Free Samples of a Sleep-Deprived Brain

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



Ready for spring yet?

IMG_8858Remember the last four winters?

Mild temperatures, hardly any snowfall, freeing drizzle forecasts that fizzled?

Kinda hard to look back, based on what we’ve had so far this winter.

in a way, it has been nice to actually have a winter. Most of my kids never had enough snow to build a snowman or have an extended snowball fight until November — and they thoroughly enjoyed it.

But truth be told, nothing kills the feel-good winter spirit like ice. Freezing drizzle, freezing rain or any sort of nasty wintry mix… doesn’t matter. And we’ve had a lot of icing over the last week or so. As a result, a lot of us — myself included — are mentally ready for winter to go away.

Wintry weather keeps us on our toes at KVOE to a different level than severe spring weather, simply because wintry weather lasts longer and affects more people when it does develop — as you can tell by the length of schedule adjustments that hit whenever snow or ice are imminent. And, unfortunately, at least in the short term, it looks like we could have a few more wintry episodes over the next week or so.

I’m curious to see how our active winter translates to the spring severe weather season. When I was growing up, it always seemed a busy winter led to an active spring. Overall, we haven’t had active springs, based on the numbers, for several years, although folks in Eureka would probably beg to differ after two tornadoes in a couple years.

All I know is that in our house, the kids are waiting for a dry yard and warmer temperatures. And baseball.

So are the parents.



On Killing Spiders, Poopchalking and Exploring

IMG-4561As a parent, you see some interesting moments in your children — and sometimes you hear about others.

As I write this, I’m watching one of our children try to kill her first spider. The effort is not going well…and now she thinks the spider is coming for her. It’s not.

Recently, Ginny sent me a text about the kids and a more, well, stinky situation. Apparently the youngest two have developed a tendency to fill their pull-ups overnight…take off said underwear…and try their artistic hands with a brand-new medium. Given the consistency of said lumps, and the similar end result to the chalk outside, it was only natural to call the kids’ handiwork “poopchalking.”

Thankfully that’s over for now, but among the soiled sheets and the abundance of Clorox wipes and the burgeoning laundry pile is a story of kids exploring and growing. I think.

I’ll try to remember that approach the next time the minivan is a symphony of screams.

And the spider’s back. It’s not exactly the itsy-bitsy spider. This time it’s Dad’s turn to handle things.

A Kidlish to English Translation (first edition)


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.



Ahduh: Water

Ahmee: Mommy

Arpeka: Topeka


Bah: Ball

Bah beebee: Rock-A-Bye Baby

Bebah: Bella

Betuz: Because

Bewuh: Bella


Cow: Can mean cow or couch.


Deddy: Daddy

Di: Daddy

Diddy: Kitty

Doppa: Diaper


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


Goo Glub: Mother Goose Club


Hommabuguh: Hamburger


Mahmeh: Mommy

Milt: Milk


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.


Pacake: Pattycake

Pada: Spider

Peas: Please

Pwiz: Please


Row row: Row Row Row Your Boat


Tantu: Thank you

Tattoo: Thank you


Ven: Van


Wadoo: Water

Wap: Wipe

Wed: Red

Weed: Read

Weels: The Wiggles

What the hick: What the heck

Widdles: The Wiggles


Yut: Yuck


Zeba: Zebra

Emporia Sunrise: Sept. 29, 2017

Making a Difference


One of the big themes about the 2017-18 academic year at Emporia Public Schools is the #DifferenceMaker concept.

It’s developed into a popular hashtag over the past few weeks, but for me (and a lot of other people) the concept goes a lot deeper than a 140-character social media statement. For years, one of my core goals in life has been to brighten the lives of those around me. How does that work in practice? Well…some days are better than others…

The challenge to me has always been to be mindful of some specifics as opposed to the amorphous thought of “I just want to make people happy.” What the #DifferenceMaker approach can highlight are certain ways to make that happen.

And to that end — and not seeing something like this online — I created my #DifferenceMakers oath:

  • I choose to be a #DifferenceMaker.
  • I choose to embrace my status as a role model for my peers and my family wherever I may be.
  • I choose to be positive and uplifting in my interactions.
  • I choose to take the time to learn more about the people I deal with daily, realizing I can thus have a greater positive influence on their lives.
  • I choose to maintain an affirming attitude even when the impact of my interaction remains hidden or takes an unexpected, perhaps negative turn.
  • I choose to be a person others can turn to for comfort, compassion, honesty and strength.
  • I choose to be a #DifferenceMaker.

Like resolutions, oaths are designed to keep you focused on things that are important to you — or should be. And I think this is an important approach to remember, especially given the times in which we live. I think we can all say there have been times where we have forgotten to take the extra step to be a positive role model — and I think we can find examples where we decided to be difference makers in a negative way. From my perspective, the #DifferenceMaker push is a great way to zero us in on our goals, regardless of how broad or narrow their scope.

If you’re so inspired to create your #DifferenceMaker oath or resolution, I’d love to see it. Let’s all be #DifferenceMakers — today, tomorrow and every day. In case you haven’t paid any attention to the headlines these days, we’re needed now perhaps more than ever.

Once, Twice, Three Times A Mommy

Thanks, Ginny, for everything you have done for our family.

On the course for BBC

My GBLP is declining.

GBLP? What’s THAT?

Well, every year KVOE has our Brewers and Broadcasters Classic at the Emporia, Kan., Country Club. It’s a scramble-format tourney that uses a modified (maybe extra modified would be a better descriptor) Stableford scoring system.

It’s a two-day deal. It’s very popular, usually filling up a week or two before the tourney begins. And for us at the station, it’s all hands on deck.

ALL hands on deck.

We usually take a six-hour shift. For those of us who have a six-day week, we pick our day off. Which for means Sunday morning.

For the first few years, my job was to see which drives on a par-3 were closest to the pin. Closest got a prize. I’ve also spotted for closest approach shot for a separate prize.

The last several years, I’ve been on Hold No.5, spotting for balls leaving the fairway and heading into either “the deep spinach” or the row of trees currently behind me.

(Why spinach? Why not, oh, cabbage or Brussels sprouts or alfalfa? I digress. Actually, no, I don’t. We officially had to dig for a ball in the mushrooms today. The mushrooms!)

And here’s where GBLP comes into play.

It’s not an official statistic. At least, I don’t think it is for golf course workers. But GBLP is short, in my mind, for Golf Ball Location Percentage. And, as I said, mine is slipping fast.

Honestly, I have no idea why I’m on this assignment. My eyesight has never been good (some would say even with the thick or highly-adjusted lenses I’m currently using). Back when I used to live near a public 9-hole course in Omaha, my brother and I would return balls to golfers (and sell others left behind later). One of our unspoken contests, at least as I took it, was to see which one of us could find stray golf balls faster.  He won repeatedly. 

So, as you can see, I may not be cut out for this task.

As I write this, it’s 9:15 am. I’ve been spotting now for 90 minutes and I’m on my sixth (seventh?) group of the front nine. I have had my fourth close call (not quite a near-miss) from incoming missile attacks. And up until this sixsome approached, my GBLP went from 67 percent to 16 percent. I saw four of the six balls land with my first group and just one with my last group.

It seems like this happens every year. It’s normally a high sky, which doesn’t help, and today has minimal cloud cover. 

As mentioned before, I haven’t had the dump-out-of-the-Gator scramble to avoid incoming attacks yet. But it’s coming. 

Honestly, all of us volunteer spotters should eschew the orange vests and be outfitted with these T-shirts, courtesy of The Far Side:

And next year I’ll tell you about the GTVTR.

The Golf Tournament Volunteer Target Rate.  Which just went up…

Musical Acts I’d Like to See at the Emporia Granada (Part 2)


Following the unfortunate passing of music icon David Bowie over the weekend, I figured I’d better roll out my second list of musicians I’d like to see come to Emporia, Kan. (in some cases before the pack everything away).


I was first introduced to Heart through its mid-1980s pop phase, but I have always liked the band’s original blend of roots rock, classic hard rock and — yes — country. I had seen some rumblings the band may be closing down its illustrious music career after releasing an album later this year, which would be a shame. They still play a lot of arenas, so honestly the 800-seat Granada may be too small for their tastes.

Sellout chances: Guaranteed
Song I have to hear in concert: “Barracuda” (with “Magic Man” a close second)

Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band

Still going strong — and still filling arenas across the country — Seger would be another tough get for Emporia just for the arena size. Given Emporia’s love for classic rock, however, the area would make it worth Seger’s while to play for a couple hours.

Sellout chances: Again, guaranteed
Song I have to hear in concert: “Like A Rock”

Damon Johnson

You may not know the name and you may have forgotten the band Brother Cane, which gave us the grunge hit “Got No Shame” and the alt-rock song “I Lie in the Bed I Make,” but since Brother Cane’s demise Johnson (the lead singer and a guitarist for the now-defunct group) has been touring with Alice Cooper and Thin Lizzy among other bands. He can come to town with those groups or on his own. I don’t mind.

Sellout chances: Impossible unless he’s part of a more well-known group.
Song I have to hear in concert: Let’s go with “I Lie in the Bed I Make”

Marcus Miller

If you follow fusion jazz at all, you know Marcus Miller is a baaaaaaaaaaaad bad man on bass. I watch him on YouTube and realize there is absolutely no way on God’s green earth that I could do some of the bass tricks he whips out with ease.

Sellout chances: Not great unless it’s through the Emporia Arts Center’s Performing Arts Series.
Song I have to hear in concert: “Hard Slapping”

The Fabulous Thunderbirds

Haven’t heard the Thunderbirds since their massive run in the 1980s? Well, neither have I. But they are touring — actually venues the Granada’s size or smaller — and you know they would rock the house.

Sellout chances: Fair
Song I have to hear in concert: “Powerful Stuff”

Trust me — I’ve got more bands and acts I’d like to see. So expect Round 3 down the road.

Helping Hands…and Hammers

tire hammer

Nothing flattens your mood like a flat tire.

I had that unfortunate experience Sunday afternoon. Sometime after parking my 1998 Pontiac Sunfire (what I’ve taken to calling the Purple People Eater) at the Emporia Country Club for my participation in KVOE’s annual Brewers and Broadcasters Classic and ending my shift, one of the car tires went completely flat.

Because I was parked on a rather nasty incline for changing the tire on site, I rolled and grumbled south three blocks over cobblestones to park the car. Then I worked on changing the tire. The first part — removing the lug nuts — went just fine. It was taking the tire off that turned out to be the problem. The tire simply would not come off.

Frustrated, I packed everything back in the car and decided to try Monday.

After my work shift, we dutifully shoveled the kids into the minivan and drove to the incident site. I got the car jacked up and pulled again. Nothing — again.

Ginny’s brother Nevik, who had experience at a car shop, said he sometimes had to give a good hard kick to get tires freed. So I tried that to no avail. I used my tire iron to beat on the rim, hoping to get the thing freed. No use.

After calling Nev, who agreed to slide over to help, Shawn Honea of IM Design drove by and offered to help. He used my approach (crowbar and a few kicks)…and got my result.

Robert Bennett then strolled up and offered my choice of an air compressor to inflate the offending tire or a big hammer to see if that would set the tire free. I chose the tire. As he headed back home, Nev drove over. Kicks didn’t work. Lubricant didn’t work.

Finally, Bennett’s ball-peen hammer — and a big one at that — appeared. Whack whack whack and that was that for that.

If nothing deflates your mood like a flat tire, nothing lifts your spirits like knowing people will help you without your asking.

Thanks, guys.

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Free Samples of a Sleep-Deprived Brain

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