football games. “When we had the ball, fans would scream, ‘Two bits, four bits, six bits, a dollar. All for our team, stand up and holler’.” Mort continued his yapping about the dismal future he predicts for bitcoins. “They threaten our monetary system. We won’t know what anything is worth, and if they catch on, there’ll be no understandable way to know the street value of drugs.”

Huh? Those who know Mort best think that before God made Mort, He broke the mold. Whatever, he’s clearly beating a dead horse….

Dr. Newbury, longtime university president, continues to write weekly and speak throughout Texas. Contact: Phone, 817-447-3872. Facebook: Don Newbury. Twitter: @donnewbury.