Thursday, October 28, 2010

Radio Rivalry

This probably should go on my thought burst page...

Our local sports afternoon radio show is hosted by our local newspaper sports editor Randy and one of our local TV stations reporters Pat.  I have listened them fairly regular for the past two years or three years driving home from work.  They are fairly entertaining.  They seem to be enjoying what they do, heckle each other frequently, and every now and then they talk about sports.

College football season is taken very seriously in our parts.  Competitive spirits run deep in our neck of the woods.  The stories you hear about having to declare who you place your collegiate allegiance with when you are born; it's true.  I got stamped with the University of Alabama.  We live right in the middle of the South Eastern Conference.  Nationally recognized, the SEC is the most competitive college football division (via the last four BCS champions have been from the SEC - FL, LSU, FL, AL).  We are all waiting to see if those western kids from Oregon or Boise State can crash our BCS party this year.  

Anyway the topic of the day on the radio show was the current seemingly bad calls by the referees and the replay officials.  Specifically the last few Auburn games against Arkansas and LSU.  The consensus of the referee calls seemed to always come back "there is not enough conclusive evidence to over turn the ruling on the field".

After watching the games they were discussing I felt strongly my opinion needed to be heard by the listeners.  This is the moment I decide to make my first ever call into the show. 

Producer: "Hello blah blah blah?" (seriously I did not hear what they asked)

Me: I would like to make a comment.

Producer: "What is your name?"

Me: Kipp

Producer: "K-i-p?"

Me: No K-i-p-p

Producer: "OK hold please"

The phone goes quiet, no hold music, no tying me back into the show, only cold dark silence.  So I turned the radio back up just enough to hear what they are still talking about.  
"Blah, blah, blah, blah."  
There comments are nothing to what mine will be.  Mine is going to cause mad laughter and I might even make the next promo. 

Randy:"We have to go to commercial break, when we come back we will go to the phones.  Kipp is up first when we come back."

During the commercial I suddenly realize I am on hold, next in line to speak to thousands, OK maybe hundreds of people listening to the afternoon sports show.  A little nervous, yes.  Should I hang up, no way I am on hold, next in line.  I start thinking how I should articulate my comment.  A little late for that, I know.

Randy: "And were back.  Let's get to the phone lines.  Kipp has been holding, Kipp welcome to the show."

Me: Hey Randy, I was wondering how good of a editorial cartoonist you are?

Randy: "Well Kipp what do you mean?"

Me: I would like to see you draw a sports editorial cartoon of the referees at Jordan Hare Stadium (Auburn's stadium, where the last two games have been played against Arkansas and LSU) huddling on the field and announcing the last play is under review.  In the next frame have the referee with the headphones on his head calling the replay booth.  In the next frame have a room labeled "replay booth" completely empty with only a lit phone on the counter, no chair, no TV monitor, and a few crickets chirping.  The last frame back to the referees on the field saying 'after further review, due to inconclusive video evidence, the ruling on the field - stands. 

That cold dark phone silence returned.  I checked my phone to see if the call had dropped.  I turned the volume up on the radio to see if I inadvertently turned the radio back down.  Nothing.  Although I think I heard crickets chirping in my truck.  Several seconds go by.  I was about to hang up thinking the radio station had catastrophic power loss.

Randy: "Kipp what did you think about the ruling concerning the near safety in the LSU game?  Did you think the referees should have overturned that call?" 

Me: Yes I do.  Sure he took a hit to stop his forward progress on the 6, but he did not go down.  Matter of fact he regained his balance taking more controlled steps, all be it backwards, then the LSU defender tackled him in the end zone.  The replay showed all of that, but without having a replay official in the booth...what did we expect them rule?  Yes I think it was a safety.

Randy: "I could see it going either way."

My phone goes cold dark silent but I can still hear the radio.  "Let's go the next caller..."

The next day at work.  One of my female co-workers that is an Auburn fan says, "Was that you I heard on the radio yesterday afternoon?"

Me: Yeah, I thought my cartoon editorial was going to, at least, get a little laugh. But it tanked.  I got nothing.

Co-worker: "I have to admit I thought it was cute, but you do realize that Pat, the Alabama fan, was off yesterday.  Randy is the Auburn fan.  IF Randy thought it was funny, all that dead air was probably him muting the line so you would not any credit for a good comment."

I realized it was like being in a water fight.  I was using a water balloon and Randy was using the water hose.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I thought that was you...

Took the family to dinner the other night at a Mexican diner.  My youngest asked me to take her to the fountain to get her picture made.  Yes the restaurant has a fountain inside the restaurant.  No, I do not know why they have a fountain in the middle of the restaurant.  Yes she wanted to throw some coins in the fountain.  Are you going to let me get to the story? 

We get up and pass the booth directly behind where we were sitting.  I recognize a co-worker.  She says, "Hey Kipp I thought that was you.  I thought that was your head."  I chatted with her for a minute, introduced her to the family, etc.  

As I sat back down in the booth, I could not help but to process what she said "I thought that was your head."  OK the fitted hats I have bought have always been XL.  The protective baseball helmet was always XL.  The football helmet I wore that one year, was XL.  People have made comments about the big nugget sitting on top of my shoulders once or twice.  But this was the first time someone said it with their outside voice:
"Not many people around with a noggin that size, that has to be Kipp".  

A few days later, right after I turned around to answer "Hey Kipp..."  I asked my self about my large noggin.  I asked, Self, when I am out in public; do more people recognize me from the front or the back?  Self said, Come to think of it, there are more times I turn around to people calling my name as opposed to people waving at me or walking up to me with their hand out for a handshake.  Self then wanted to know, what's up with that?  Then Self and I got side tracked as we sang "Oooooo Oooooo Oooooo What's up with that?  What's up with that?" from the recent SNL skit.

Then a few nights ago my girls were watching family slide shows on our computer.  They were giggling about some of daddy's adventures.  You would not have believed this otherwise, so I added a few of the family pictures. It even made me crack up...

...OH sure now you know me!  What's up with that!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Never forget

My memory got jarred recently...My parents and I were swapping airline experiences.  Things like the worst turbulence, the worst landings, the worst passengers, etc.  I suddenly remembered a flight that was filled with more emotion than any other, but I could not tell them.  I could not get the words out of my mouth.  

There was an email going around a few years ago that described one of these episodes.  This is not that episode.  I now have a platform to tell you and my parents of my experience.  

As we pulled back from the gate in Atlanta on the last flight home, the captain informed us of two special passenger's on board.  One would be joining us in the cabin the other one in a special compartment below the cabin.  The pilot introduced United States Army Soldier (forgive me I can not recall his name - I will call him "York") who would be accompanying his fellow soldier to his parents, hometown, and funeral.  The fallen soldier had given the ultimate sacrifice while in Iraq.  

It was the quietest fifty minute flight I had ever experienced.  As a business travel of over 6 years, that is hundreds of flights.  Maybe I was not the only one thinking about the cost of my freedom.  Our flight arrived at near midnight.  As we stopped at the gate, the seat belt sign was not immediately turned off.  The pilot announced that in honor of the soldiers on the plane would we allow United States Soldier York to gather his belongings and exit the plane first.  I had never seen an entire 100 passenger plane sit still while one person gathered their belongings to exit.  

We all watched in silence.  I could see Soldier York who was sitting ahead of me.  He stood up, retrieved his bag from the over head bin and set it in his seat.  He gathered his beret and methodically adjusted it on his head until it was just right.  He then took a deep breath, arched his back, straighten his jacket, shouldered his bag, turned sharply and began to walk down the aisle to exit the plane.  As many passengers as could, began to quietly and respectfully stand up.  As he past an elderly lady, she smiled and patted his arm.  Several men thanked him for his service to our country.  I heard one gentlemen thank him for conducting the task he was currently assigned.  As Soldier York was about to exit, the pilot asked us to hold our places until both soldiers had exited the plane.  

I had a window seat.  I sat back down and watched as the casket came down the conveyor belt.  The family of the fallen soldier was standing behind the hearse.  They were holding onto each other and wiping away their tears as the casket got closer to them.  Soldier York graciously greeted the family.  Along with other soldiers that had arrived, they ceremoniously transferred the casket to the hearse.  They all stood back and saluted the soldiers casket before the door was closed on the hearse.  As I turned my head to wipe a tear from my eye, I realized most of the passengers had crowded into the isles.   They were straining to see out the window.  The only sounds being made were sniffles.  The respect the passengers were showing for our fallen soldier was amazing.  The pilot broke the silence with the announcement we were now free to exit the plane.
Not a word was spoken by the passengers as they exited the plane.  After I picked up my luggage and walked to my car, I was still amazed at what all I just witnessed.  My car was parked near the security gate from the tarmac.  For whatever reason had caused a delay, the hearse was just leaving the tarmac. It allowed me and about ten others to suddenly go stand on the curb.  I felt this man deserved some reverence for defending me, my family, and our country.  If felt his family deserved my condolences for the loss of their son.  As his motorcade rode by those of us gathered, some saluted, some waved quietly, some held their hand over their heart, and some stood at attention.

I felt an array of emotion standing there.  I was angry at the terrorists for bringing this fight to our country.  I was immensely proud of our military.  I was sad this soldier had lost his life defending me.  I was heartbroken for the family losing a loved one.  All these emotions were running through me at the same time.  It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life.  I will never forget it.

Never forget.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Four year old's are great.  

They just tell you what they see.  "Hey Big Daddy do you wish you were skinny?"  They repeat in public the bad things they hear you say in the confines of the mini-van when somebody cuts you off in traffic.  "Dag-gum-it!"  They love unconditionally.  They will hug you for no reason.  They forget they were just in time out.  Just be careful when you tell them they cannot have a real puppy.  They remember that one for a while.  I think it took one of Big Daddy's double stuffed Oreo's to get by the real puppy episode.      

They have no limitations.  They can do anything.  They can fly.  Do not believe me, just clip a hand towel to the back of their shirt.  They can swim across the ocean.  Just have them puff out their cheeks and swing their arms.  They can walk on the moon.  Tell them to walk slowly in big steps.  One of the funniest thing you will see is a four year old trying to walk in slow motion.  Short legs, short arms, over-sized head, walking with big eyes, real slow...HA!  They can be a talking dog, an artist, a doctor, a fairy, a singing mermaid, a zookeeper, a writer, a waitress, a mother, a father, on and on.  

My four year old told my wife one night:
"You know what my cat wants?"  
No, what does your cat want?  
"Some water."  
How do you know your cat wants water?  
"I talk cat."  
You do?  
"Yeah see...'meow-meow'.
Their imagination is their only limitation.  No wonder they are so fun to be around.  

What can we learn from a four year old?  Our imaginations may be rusty but they still work.  We can still pretend too.  Just the other night I was a one passenger commercial airliner; carried the kids one at a time on my back.  Flew them around the world (through the living room, kitchen, dining room) a few times.  We hit some turbulence (my knee gave out) once or twice before dropping them off at Disney World (on their bed).  Even at our age we can still dream.  Give it a whirl, you will see...'meow-meow'.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Somethings just have to wait

Over the last week or so I have been researching other blogs...
(isn't it amazing that the time one sets aside for oneself to work on ones hobby it quickly attracts those that are supposed to be in the bed asleep?)

Slipping into the living room quietly and whispering my four year old says, 
"Hey dad what are you doing?"  
Writing down some thoughts honey, why aren't you in bed?  
"I wanted to tell you what I wanted for my birthday."
Is it any different than what you told me at lunch? 
"I want an American doll, a Kiya doll.  No wait a ZuZu pet.  No wait a Veggie Tale Castle."  
OK honey we will see.  You need to go back and get in bed.
"Let me see what else..."
What else what?
"What else I want for my birthday." 
It's after 9:00 honey you need to go to bed.  Are you not tired sweetie?
"Yeah my legs are tired.  But my eyes are not tired.  My ears are not tired.  My arms are not tired.  My nose is not tired.  My mouth is not tired.  My hands are not tired."

...suddenly I found myself typing a conversation and thinking about what a four year old wants for her birthday.  The wonderful blog research findings I was going to tell you about will just to have to wait.