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Salad bar man Norman Brinker dead at 78

Salad bar inventor Norman Brinker died Tuesday morning (June 9) in an ironic twist.

He had inhaled food while out with his wife celebrating his birthday last week in Colorado Springs and succumbed to aspirated pneumonia six days later.

He was 78.

Dallas restaurateur Norman Brinker dies, Dallas Morning News

If this guy had not come along, I would never have nabbed my first job. I don’t know if I should thank him or curse him.

I entered the working world as a salad bar girl at the Bonanza restaurant chain, which has since gone out of business and people would always confuse with the Ponderosa restaurant chain, anyway.

Salad bars were also a lunch staple when I lived in New York City – except they went far beyond the salad with a sushi, fresh ginger slices and marinated garbanzo beans.

While Brinker was also known as a master chef and founder of the chain of Chili’s Grill & Bar, salad bars were the invention that changed the way America dines.

They also gave way to a host of other innovations, such as finding a practical use for kale and the invention of the sneeze guard.

We’ll miss you, Norman, lettuce wish you the best in eternal rest.

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Guy gets 100th pair of new lungs at UMC

Well, it was not this particular man’s 100th pair of lungs, but the 100th double lung transplant performed at University Medical Center.

On the waiting list since January, 64-year-old William M. Moncrieff, of Surprise, is recovering well after his May 28, six-hour operation, according to a UMC news release:

Moncrieff/UMC photo
Photo courtesy UMC

Moncrieff suffered years of asthma, emphysema and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). He had been hospitalized twice in Phoenix in the past several years after minor respiratory problems turned serious.

“I knew I needed a transplant when my doctors told me I was one cold away from death,” he said. “I was living on borrowed time.”

The release also states the lungs were received “from a deceased organ donor.” We sure hope. After all, if the donor were not deceased prior to having his or her lungs removed, the person surely would be afterwards.

Anyway, kudos to UMC and the docs who perform such miraculous, life-saving surgeries. In addition to the double lung transplants, the hospital has performed 55 heart-lung transplants and 51 single-lung transplants. The first double lung transplant was done in 1993 and lasted 10 years.

Organ transplants are a great thing, giving the dead the opportunity to help the living.

We should expand it, however, to include other organs and body parts that may not yet be on the list, such as a set of killer biceps, six-pack abs and awesome calf muscles.

Some folks could also use a transplant of the brain.

Is your organ donor box checked on your driver’s license?
Do you think if you received an eye transplant you would see ghostly visions of murder like in that horror movie?

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Electric shocks knocks man off feet in Tucson park

Tucson parks are sizzling – and not in a good way.

A man was blasted by an electric jolt Saturday at Golf Links Sports Complex, according to a report in the Arizona Daily Star. John Cole Jr., a 30-something guy who was fetching a softball, was knocked down and hospitalized, but he survived.

Eight-year-old Deshun Chance Glover, who was also jolted at a city park last summer, did not.

Electric shock hits man in Midtown park, Arizona Daily Star

Saturday’s incident follows the death last July 25 of 8-year-old Deshun Chance Glover, who was killed when a puddle he was standing in near Hi Corbett Field became electrified during a sudden thunderstorm. An investigation by the city of Tucson blamed the death on an improperly insulated splice in a cable and a faulty circuit breaker.

Last month, the City Council agreed to pay the family $1.75 million — the largest city settlement in recent history.

Saturday’s incident occurred in dry June weather after Cole went to fetch softballs hit during a soft-toss practice session for the Desert Shootout girls fast-pitch tournament, his father said. The younger Cole could not be reached for comment Monday.

The city shut down the park’s fields temporarily but reopened them without electricity while it investigates the cause. Night games at the 54-acre complex at 2400 S. Craycroft Road have been re-located.

After he retrieved the balls, Cole was thrown to the ground by the electric shock as he passed between a chain-link fence and a light pole near the field, his father said. The shock also knocked the wind out of him.

That’s pretty scary. Also reminds me of problems other cities had with corner lampposts shocking dogs. New York City dogs were repeatedly shocked while they stood waiting on the corner to cross the street. A dog in Scotland was killed when he peed on a faulty lamppost. Still others are reported on the site StreetZaps.com.

Ouch.

What may be scarier about the two Tucson park situations is they are not thought to have the same cause. That means no fell swoop of a solution will correct it.

Does this make you want to avoid city parks altogether?

Will you make any changes to protect your family, pooch and yourself at a city park?

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Projectile vomiting in the meat aisle

A bloody slasher flick during dinner or watching an eyeball operation while eating grapes is not the kind of stuff that fazes me.

It’s hard to gross out someone who habitually takes photos of dead and rotting things.

But a cell phone conversation I overheard in the lunchmeat aisle at Fry’s Food Store made me pretty sick.

Unpurchased meat/Ryn Gargulinski
Meat left unpurchased/Ryn Gargulinski

A woman was loudly discussing projectile vomiting just as I happened to be staring at some slimy pink meat.

She was wearing one of those colorful scrubs shirts that indicates work at a clinic, so I was glad to learn, at least, she was talking about a patient and not discussing the topic for kicks.

Since she then mentioned isolation and kennel, we can only hope she worked at a veterinarian’s office.

She moved on to loudly discuss projectile stuff coming from the other end. I quickly scampered into frozen foods without buying that meat. And I also steered clear of the peanut butter.

What’s the most disturbing phone cell conversation you overheard?

What do you do when confronted with loud, disgusting conversations?

Should there be a ban on cell phones in the meat aisle?

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Odd Pueblo: Hunky Egyptian left at the altar

Just as he was packing his tomb to move to his new home, the hunky Egyptian guy who has been seeking a cozy refuge was left in the lurch.

Magic Carpet Golf’s remaining statue, the giant sphinx, still remains.

“I just got word from the party that had committed to the sphinx and they are now backing out,” said Tucson artist Charlie Spillar, whose efforts to find homes for the gads of giant golf course statues earned him honors from the Tucson Mayor and City Council.

“Oh well, I knew it was an expensive venture. Now I have to start my search again. They had their contractors look at it and determined it was just too expensive to move and they could probably build a new one cheaper.”

Building a new one may be cheaper, but it wouldn’t have the value as a chunk of kooky Tucson history. The statues at Magic Carpet Golf, 6125 E. Speedway Blvd., were created by Lee Koplin some 30 years ago and have amused kids and adults alike for decades.

Spillar said the sphinx seemed to be taking it well, or at least the big guy kept a stony face through the emotional upheaval.

Do you want the sphinx? E-mail Spillar at cspillar@q.com

Photo by John Meyer
Photo by John Meyer

Read Spillar’s update on the giant tiki head statue.

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