Because the women in my life make every day worth celebrating

imageSitting on the edge of the bed this morning, I looked over at my wife’s slowly stirring figure. I watched her stretch beneath the blankets and finish with that little squeal that means it was a good stretch. She yawned, covering her mouth with the back of her hand like she always does. Her eyes focused and she slowly smiled at me.

I smiled back, knowing in that moment I was exactly where I was supposed to be in my life.

Before heading to work, I slipped a note into her lunch:

You make every day better because of loving you.

It wasn’t until arriving at work that a Facebook post informed me it was National Women’s Day. It made me think of how the women in my life — especially my wife, daughters and mother — are a constant inpiration, and how the gift of their presence is something worth celebrating every day.  Continue reading

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My tips for celebrity men on how NOT to excite women

imageWe’ve all seen the images of crazed women grabbing at male celebrities like Ryan Gosling, Justin Bieber and Zac Efron.

We’ve watched the footage of a female fan clawing at Tim McGraw’s pant leg, causing him to shove her hand away in an attempt to avoid being dragged into a sea of crazed women.

As I write this, I silently nod my head in understanding.

Being that my job has kept me in the public eye for more than a decade, I have some advice for the country superstar when it comes to avoiding overzealous women trying to get their hands on you:

Become a humor columnist.

In the last 16 years, the closest I’ve come to having a strange woman grab at me was during a fundraiser dinner, when part of my pulled-pork sandwich went down the wrong way and a nurse in the audience gave me the Heimlich Maneuver.  Continue reading

Seven more minutes of childhood; a father’s wish for his daughter the morning of 9-11

I’ll never forget how I felt this day 13 years ago as an American, a firefighter and as a father — and how each held its own kind of hurt that has never completely healed. But of the three, being a father watching the sparkle in my then six-year-old daughter’s eyes noticeably fade just a bit continues to be the memory that lingers most…

image My alarm clock went off the same as it always did back then, coming to life with the morning news — my preference over the annoying, high-pitched alternative of chatter. Instinctively, I swatted the snooze button and bought myself another seven minutes of sleep.

In the years since, I’ve thought a lot about those seven minutes, and how the simple push of a button postponed a bitter reality for just a little longer. When the news came on again, word of the first airliner crashing into the World Trade Center stopped my hand just short of another seven minutes of blissful ignorance — a time span that now seems like an eternity.

Lying there, listening to the details, I regretted not pushing the button one more time.

A hundred more times.

A thousand.

In that same moment, I also understood that the impassive gaze of terrorism could only be averted for so long, and that, eventually, I’d have to meet it — along with the questioning gaze of my daughter. Continue reading

Seven more minutes of childhood; a father’s wish for his daughter the morning of 9-11

image My alarm clock went off the same as it always did back then, coming to life with the morning news — my preference over the annoying, high-pitched alternative of chatter. Instinctively, I swatted the snooze button and bought myself another seven minutes of sleep.

In the years since, I’ve thought a lot about those seven minutes, and how the simple push of a button postponed a bitter reality for just a little longer. When the news came on again, word of the first airliner crashing into the World Trade Center stopped my hand just short of another seven minutes of blissful ignorance — a time span that now seems like an eternity.

Lying there, listening to the details, I regretted not pushing the button one more time.

A hundred more times.

A thousand.

In that same moment, I also understood that the impassive gaze of terrorism could only be averted for so long, and that, eventually, I’d have to meet it — along with the questioning gaze of my daughter. Continue reading

Keith Morrison latest reporter to knock on… The Door

The Door in our newsroom: Sentinel of journalistic history, protector of bathroom privacy.

The Door in our newsroom: Sentinel of journalistic history, protector of bathroom privacy.

It seems as though ABC reporters Barbara Walters, Morley Safer and John Quinones have finally given up on gaining an exclusive to The Door (of Shame, Blame and Brilliance). It’s been nearly a week since Safer has faxed any threatening images of his booty, which we began handing out for a new children’s coloring contest. Interestingly, there seems to be a 50/50 split between children who believe it is the image of a dense forest surrounding an abandoned well, and those who are think it is the Death Star exploding.

In addition, Walters is no longer leaving angry messages such as “Your CAWEER is HISTOWY!” on my voice mail, and Quinones has stopped Tweeting “@Ned Hickson: What would YOU do? Give me an exclusive before you become a Dateline Mystery!

Which brings us to this week’s entry from The Door, and the latest reporter to begin hounding us for an exclusive to what Anderson Cooper has called “A journalistic milestone of unparalleled significance, not counting my decision to wear Dockers that were a size too small during broadcasts.” Continue reading

Why National Hot Dog Day always leaves me feeling inadequate

“After realizing the size and scope of this assignment, I was feeling a little inadequate.”

Given that 1) yesterday was National Hot Dog Day, and 2) I have just returned to eating solid foods, it seemed like the perfect time to reminisce about the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, which visited our town exactly one year ago today.

After more than a decade of working in the high-pressure environment of our newsroom, where at any given moment you could find yourself surrounded by as many as two other journalists all typing at once, it takes a lot to get our adrenaline pumping.

In fact, we have been at the epi-center of the national spotlight three times here in Florence. Sure, two occasions came after being singled out as having the nation’s highest rate of … (yawn) … retirees.

But the third time involved REAL explosives.

And a dead whale.

And quite possibly an unlicensed demolitions expert going through a divorce. This would explain using half a ton of dynamite to dispose of a rotting whale carcass that washed ashore, and how one onlooker literally chewed the fat after being struck by a piece if flying whale blubber. Continue reading

The verdict is in: we the jury are free to go

image So as it turns out, the closest I got to witnessing any courtroom drama today was while sitting in the jury assembly room watching the Zimmerman trial on Court TV. Apparently, the defendant in the case WE were scheduled to hear this morning never showed. As a result, at approximately 11 a.m., “Municipal Betty,” who registered me when I arrived, stood before us and thanked us for our service before sending us on our way.

“None of you will have to worry about seeing this building again for two years,” she said. But as I walked by, she whispered, “Except for you, depending on what you do with that stolen car.”

“That really depends on you, ” I said, “and whether you want it back.”

Next stop: Circuit court!

For all of you who kept me company in the jury assembly room via my blog, many thanks 😉 Especially you, Lisa and Jen

And to Is Everyone an Idiot But Me, it was nice to meet you.

I was picked first! …for jury duty

image I just reported for jury duty a few minutes ago. My third time in two years. When I handed in my juror sheet to the registration desk, the women looked it over.

“Where did you park? We have free parking across the street.”

“I stole a car,” I replied.

“You know,” she said after giving me a long look, “if I had the power, I would totally excuse you.”

Answering your painful questions about my softball season

(If you’re someone who doesn’t normally have flashbacks on a regular basis, but wants to start having them, this blog can help! And without expensive prescription medication or those annoying side effects, such as abdominal bleeding, thoughts of suicide or liver failure! That’s right! Welcome to Flashback Sunday, when we dig into the archives to a time before I had any readers who weren’t in the coma ward at Hackensaw Hospital; back when talking openly to a woman about your blog led to slap in the face; back when “Freshly Pressed” was a dry cleaners on Crenshaw Blvd. Today’s flashback is from 2004, when readers of my newspaper column wanted to know how my first season of men’s softball was going. You’ll be sorry they asked. I know I was…)

imageA few weeks ago I mentioned joining a men’s softball team after not participating in anything athletic since (conservative estimate) the golden era of dodgeball in the early ‘70s. In response, I have received letters and emails offering encouragement, support and, in an isolated incident, a lucky athletic cup from someone named “Derek.”

Admittedly, I was curious as to what qualified this particular cup as “lucky.” His response should be a lesson to us all regarding the dangers of continuous baseball usage.

“I used to get hit — there — almost every game,” Derek explained. “Sometimes two or three times. But my [censored] never got hurt.”

Though he didn’t mention it, I suspect Derek also has a “lucky” batting helmet. Continue reading

Wimpy fireworks take excitement out of having facial hair

image First, the good news.

According to the National Council on Fireworks Safety, fireworks-related injuries have dropped by 75 percent in the last decade.

The bad news, as anyone over the age of 30 can tell you, is that today’s fireworks are about as exciting to watch as a pile of smoldering pencil shavings.

For example: It used to be that “sparklers” actually sparkled. They showered the air with tiny crackling embers so bright you could see them through your eyelids. The bravest kids would spin them like propellers, knowing full well their eyebrows would grow back by mid summer. Continue reading