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Free Samples of a Sleep-Deprived Brain

…or what happens when family meets work meets severe weather meets baseball…

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Parenting

Moving Fatigue

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Moving sucks. Let’s just get that out of the way right now.

The only time I can think of an exciting, exhilirating move is when you leave your parents’ house (for the first time, in my case, but that’s for a blog post never to be written…). Any other move at any other life stage elicits nothing but groans and cuss words.

We just moved. And it was as stressful as you can imagine.

One thing that stood out for me with this particular move, as opposed to our past changes, was there are at least three kinds of what I’m now calling moving fatigue — and only one deals with an excess of actually repositioning stuff:

Type 1. Repositioning fatigue. Whether it’s box after box down and up stairs, whether it’s squeezing a 27-inch washer into a 28-inch hole called a doorway or whether it’s hefting a piano, if you’re moving a house full of stuff, eventually your body is just going to ask why. Especially if you’re about 250 pounds and the only other thing you have been packing the last 20 years has been fat.

Type 2. Planning fatigue. During the last several moves, Ginny has handled basically all the planning of what goes where as well as a lot of the actual packing. I was able to do more of the packing this time as opposed to past moves, but still a lot fell on her shoulders. That wears on somebody.

Type 3. Residual fatigue. This is the catch-all for the emotional stress, deadline stress, figuring out the extra-money-going-out-when-no-extra-money-is-coming-in stress, kids-are-screaming-because-they-want-to-stay-put stress, kids-are-trying-to-help-but-really-aren’t stress and any other stress that comes up — before, during and after you’re finally out of your old residence and starting to unpack at the new house.

We had all that over the past week-plus. But we’re in and settling down. Thanks to everybody who helped over the past month. Your help is greatly appreciated.

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Gotcha

gotcha day

This will be short and sweet.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year (plus a few days) since we officially adopted Hunter and Sofie into our family.

Talk about a day of joy. I can’t say anything for Ginny or the kids, but I can say I pretty well floated once we entered Judge Jeff Larson’s courtroom. And I think we floated over to Twin Rivers for the official celebration afterward.

From the moment Hunter became our first foster placement — really within hours of the ink drying on our license — and wandered straight into what would be his room, we knew we wanted him as our own. Don’t ask why. Don’t ask how. We just knew that if we were asked, we would gladly take him into our family. And as the first conversation introduced us to the possibility of caring for his yet-unborn sister, we looked at each other realizing (to a degree) the direction our family was taking.

It’s been a topsy-turvy roll over the past three years, but we have seen the youngsters overcome a lot of adversity with their neurofibromatosis diagnosis and make tremendous strides over the past year. We have also grown and adapted as a family, thanks to the support of Ginny’s family here, my family in Nebraska and a load of teachers and therapists. We have also been fortunate to get a tremendous amount of support from our friends and a host of people in the community, ranging from Judges Larson and Merlin Wheeler to St. Francis and Kansas Children’s Service League to our employers and a lengthy list of people that simply post their support to us on social media.

To everybody who helped make our first Gotcha Day possible last year, thank you. We’re working towards another Gotcha Day later this year, and we can’t wait to share the joy then as well.

A Kidlish to English Translation (first edition)

binky

For all those of you who can’t understand what babies and toddlers are saying, I offer you the starting point for a humble translation. I think. (BTW, I’ve always thought this would be a great starting point for a futuristic, sci-fi language).

Feel free to add your own translations. And I will have more entries later.

A

ABD: ABC

Ahduh: Water

Ahmee: Mommy

Arpeka: Topeka

B

Bah: Ball

Bah beebee: Rock-A-Bye Baby

Bebah: Bella

Betuz: Because

Bewuh: Bella

C

Cow: Can mean cow or couch.

D

Deddy: Daddy

Di: Daddy

Diddy: Kitty

Doppa: Diaper

E

Eeyut: Yuck. As in, that was really the yuckiest thing you could have done, Deddy.

G

Goo Glub: Mother Goose Club

H

Hommabuguh: Hamburger

M

Mahmeh: Mommy

Milt: Milk

N

Neshul: Special

Nowantnet: Don’t want it. You are a stupid, imbecilic fool for even considering that as an option. Try something else. What do I want? Why don’t you guess what I want? Nowantnet.

P

Pacake: Pattycake

Pada: Spider

Peas: Please

Pwiz: Please

R

Row row: Row Row Row Your Boat

T

Tantu: Thank you

Tattoo: Thank you

V

Ven: Van

W

Wadoo: Water

Wap: Wipe

Wed: Red

Weed: Read

Weels: The Wiggles

What the hick: What the heck

Widdles: The Wiggles

Y

Yut: Yuck

Z

Zeba: Zebra

Thanks

Well. Ready or not, it’s here. And it’s time.

After 14 years and almost seven months, my time at KVOE Radio in Emporia, Kan. — and in media in general — has come to an end.

Starting Monday, I become the community relations director for USD 253 Emporia. It’s a job that, honestly, is a natural extension of my career the past 20 years and a family link to education spanning several generations.

It’s a job that I’m excited to assume for a number of reasons. Having a normal schedule is something both I and my family are more than pleased to start. And it’s not just with the work schedule: the home schedule will change a lot next week, but I’m looking forward to the madness that is morning with kids.

The schedule is a key part of the excitement, but it’s only part of the picture. Family is the big reason for the change in careers.

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The past several years have seen an increase in overall news duties have increased along with, unfortunately, department turnover. That combination has meant a lot more time at the station or in the field than it had when I started. By extension, that meant less time at home. I’ve always wanted to be a full-time husband and father, and honestly I was serving in a part-time role in both capacities at a time when it was becoming more clear our two adoptive children have special needs relating to neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition leading to physical issues, sensory issues and delays for speech and motor skills. The further along I went, the more part-time I became.

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Station management thought outside the normal box, allowing me more flexibility to go to medical appointments and approving the addition of part-time news employees. In the end, though, it was clear I needed a 50-hour work week instead of a 70-hour week. I could cut back on the amount of news I generated, and eventually I did to a degree. However, I felt that cutting back any more than I did would be doing a disservice to the community.

Choosing a career path outside of radio was really a no-brainer. For years, I’ve had a mild interest in media relations, but recently I realized I had a few things going for me if I ever made the jump. I enjoy writing. I enjoy social media, which has become a major part of media as a whole. I adapt to different situations fairly quickly. I also realized my options were, frankly, limited because I still need at least two years of education to get my bachelor’s degree.

And as I’ve said to different media outlets and people around the area, the Emporia district has a lot going for it, so for me this is the perfect place to land as I change my career direction. There’s a reason the #EmporiaProud hashtag has taken off since Kevin Case became superintendent last year. Whether it’s student accomplishments, student-generated projects, teacher and staffer ventures and the like, KVOE’s Feel Good Friday segment could be populated several times a month with the good things coming from the district. I’ve been blessed to meet a lot of dedicated staffers at all levels in USD 253, so I consider myself very fortunate to go from the radio station to the district and utilize all the media skills I’ve developed over the past two decades.

My decision to pursue the community relations position was simultaneously easy and hard. Easy, because of the schedule, the ability to tell this district’s stories and the aforementioned ripple effect of the daily news grind.

Hard, because I never seriously considered any other career until relatively recently and realizing a switch likely ends two career dreams I’ve had for years: being the voice of a major college or professional baseball team and, more recently, owning a cluster of radio stations.

You may well have heard the story (a few times) before. Back in 1980, when i was 9, I was listening to my first Kansas City Royals radio broadcast. Before my second inning of listening, I knew sports play-by-play — particularly baseball — was what I wanted to do as a career. I already had an ear towards media as a potential career. My brother, Pete, and I constantly broke down larger cardboard boxes and turned them into news desks as young kids, and the Omaha tornado of 1975 had fostered a lifelong interest in severe weather. But above all, especially when I realized exactly how much math was in in meteorology, even with a dabble into music education as I transitioned from high school to higher education, I wanted to be involved in sports (and, no, I don’t have a pic of those days, so this earlier rendition will have to do).

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I got my chance at sports broadcasting at KLIN in Lincoln, Neb., but I had to earn it. First, I had the part-timer trial by fire (rather, trial by boredom) as the overnight board op. Once I proved relatively competent at that, I was shifted to days — and then several duties opened up in relatively rapid succession. I was allowed to fulfill my weather fix as a spotter/reporter, including reports on a small twister near Cortland. I was also allowed to be the station board operator on several sports, including Lincoln Stars junior hockey, and the network board operator for Pinnacle Sports coverage of several University of Nebraska sports, including Husker football. (Talk about a Saturday: pregame coverage — 4.5 hours, game coverage — 3.5 hours, postgame coverage — up to 5 hours…a predecessor of things to come). And I got my first taste of professional news.

News as a career was never a goal of mine. I repeat: never a goal. But apparently I had a nose for it. I should have known from my days at the Burke High Beat and North Star high school newspapers that I’d go into news at some point. And like my early days behind the markered-up cardboard box, I had a premonition of things to come from family. My aunt, Cheryl Butler, spent decades in print journalism, including lengthy stops at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Washington Post. And my mom was starting to launch her own writing career — and cementing her status in the world of quilting as a result.

Starting as a cub reporter, I went from fires to school boards to the Upfront Story, our in-depth (as in-depth as you can get in 95 seconds) feature of the day several times a week. And then — something I didn’t appreciate fully at the time — I was put on Live at 5, KLIN’s afternoon drive-time news show at the time as a co-anchor. Jane Monnich, John Soukup and I worked to sculpt newscasts and snag guests for the hour-long program before Jane and I — along with Dan “The Weatherman” Staehr and Jim Rose — wrapped up the day’s local, regional and occasionally national events.

Mind you, this was all as a part-timer. It was the inability to gain full-time status that led me to a three-year stint in print journalism, first at the Wahoo Newspaper (yes, that is indeed the paper’s name) before two years at the Lincoln Journal Star. At the Wahoo Newspaper, I was again a multi-duty staffer, handling news, sports, photography and page design. At the Journal Star, I was strictly behind the desk, editing copy and designing pages.

But I couldn’t stay away from radio. And even though I couldn’t get a full-time position in sports (trust me — I tried), I could at least keep my foot in the sports door by taking a position at KVOE. So in October 2002, after a gentle nudge from former general manager Lee Schroeder, I packed up with the help of my dad and made the four-hour trip from Lincoln to Emporia. And on Oct. 14, 2002, I took the air in the Kansas Flint Hills for the first time.

The position was officially for a news anchor/reporter, which automatically involved severe weather. It also involved high school sports and remotes — so essentially exactly what I was doing at KLIN with a full-time paycheck to go with it. However, it was, admittedly, rocky at the start. I was so nervous and so eager to please that I sprinted through my newscasts like a chipmunk on meth (cheetah on crack…you get the picture) and then I stumbled through some casts like Wile E. Coyote chasing the Roadrunner…before he went cliffdiving (it happened every episode on TV and it almost happened every newscast). How I won a first-place newscast award from the Kansas Associated Press my second year was beyond me. Still is, honestly.

Quickly on awards, since I brought up that topic: I’ve been fortunate to win my share from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters for news, features, severe weather and sports. Maybe it’s wrong of me to say, but I’ve always considered awards as validation for what I’m doing, either individually or as part of a team, and just as importantly as enhancement of the station’s prestige. I’d like to say I’ve added to that prestige the past 14 years, but that’s not my place to judge.

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Much more than the awards, though, my focal points as a news reporter have been to be complete, be fair to all sides, to ask the necessary questions (realizing it may be quite some time before those questions get answered), to eliminate anything subjective in the on-air and online reports and to learn from all my interactions. The learning aspect is underrated among today’s new reporters, in my estimation. I’ve seen several incoming reporters who have a set idea about media, whether it’s in the broadcast persona, what should or shouldn’t be covered and even how to deal with their management or employers. Reporters with a split persona (one for the airwaves and one for everybody else) have a much better chance of a sustained career, in my opinion, although I’m not so sure that should be the case.

As a sports broadcaster, I’ve always felt my role has been to relay exactly what’s happening, both on and off the field of play. It was never enough to just report the on-field action; I also wanted to capture the emotional ebb and flow of the game I was covering. Leaving that out, to me, ignored a critical piece of the action for listeners and later viewers as our high school sports coverage went online.

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Speaking of online: There’s no doubt the advent of the Internet and social media has thoroughly transformed news outlets. It certainly transformed operations at KVOE. Starting with a series of Microsoft Word documents that served as a rudimentary website, KVOE’s online presence has transformed into an award-winning, content-rich website (emphasis on content-rich). Facebook and Twitter see several updates a day, and that’s leaving out the rapid-fire severe weather and breaking news alerts. My goal has been to drive people from the web and social media to the airwaves and back again, using one form of media to highlight and bring attention to the others.

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I’m grateful for the in-house relationships I’ve developed at KVOE, whether it be the Morning Show and ESU football crew of Ron Thomas and Greg Rahe, evenings and weekends with Sean Thornton, high school sports with Scott Hayes and the off-mike interactions with the sales staff, secretaries, part-time employees and station owner Steve Sauder. They mean more than you will realize.

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I’m also marveling at the sheer number of stories over the past 14-plus years, sometimes up to 12 a day, and the breadth of news:

I’ve covered destructive fires, whether it be homes or the Fourth Avenue Dining Company. I’ve seen people die just feet from me as I covered crashes and trauma calls. I’ve seen the pain of victims in murder and sexual abuse cases as their situations work through the court process.

I’ve seen massive shifts in legislative policy in Kansas, ranging from the so-called three-legged stool to the glide path to zero. I’ve also watched a decade-long fight over education funding.

I’ve watched Emporia develop a vibe and mojo — thanks to events like the Dirty Kanza and major disc golf tournaments as well as a concerted effort by local government leaders and education administrators to think outside the box towards that very end.

I’ve had the chance to broadcast state basketball championships, attend a Major League Baseball All-Star Game and fulfill my long-deferred goals of doing baseball and football play-by-play, even if only on a fill-in basis.

I’ve had a chance to interview a Heisman trophy winner, a local racing hero, baseball legends, world-known musicians and influential politicians — and a lot of people I only run into either downtown or at Emporia’s Walmart.

I’ve watched moderate risk severe weather days turn into absolute busts. And I’ve seen severe thunderstorm watch boxes turn into destructive tornadoes in Reading and Eureka.

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And I’ve been honored to balance the bad news with the good. The Feel Good, that is. KVOE’s weekly Friday feature has been an absolute joy, and not just because of the 2 minute, 5 seconds of finished product. I’ve had the good fortune of listening and learning to some wonderful stories and meeting some great people as a result. As far as I have been concerned the past few years, the report every Friday morning has been gravy at the end of the weekly process.

Yes, there have been lots of fun and interesting times as well. I’ve dressed up as an 1980s-era rock star to cover Boo in the Zoo (wearing far more hair than I’ve ever had naturally in my life). I’ve served as a pitchman for a weight loss drink. I’ve emceed bridal fairs, just weeks before I’ve dressed as a Smurf or a Flintstone to generate money for Special Olympics and had my head shaved to raise money for St. Baldricks.  (I’m still trying to forget my alter ego, “Anita Shaver”…)

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It’s been a great career, but it’s time to turn in my key card, delete my scanner app and launch forward.

Besides telling the positive stories for USD 253 Emporia, I’ll also be filling you in on any breaking and rapidly developing situations affecting schools and school kids. On top of that, I’ll be coordinating all things enrollment. I’ll also be attending all USD 253 Board of Education meetings and helping to facilitate projects like the Hopkins Awards, American Education Week cookie delivery and other special events. So my plate will be full, even though my schedule will be considered normal by most (totally different to me).

nancy

I’ll also be taking over for a local legend, whether she likes the designation or not. Nancy Horst has held the community relations position for over two decades after a notable career at the Emporia Gazette, and she has been the embodiment of professionalism during my tenure at KVOE. She has also been more than generous with her time as I start peppering her with questions about my new job. I have two big shoes to fill coming Monday morning.

But I don’t forge ahead before saying thank you to my family. They helped me keep my sanity, even though they may well have been losing theirs with the number of short-notice schedule changes and lengthy times away.

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And I want to thank you for listening. Thanks for having me with you as you wake up…whether it’s at the breakfast table, in the shower, in bed or wherever. Thanks for hacking through 14-plus years of stumbling newscasts. Thanks for bearing with some admittedly inane, silly, occasionally stupid and sometimes totally off-target references to different topics. And thanks for trusting me as a reporter for the news happening around the world and here at home all these years.

Time to wrap it up and ice it down. Thanks, everybody. See you around town.

First Takes and Second Helpings, December 2013

barry-hinson

Man. I can’t believe it has been months since I last posted anything. Well, yes, I can, but that’s for another post.

It has been a busy quarter-year. Locally, we’re looking for a new city manager, the college football team made the D-2 playoffs and the women’s basketball team is in the nation’s top three.

Nationally, the Affordable Care Act still gets raked over the coals, two members of Pussy Riot were released from prison and a basketball head coach made headlines for comments about size and snipers (in one of the best postgame rants of all time).

And now that I have your attention (in no particular order)…

OWH_logo1. Am I glad this isn’t 1983. The Omaha World-Herald just published a story on December 1983. Worst winter weather of my life. A week straight where the high temperature didn’t crack zero. Lows of -15 to -24, and that’s just the air temperature. Christmas Eve saw a high of -11 and an obscene wind chill of -72 (calculated differently than we do today, but still…). A foot-plus of snow already on the ground which didn’t start to melt until February. Not how you want to spend your Christmas break at any age, but especially as a teenager. 1989 was almost as bad. I took a flight from Tucson back home at the end of my first semester break at the University of Arizona. Temperature when I left: Around 60 degrees. Temperature when I got back home: -15.

2. Thank you, Barry Hinson. Wish we had more honest postgame news conferences such as his from a couple weeks ago.

3. It was hard to get into the Christmas spirit this year. Until the gifts opened up. Blame the shorter shopping season, blame Target’s credit card security breach, blame the busy schedule, blame whatever. However, watching everybody’s faces when they tore away the wrapping paper…it’s hard not to enjoy that.

catsstevens214. I’m still looking for a relatively new rock band I can gravitate towards. Not really feeling the shouty, wall of noise nature of rock today. And now I know how my parents feel when they listen to a lot of the rock that I like. Unnerving. On the flip side, I’m really wondering 1) why I didn’t get Rush’s Vapor Trails earlier and 2) why I got away from the fusion jazz that I used to really enjoy. And 3) how in the world Cat Stevens goes into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Nirvana and Kiss. And 4) what’s it going to take for me to actually want to play my bass again. Talk about unnerving. So that’s what happens when you’re followed by a moonshadow.

5. Returning to weather. The way this winter has gone — gradual warmups followed by sudden cold snaps — we’re setting up for an early severe weather outbreak. Just saying. It’s way, way too much like a spring weather pattern with colder temperatures for my liking.

elreno_tornado

That’s it from here. Back to you.

A New Venture

stickman

Since I became a father, I have wanted to write stories for my child(ren). And this week, I’m finally taking that step.

Actually, I should probably say I took that step. It was pretty easy to pound out a couple pages of story yesterday,, and to make matters better, the finished product was, shall I say, well received by the intended target.

I’m not going to say much about things now other than to say the lead character is a rather precocious first-grader with a doting family…and I definitely plan to use our home life for story fodder. Any other suggestions for story topics, illustrators, publishing and the like? Let me know.

The Fine and Noble Art of Walking a Dog

PinkCollarLeashSet

Nearly two years ago, we were blessed to pick up a young dog.

Bella needed a hypoallergenic pet, so we went with a miniature poodle. Holly is her name, and she’s crazy affectionate so she fits in well with us. She also has to be in the middle of everything, which again fits us well.

Where she has issues is taking care of business, if you will. Especially outside.

I honestly didn’t train her that much. She showed she could be plopped outside, take care of things and then run back. Now, though, she’s taking her sweet time to get her mission accomplished…and she’s not bothering to come back.

Hmm. Time for a change in approach, I do believe. The leash.

Holly loves to go out and walk, I reasoned. This should be a no-brainer.

And for the first few times, it was. Holly took care of business in short order and was ready to come inside.

Lately, though, it has taken a great deal more time for her to complete her task. I’ve taken to walking her some 10 minutes or more at a brisk trot before she is through. Great exercise for both of us. Not great for getting back to work.

Maybe I should just resign myself to the fact she will go when she has to. It might make it easier for both of us.

Dads on TV: More Dumb-Dumb-Dumb Than “Hey-Hey-Hey”

cosby

I have been frustrated with the portrayal of TV fathers for some time. So leave it to Bill Cosby, the holder of the lead role in a family comedy I had once despised, to voice the same concerns I’ve been grumbling about for years.

And leave it to me to think of this the day after Father’s Day. Oh well.

Cosby was Heathcliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show, the mainly light-hearted (and in many ways a bit unbelievable) show that led ratings for years when I was a teenager and young adult. Whether it was my youth, watching the interactions my friends had with their fathers or the rapid development of a warped sense of reality, I grew from enjoying the Cosby Show to disparaging it. None of my friends had the nuclear family the show displayed, none of them certainly had the high-dollar family portrayed on the show and none of them enjoyed the mostly playful sibling relationships that were a show hallmark.

Besides, as I grew older, the humor was far too tame for my blood. Turn off Cosby Show. Turn on “Married…With Children.”

al bundy

As my life goals turned from not wanting any sort of family in high school to wanting children to actually having a family, my perceptions on TV fatherhood changed royally. And this is where Cosby comes in.

For years, Cosby has been harping on parents, especially dads, to take their responsibilities seriously. In a recent interview with ABC News, he said his show was designed to give an example of life with a father who cared and was effectively active in his children’s young lives.

“I based the series on two important things: Number one … I hated those series where the children were brighter than the parents, and those parents had to play dumb,” Cosby said. “Number two was that I wanted to ‘take the house back.”

If you watch TV today, dads are either inherently stupid or they are smartasses…if they are even in the picture. From Modern Family to Last Man Standing…

tim allen   modern fam

…to shows my daughter watches like Disney Channel’s “Dog With A Blog”…

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…dads are nothing more than stage-prop stooges. And don’t get me started on Nickelodeon’s “Fairly Oddparents.”

oddparents

At least these dads are featured, right? Look at shows like Nickelodeon’s “iCarly” or Disney’s “Jessie,” where the dads are/were mentioned maybe once or twice a season — and possibly show up every other season or so. And once they do, guess what: stooge central.

Kids need to be entertained as much as adults do. Maybe more so. I get that. And men, especially fathers, provide an easy target. Put us in our element (work, usually) and we can make things hum along like nobody’s business. Take us out of that setting and plop us at home, and…hoo boy. Just ask my wife how well we do.

But prodding and making fun and keeping the kid tickled “at the expense of parenting, at the expense of keeping children out of harm’s way to get these laughs, to make these parents look stupid, to make kids look like they are ultra-bright but still lost, then we have a problem,” according to Cosby.

“[We] parents make it difficult,” he said, “because we want to be well-liked. And I’m not saying that parenting, you shouldn’t want to be well-liked, but you also have to have some kind of judgment.”

Hey Hey Hey to that.

There are the idiot dads out there. I’ve been one…well, I guess I am one every day. There are also those of us dads who care deeply about our responsibilities to our children and do our damndest to fulfill them with a relative minimum of stupidity (this is where I would put my father). It’s too bad Hollywood thinks it best to give our children the complete opposite viewpoint, that dads are nothing more than progeny-befriending buffoons designed only to get laughs and ridicule.

I don’t watch The Cosby Show reruns when they are on. But I have a whole new respect for what Cosby was trying to convey during his show.

Moore Aftermath

Those of us in Tornado Alley can be prepared for activity like what we got across the Kansas Flint Hills on Sunday — basically a host of EF-0 or EF-1 tornadoes that didn’t cause a ton of widespread damage.

I don’t care if you are a Tornado Alley veteran or not. Nothing can prepare you for what hit Moore, Okla., shortly after 3 p.m. May 20.

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Block upon block of what once was, now blasted into kindling.  Two schools and a hospital ripped apart. Thousands of lives shredded. Dozens of dead. Dozens.

This isn’t supposed to happen in 2013.

It wasn’t supposed to happen in 1999, either, when Moore was hit by arguably the strongest tornado to date in American history. Winds were estimated at 318 mph, one mph shy of being the only F-6 ever.

Forty-four died in 1999. And then Moore was hit in 2003. And again Monday.

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How shellshocked must you be now if you live in Moore? If you live in the Plains, especially Oklahoma and Texas, you know what you’re in for when winter turns to spring. But Monday’s storm and EF-4s and EF-5s are on such a different level, such a different plane, that it’s hard to wrap your mind around such total devastation even from afar. It must be unimaginable to deal with when it’s your home, your school, your workplace, your favorite restaurants.

Phrases like “our hearts go out to the victims” and “say a prayer for the victims” may not do much if anything to comfort those whose lives have been wrenched apart in 200 mph winds, but they are true.

Our hearts do go out to those of you in Moore, Okla. And we are praying like mad you never have to go through this again.

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Free Samples of a Sleep-Deprived Brain

...or what happens when family meets work meets severe weather meets baseball...