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I’m 67. I have lived 26 of those years in San Antonio, where my wife and I currently reside.

From the spring semester of second grade through my freshman year in college, I lived with my mother and sister in Lockhart, Texas, a small Central Texas town of about 6,000 residents during the period I was there. Next month I will attend my 50th high school reunion in Lockhart. I’m a Lion forever, and I have worn—and bled—a lot of maroon.

I’ve since made Texas residential stops in San Marcos, Austin, Temple, Brownsville, McAllen, Harlingen, Corpus Christi/Port Aransas and Beaumont, and have also lived and worked in Tucson and St. Louis.

But I had a very moving experience last night that confirmed what I’ve always really known.

I’m from Houston. Through and through.

Jo and I watched “Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood” last night. And, in a very real and wonderful way, we each saw ourself. And we liked it. And we liked ourselves. And we felt good about our childhoods, something that has not always been the case for either of us.

Apollo 10 ½ is a brilliant animated film by Richard Linklater. Like Jo and me, Linklater was born in Houston. Like me, his parents separated when he was seven. I moved to Lockhart. Linklater moved to Huntsville.

Houston never left my soul. And clearly it never left Linklater’s soul, either.

A quick synopsis. Apollo 10 ½ is about a fourth-grade boy and his siblings growing up in Houston near NASA during the space race. Know this. During that period, Houston was the most dynamic, happening place on Earth, period. Nothing was impossible. Everything was expected, and everything and more was delivered. Houston won every bet, every time.

The film advances on two tracks. There is the documentation of the actual Apollo 11 landing, but it is preceded by the kid’s own fantasy of walking on the moon.

But in each of the story lines, Apollo 10 ½ screams Houston in inspired and accurate animation. Yeah, that’s JFK at Rice Stadium. Yeah, that’s the Astrodome and Astro World. Yeah, those are mutant mosquitoes and sonic booms and bayous and Little League baseball fields and relative humidities of at least 123 percent.

Yeah, that’s my early childhood. And, yes, Jo, that’s yours, too.

Fun fact to know and tell. Jo and I were born eight days apart at Hermann Hospital in Houston. Yes, I am her elder.

We did not meet until 19 years later during our sophomore year at Southwest Texas State University. We met because as I was walking off an intramural football field on a glorious fall Thursday midnight-blue evening in 1973, I saw this brunette rocket in blue jeans and a green top standing near our sideline and decided to make a pest of myself.

And, wouldn’t you know it, we wound up married 39 years later.

Houston never left my soul, and in fact always continued to nurture my soul. Jo’s relationship with her hometown has been much more complex, and not always happy.

But I saw my Houston Girl’s smile last night. She knows who she is. And I know who I am.

This was liberating. I felt no angst or sadness watching Apollo 10 ½. I felt only joy. And pride. Deep, deep pride.

Never forget that the first word spoken from the surface of the moon was, “Houston.”

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.