03/13/23 No time to panic? OK. Will you tell me when it is time?

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Everything Everywhere All at Once.

That’s not just the Oscar winner, it’s an apt description of this Monday in both news and sports.

We were all wondering how high the Fed could push interest rates before something broke. We found out Friday with the sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, followed by the aftershock precautionary shutdown of Signature Bank.

It’s a High Anxiety Monday, and public tension would be near the breaking point had it not been for reassurances issued Sunday by the Fed and the Treasury Department, who announced they will work together with FDIC to insure all deposits threatened by the collapses, and that the bailout will not involve taxpayer money.

Hmmm. Ultimately, it’s all taxpayer money, right?

What’s next? We’ll learn more this morning following President Biden’s address to the nation.

I’d describe myself as Oscar Neutral. I’m neither annually enamored nor outraged. I don’t look to the Oscars for social and political guidance, but neither do I begrudge an industry that is definitionally dramatic taking a night to collectively masturbate.

Whatever. With my pleasant and passive indifference.

I don’t use words like “brave” to describe movies and actors. I tend to categorize them more broadly as either “interesting” or “not interesting.” I greatly prefer interesting.

And I admit that as a language guy, I find winners’ ubiquitous and obligatory acceptance speech references to “people who look like me” to be increasingly trite. I’m good with the sentiment. It’s just the phrase that has become an eye-roller. Nobody looks like anybody else.

But I do defend entertainers’ rights to speak out, as I do the rights of athletes. You don’t have an obligation to listen or care. But you don’t have a right to try to silence them.

BB had an interesting observation. That’s kinda what BB does. She noted the trend for women in the film industry moving toward aging more naturally and gracefully, and used Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver as examples. As BB put it, “No more post-menopausal extreme measures.” Yeah. That’s healthy.

But so is Jennifer Connelly.

I’ll just take my ass-whuppin’ now.

It’s March 13. It was 49-years ago this morning that I first heard a piece of music that changed my life.  It’s a well-above-average story.

I’ll tell it later today, both in this space and on Facebook.

Just a generic observation here. Folks always say, “This is no time to panic.” OK. Will you promise to tell when it is?

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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.