Not another typical Tuesday…

The morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 started like any other day. Things started at our house in Rancho Cucamonga, California around 5am each day. Brenda had been up feeding our infant daughter Allyn, while I got ready for my midday show at KBIG 104 in Los Angeles. The studios were in Glendale, and the drive each way in the morning was a brutish 2 ½ hours.  As I got ready, Brenda had prepared our oldest, Daryn for school. She had just started kindergarten at a catholic school in Pasadena, which was convenient due to my commute. The rule of thumb was, be out the door by 6-6:15, be at work by 9.

A little after 5:45 in the morning, I came downstairs, flipped on the TV in the front room, and walked to the kitchen to make my lunch. I was only half listening when the news broke of a tragic accident in New York. A plane had struck one of the towers of The World Trade Center.  I didn’t pay much attention at first, and didn’t really look up, thinking it was a private plane or something similar.  I then turned to the television, and saw the cameras now trained on the massive firestorm sweeping the building. All I could think of, was that this was a terrible accident and that something had to go very wrong with that airplane. The last thing on my mind, was that it was no accident.

I finished making lunch, when Brenda came down with Allyn and Daryn. Daryn was wearing her school uniform, and we were getting ready to leave.  I showed Brenda the TV, and we both agreed that this was a terrible accident. I walked out to my car, and walked back in just in time to see the immediate aftermath of the impact of the 2nd tower being struck by another jumbo jet. Brenda and I stared at the TV in horror. Instantly, a tragic accident had become an obvious act of war. I looked at Brenda, holding Allyn, and looked down at Daryn…and realized what was going on. Our world, was changing at that instant.

I buckled Daryn into the car, and gave my wife and infant daughter a kiss, and headed off to work and school…not sure exactly of what to do.

As I drove, I stayed with the local news radio stations for updates. There were reports of other hijackings, and the order that all planes must land immediately.  Traffic seemed to move more slowly than ever.  As if the entire world, was in a catatonic state.  I heard the reports of planes striking The Pentagon…a rumor that one was headed for The Capitol or White House…and the chaos that was unfolding 3000 miles away. At that, I thought of the large skyscrapers in Downtown Los Angeles, which were beginning to come into view. Would one of those be next? Even my daughter…who usually chatted idly in the backseat…was unusually quiet.

Then, the unthinkable. The radio crackles with word that one of the towers had…in fact…collapsed. It didn’t seem possible. Just 7 months prior, I had flown to Rochester, New York for a job interview with Infinity Broadcasting…and remember seeing the Twin Towers in the distance as my connecting flights landed at JFK. Now…that skyline was forever changed.  Then…the word of the 2nd tower collapse. I then turned on The Howard Stern Show (which I usually did not listen to in the car with my 5 year old), and heard the actual human reaction to the tragedy…my heart broke hearing the voices of people who had friends who had presumably, just lost their lives.

Sitting in traffic on the 210 Freeway, I looked out over the San Gabriel Valley. Usually, you could see planes lining up for miles headed into LAX, This morning, the skies went eerily quiet.  It was surreal. Eventually, we got off the freeway and took side streets through Monrovia, Arcadia, and Pasadena to get to Daryn’s school. I was unsure if I should drop her off, but saw that many parents were leaving their kids there. It seemed logical, that this school should realistically be one of the safest places for my child that day. I walked Daryn to her class, gave her a kiss, and walked back to my car. As I walked, I passed by the school flagpole. The flag was still at full-mast, and several other parents had stopped to look up. I did the same, said a quiet prayer, and then gave the flag a salute with a tear in my eye.

I drove on into Glendale, arriving at KBIG just after 9. My show started at 10, but we were in full simulcast mode. We were airing audio from Fox News across all of our stations in the building. I went into the studio, with the instruction that we still needed to play spots.  Every so often, I would do a station ID and play a spotblock. That was it. We attempted to play music again at around 1pm, but the word came from corporate to stay with the news feed. We also had a fear that if terror attacks were widespread, what would happen at our building? We were on the 8th floor, but on the ground level…was an IRS office. Fear that the IRS would be targeted began to take hold, and some people opted to leave.  I stayed behind…because commercials had to play.

That afternoon, I picked up my daughter, hugged her tight, and drove home.  Brenda could not sleep, and stayed up each night feeding the baby and watching news coverage.  I tried hard in the passing days to maintain some sense of normalcy, continuing the routine of driving my daughter to school each day, and then working on the air as we eventually returned to the routine of playing the hits.  From time to time, rumors would pop up…that envelopes in our mailroom had white powder in them…things like that which were always unfounded.  But, the images of the television that morning are seared into my mind eternally.

Last Christmas, I was able to visit the 9-11 Memorial with my family, and the memories of that morning all flooded back…as they do each September 11th

2016-12-28 14.10.05.jpg

Never forget…


Blog Therapy (Or: A day with my 8-year-old)

Well, I am back at it. Not working, per se, but back to blogging. It seems as if I have some…how you say…TIME on my hands, since I left Birmingham (and trust me, there is nothing more satisfying that having Birmingham in your rear-view mirror).   So, for right now, it’s either blog, or that list of “honey do’s” that is ever present on the counter. Paint? Do the laundry? Laundry Schamundry…I’d rather write.  At the moment, though…I am in the middle of one of my “honey do’s”. I am at the local Chevy dealership getting my wife’s SUV checked out. There seems to be a “SERVICE ENGINE SOON” light that keeps reappearing within hours of the last time we had had it looked at.


Believe me, if I knew anything at all about cars…I’d still be sitting here, waiting for someone wholly more qualified than I to fix it.  I’m pretty well aware of my limitations, and spending hours trying to figure out why the compression in the flux depostulator is 4% low is not my idea of how I want to kill time.  Besides, I am “car-illiterate”.  This means, essentially, that I am the black sheep of the Ballance clan.  Let’s put this into perspective: My father and brothers operate a racing team. You heard me….a racing-freakin’-team. Their (very expensive) hobby is getting a race car to reach the upper limits of its performance, over a ¼ mile, straight line, racetrack. My hobby…is making, and drinking, beer.  Can you see the disconnect?  I thought so…

There is something to be said for sitting in the waiting room at a car dealership. At this time of day…most people are working, except for those in “transition” (like me), and senior citizens. I have personally observed one gentleman, who may have been alive at the time of Grover Cleveland’s first inauguration, ask no less than 4 times to have the volume on the TV turned up.

Watch for elderly pickpockets...

It is now as loud as the front row at a Megadeth show…if only the Megadeth show was being simulcast on CNN.  I can easily hear everything on the television outside, here in the case enclosed “playroom”. To add to this equation, my youngest daughter decided that today would be the day that she regurgitated her entire breakfast and require a day off of school.  So, not only am I waiting at the dealership…but I am waiting in the “playroom” of the waiting room. A utopia of toys and distractions for any child aged 1 to 10. This is a welcome distraction…for an 8-year-old. Me being 42…not so much.  However, since she is in this room of bliss, I have the luxury of writing, while she goes to town on the Duplos (yes…she is “sick”, but miraculously well enough to create a fort).  However, I may have just pulled the ultimate “jerk” Dad move. I brought along a workbook of Second Grade math problems for her to work on, to which she is not happy.  After 20 minutes of joyous play and Duplo construction…she is now as sullen and depressed as a Massachusetts Democrat.  She has ceased all normal brain function…and is mindlessly tapping her pencil on the table.  Every 30-45 seconds, she looks over at me as if to say: “I used to love you…”.  Perhaps I am being a bit harsh with her…especially since she is now using the “I don’t feel good” excuse to try and get out of doing the math.  Funny, when she was building the Burj Dubai out of Duplos 20 minutes ago…she seemed just fine.  A picture of good health.  Now, she is apparently very near death, with a math book in front of her.

She is a great kid. Very smart, and compassionate about nature and animals. She is certainly the more “left-brained” member of our family. But, that also means, that mundane tasks like subtraction is not her primary focus. Her specialties lie in creating pieces of artwork that she asserts should sell for thousands of dollars, running a veterinarians office for her rocking horses, or using her Ninja skills to save China on our Playstation 3.  There may be some real world practicality to that. I often lay awake at night, in fear that we will be the victims of a home invasion…by the Yakuza. If so…my 8 year old has the talent to dispatch them promptly and return peace and calm to our home. So…in that instance…screw the Math book. Let’s go get the car…hurry home…and kill Ninjas.

Their ninja skills were no match for the dog, who thought they were chew toys.

This story is NOT about John Daly…

Although, it would be HYSTERICAL if it were. Read on….and you’ll understand:

Courtesy of Fox News…Fair, and Ballanced.

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. —  Doug Barron, a 40-year-old journeyman who lost his tour card three years ago, became the first player to be suspended by the PGA Tour for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

The American was immediately suspended for one year, the PGA Tour said Monday. He played eight full seasons on the tour, with his best finish a tie for third at the Byron Nelson Championship in 2006.

“I would like to apologize for any negative perception of the tour of its players resulting from my suspension,” Barron said in a statement released by the tour. “I want my fellow tour members and the fans to know that I did not intend to gain an unfair competitive advantage or enhance my performance while on tour.”

The tour announced the suspension about two hours before the World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The tour said it would have no further comment, and Barron’s agent did not immediately return a call.

Under its doping policy, the tour announces a suspension but does not disclose what substance a player used. The tour did not start random testing until July 2008, which includes its second-tier Nationwide Tour.

Barron played a full Nationwide schedule last year, making only five cuts in 17 starts to earn $33,446. He played four times on the Nationwide Tour this year, and his lone PGA Tour start came at the St. Jude Classic, where he missed the cut.

The last time Barron made news was in 2006 at what is now the Transitions Championship outside Tampa, Florida, where he removed his shirt to play a shot out of the water on the 16th hole at Innisbrook. He exposed an ample belly on television, drawing jokes from players.

Barron’s most recent tournament was in September at the Mexico Open, co-sanctioned by the Nationwide Tour, where he missed the cut.


Okay, let’s think about this…I can see other sports having this problem, but GOLF??????????????

The only performance enhancing substance in Golf….comes on the Drink cart.  You get 4 or 5 Heineken’s in me, and I’m Phil Mickelson (Moobs and all).

I'm too sexy for my shirt...
I'm...too sexy for my shirt.

I’d say something about Tiger here…but he just might decide to kick my ass…

Augusta is hosting...the GUN show!


How I want to spend my remaining years…

Yeah, yeah, yeah…it’s been a while. I have this thing called “a life”, which sometimes gets in the way of my childish and wanton posting of videos and nasty food products. My bad.

Besides, I actually prefer the two way street of actual communication.  In that eventuality…write on my Facebook wall and I’ll be snarky right back to ya.

That being said, while surfing aimlessly…I came upon a device that I think I want to be buried in. Since I am apt to spend upwards of 17 hours a day in the shower, I have found “Shower Ecstacy”.

Michael Jackson slept here...
Michael Jackson slept here...

This is the ultimate in shower technology.  It’s got a freakin’ MP3 player!!! This thing will get you clean…and pregnant at the same time. For the “rest of the story”…click here.

I may never get out…

How I spent my election night…

Tuesday night was an historic night, to say the least. Even though I never prefer to engage in political debate (but have a new found interest in Hockey and the Canadian Football League), I value the process and hate when people have an excuse to question the system…

…like I have now.

Tuesday Night I did NOT see the long lines to vote, and found a lovely little precinct when I went to cast my ballot. All seemed normal when I received my ballot, until I turned to look for the voting machines. I saw some tables with a 4 way partition on them, lots of school lunch tables, and folks just scattered everywhere…voting.  But…no machines.

Alabama does not use these...
Alabama does not use these...

I went to find a place to fill out my ballot, and realized I needed a pen (Alabama uses the “fill-in the circle” method of voting…like the lottery). I began to wander through the hall, and noticed that I could read EVERYONE’S ballot. This was not a secret ballot…in fact I knew who at least 10 different people were voting for before I borrowed a pen from someone who was finishing up. As I walked to where I thought I would have some privacy, I walked past an older woman who was filling out her ballot with some assistance from the person sitting next to her. I could not believe my ears…but I actually heard the words: “This is where you want to mark the bubble”…


This older woman may not have known who she was voting for, but I took a long look as I filled out my ballot…hovering over her table.  She was for Obama, or at least her companion had her fill out the Obama bubble. Of course, it did not help that Democratic candidates were listed first in all categories. Easy for the lazy voter…just fill out the first name you see.

I finished up my ballot, and walked to the voting machine…a giant scantron. As I walked up to it, a poll worker had a stack of completed ballots in her hand…the top one turned face up, so that we all could see who this person voted for.  I walked away stunned after placing my ballot in the scantron, never to be seen again…

…I think.

There is a flaw in the system. Voters need to be kept separated from one another during the voting process, and a polling place should NOT look like a dorm during an open book quiz. Every time I have voted up until now, has been a personal experience, secure and private…this was just odd.

DID Obama really win the election? Who knows…but I know that Obama did well among voters who required help in my precinct.