Tag Archives: Seinfeld

The written record, etched in time

Countdown to Kianna

Eighteen days, 17, 16, 15, 14 — two weeks until Feb. 19, the date that Kianna Allene Brown is set to arrive.

Kelly — Grammy — finished sewing two mattress covers for Baby Kianna on Saturday, so it’s time. After we attend church with Kishia and Darnell this morning at One in Christ Baptist Church in Jefferson City, maybe we can have a little lunch and then drive to Boone Hospital to get little Kianna delivered.

Sure. Good plan.

The written record(s)

I love my job as a news reporter for the Columbia Daily Tribune. Thirty years ago when I started in this profession, I reacted to my byline with a reaction of, “How cool! My name’s in the paper. I wrote that article.”

The ego-boosting property of one or more daily bylines isn’t what it used to be, but I’m still amazed that I get to go to work every day as a reporter. I barely have two years of college on my resume’ and it’s that lack of formal education, among other things, that often leaves me feeling like I don’t belong. I still smile almost every time I walk through the Tribune doors. I can’t believe I get to make a living doing what I hoped I’d be doing when I was 13.

Before that I was planning to attend college at Arizona State University – probably on a baseball scholarship (of course) – and pursue the love of the first decade and three years of my life: Reptiles. ASU is the college Reggie Jackson attended before embarking on a Hall of Fame baseball career, but more than that, ASU at the time had the nation’s preeminent herpetology program.

Seriously. I was sure I was born to be a herpetologist – a reptile scientist. (Not “reptilian” scientist, like the aliens in “V.” But that would have been cool, too). I’d probably specialize in snakes and lizards. Besides, I was already on my way to “expert” status with all the snakes and/or lizards I’d already captured, studied, fed and been bitten by.

Eventually, though, I realized there was one problem.


The prerequisites for admission to the Arizona State herpetology program included all the advanced math and science that was available on the planet, which meant that most of those courses weren’t available at Maries County R-2 High School in Belle, Mo. I was a “B” student in algebra 1 and 2, and geometry, but I had to absolutely bust my hump to get that grade.

Nothing else in high school – with the exception of my principal – gave me as much grief as math. Time for trig and calculus?

See ya.

And that’s basically how I ended up a journalist. I figured I wouldn’t need advanced math for this profession and – sorry, Mr. Fann – I was right. Anyway, it worked out pretty well. Not that many jobs out there for herpetologists, I suppose.

Last night I shuffled through a Rubbermaid tub of old newspapers and clips with my byline. I’ve been a reporter, stringer, sports writer or editor for: The Belle Banner (my hometown newspaper, including sister papers The Bland Courier and the Maries County Gazette-Advisor in Vienna); The Muleskinner (campus paper at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg); the Gasconade County Republican weekly newspaper in Owensville; the Post-Tribune and Daily Capital News, evening and morning editions of the Jefferson City News Tribune; South Callaway Courier weekly newspaper in Holts Summit, which eventually became the twice-weekly Callaway Courier and then the daily Callaway Courier, and then back to the weekly Courier – mostly with a three-person staff; the Fulton Sun; Hannibal Courier-Post; Mexico Ledger; Quincy Herald-Whig; California Democrat; Centralia Fireside Guard; my own Northern Boone County Bullseye, which published 202 editions before “expiring” in September 2008; and the Columbia Daily Tribune. Countless bylines attached to articles picked up by The Associated Press have appeared from coast to coast.

That makes me almost laugh out loud with glee. I can’t believe I’ve been able to do this for a living. It makes me think of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer is mistaken for an employee at a big company until finally he writes a business report and the boss says something like, “This stinks. It’s as if you have no business training at all.”

I keep waiting for someone (besides an angry reader) to tell me that.

Grandpa’s message to Kianna #23

The birds have been singing a little more loudly the past few mornings. I keep bird seed available in a couple of feeders, one of which gets raided by the squirrels. I can’t wait for you to discover things like squirrels and birds and earthworms and crickets and the hidden world of creatures that lives in the grass in your own backyard.

We’ll look through a telescope into the cosmos. We’ll grow our own paramecium and look at them under a microscope.

There’s so much to hear, see, feel, taste and smell. (Note to Grandpa: there’s another story entirely about “smell.” Maybe later. Right, Kishia?)

It’s gonna be GREAT!

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Filed under A reporter's life, Family, Kianna Allene Brown, MIP: Memoir-in-progress

The best ever: What’s on TV?

As the Countdown to Kianna reaches 31 days — and the prospect of becoming a grandpa in one month makes me want to leap like a happy little lamb in a field of clover — I’m thinking ahead to a post-Countdown blog schedule.

Here’s what I’m thinking: Wanted … guest bloggers for Tuesdays and Thursdays. Pitch me your blog ideas (very few topics are off-the-table) or just send something along and I’ll get it ready to post. My interests for Jackson’s Journal are slice of life stuff like “Memoir-in-Progress,” anything family-related, anything writing-related (how-to, technical advice on point of view, plotting, character development, dialogue, etc.), nature and animals and dogs, and spiritual matters. No need to go all Oswald Chambers on me, but the occasional soul-deep devotional and encouragement for the faithful would be much-appreciated.

(For the record, I digest a little bit of old Oswald’s “My Utmost for His Highest” on a fairly regular basis).

I also offer space for my atheist/agnostic/skeptical friends and colleagues to present their views. If faith withers in the presence of thought-provoking, challenging words from skeptics, then faith isn’t faith.

I’m interested in dialogue, conversation and communication.

We can always turn to what we all enjoy just about more than anything: eating. Maybe there’s a cake-baking (Lora W.) or cupcake-making (Catherine M.) guest blogger-in-waiting out there?

For the business at hand tonight, I’m sharing my list of the 25 best television shows ever. See if it matches what you might select and be sure to comment with other nominees or agreement/disagreement. This is MY list, meaning most people probably don’t consider “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” one of the best TV shows of all time. But I do.

Here goes: 1. Seinfeld, 2. The X-Files, 3. Parenthood, 4. Lost (the first four and a half seasons); 5. Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom; 6. M*A*S*H; 7. The Carol Burnett Show; 8. All in the Family; 9. Cheers; 10. Hill Street Blues;

11. Northern Exposure; 12. The Andy Griffith Show; 13.  The Office; 14. thirtysomething; 15. Saturday Night Live, 1975-1980; 16. The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson; 17. St. Elsewhere; 18. E.R.; 19. Frasier; 20. The West Wing.

Honorable mention: NYPD Blue (original series), Chicago Hope, Taxi, House, The Big Bang Theory, Criminal Minds, L.A. Law.

For now I’m trying to train myself to write shorter blogs. Someday I’ll explain my rankings with such profound insight as until “Parenthood” began airing a couple of years ago, “The West Wing” was probably the best-written show ever. I’ll also admit to having never watched “The Sopranos” and a few other highly-acclaimed dramas.

What say you?

Grandpa’s message to Kianna, #7

From the book Grandpas Are for Finding Worms … “When you don’t want to walk anymore, grandpas carry you.”

You can count on it, Kianna.


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Filed under Inspiration, Kianna Allene Brown, MIP: Memoir-in-progress