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Humor gilds Rotary talk by Dallas journalist

Holiday cheer was ushered in Tuesday by a guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Ennis.
As jolly and rotund as St. Nick himself, Dallas journalist Larry Powell, known as much for his wit as his writing, informed local Rotarians that his message for the day was obviously physical fitness.
Powell’s well-timed humor punctuated his afternoon speech at the Ennis Country Club, which took the form of a lighthearted review of his experiences as a writer and editor as well as his work as an animal welfare activist.
A veteran newspaperman, Powell, who lives in historic Oak Cliff, served 29 years with the Dallas Morning News, rising from cub reporter to night editor, before retiring in 2004. He now writes for the award-winning Urban Animal Magazine and actively maintains a popular blog on his website, www.readlarrypowell.com. A former journalism teacher at the University of Texas at Arlington, Powell has served many years as a judge in the creative arts division at the State Fair of Texas, a position he shares with his wife Martha. He said he’s also a longtime member of the “Use-ta” Club.
“I use-ta have a 34-inch waist, and I use-ta have black hair,” he clarified to the guffaws of the audience.
Powell said his career as a “news hound” was an eventful one but added it might have been more so if fate hadn’t robbed him of a stellar moment. In 1978 when Pope John Paul I died during his editorship at the Dallas Morning News, he had the opportunity to utter the classic words, “Stop the presses.” He said he hoped to make the most of the dramatic moment as he picked up the phone to call the pressroom. Surrounded by his office staff, he announced in stentorian tones to the foreman to “Stop the presses!”
“Stop the presses?” was the retort on the other end of the wire. “Hell, they broke down 20 minutes ago.”
So much for the peak of a journalistic career, Powell laughed.
Of his work with animals, he said he has a simple message.
“Spay and neuter,” he said, clarifying that he was referring to pets “though some of you may have a relative in mind.”
Powell’s own brood of foundlings include eight dogs and four cats. Others he rescues are regularly farmed out to shelters, relatives and friends, many of whom he believes now monitor their caller ID in order to avoid him.
He said one of his pets is named “Hound Dog Jack, Canine King of the Blues.” He rescued the malnourished black Labrador Retriever from a country road. Now restored to good health, Powell said the “fine old gentleman” has taken over his favorite armchair. Another in his family of pets is a German Shepherd mix named “Baby Jane” whom he found sitting in middle of a lane of traffic, idly watching the cars detouring around her. Still another pup he saved was “Glenda,” a six pound Maltese found wandering in a field after the Lancaster tornado.
His human family consists of twin sons Bret and Bart who were born during the 1971 Super Bowl, causing him to miss the coveted football game. The boys tease their dad that he is “still bitter about that.” He also has three grandkids.
Powell ended his entertaining talk with a pearl of wisdom culled from his years of experience aiding injured animals.
“A three legged dog,” he said, “is the only thing in the world faster than a fat man.”

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Posted by on Nov 30 2006. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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