A cynic, hands raised in futility, exclaimed that this may be one of those centuries when everything goes wrong.

Remaining on a straight-arrow course, though, are pre-schoolers. They aren't yet jaded and continue to say/do things to make us smile.

Sadly, children's drop-dead funny remarks and/or antics aren't “front and center” as in the century past. Two of the reasons are that Art Linkletter and Bill Cosby are slowing down, and a world is speeding up….

Now 95, Linkletter is fondly remembered for his best-selling book, Kids Say the Darndest Things. His House Party TV show was a favorite for more than 20 years, and during the final three years of the century, he and Cosby co-hosted a weekly TV show named for Linkletter's heralded book.

It was a gentler age, and all of us are the poorer because successors for this duo don't appear to be waiting in the wings. (The same goes for Dr. Billy Graham.)

Maybe we all need to “listen up” for what children say, and then share the hilarity with others. A friend this day e-mailed a second grader's response to needs for a fishing outing. His answer: pole, bait and hooker!…

Linkletter believes that most children become quotable at about age three. Sounds reasonable. And that's about the time they start creating havoc around the house.

Come to think of it, if you have children or grandchildren in your charge this day and the house has grown quiet, lay the newspaper aside right now and go check on them.

The youngsters keep us “down-loose” in an “up-tight” world, and they may-at this very moment-be stuffing the cat into the dishwasher, re-arranging the china cabinet, or sucking the paint off a wooden Thomas the Train engine. Now I think we're on the same page. Let's review some “new century” kid stuff…

For starters, consider three-year-old Kate, daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Brad Reedy.

Born profoundly deaf, hers was a silent world for two years.

Cochlear implants last year were successful; this fall, she was enrolled at “Wee Learn,” the nursery school at church. The curriculum calls for afternoon naps.

Kate doesn't “cotton” to the idea at all…

Her teacher implored Kate to at least lie down and be quiet for a few minutes.

Kate was antsy and continued moving about the room.

When the request was repeated, Kate marched up to the teacher's desk. She yanked out the Cochlear ear pieces and plopped them down. “You can't talk to me,” she bragged…

Chuck and Laura Phelps have three sons-Coleman, 12; Cooper, 6 and Cannon, 3.

Coleman, an only child for six years, remembers them as “the good old days.”

When Cannon was a year old, a waitperson “ooohed and ahhhed” over him during a family restaurant outing. He was in the spotlight, beneficiary of endearing compliments.

Cooper, then three and not ready to give up the spotlight, finally had heard enough. He whispered to his mother. “Tell her about ME, Mom, tell her about ME,” he begged…

At home, his folks call their youngest son “Cannonball.”

When children recited their names at nursery school, Cannon got his first name right. “Ball” didn't fly as his last name, however.

Time will tell if he acquires a nickname. Later, they may call him “Loose” Cannon…

One high schooler mixed homework with sports on television. He tried to learn lines for a role in a Shakespearean play while watching the NFL football classic between Dallas and Buffalo.

An ardent Cowboy fan, he grew weary of quarterback Tony Romo's miserable play during much of the game. “O Romo, Romo, wherefore art thou, Romo?,” he questioned.

Thankfully, the gun-slinging quarterback showed up just in time…

TV sports personalities sometimes give us smiles. Dallas Mavericks' Mark Followill, play-by-play TV announcer, said: “Cream rises to the crop.”

And former football star/struggling analyst Emmitt Smith reminded us that “you cannot change the stripes of a leopard.”

Maybe they should get their eyeteeth fixed so they can see what they're saying…

Dr. Newbury is a speaker and writer in the Metroplex. He welcomes inquiries and comments. His e-mail address is newbury@speakerdoc.com or reach him by phone at 817-447-3872.