Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Tuesday, 2/18


I really didn't mean to waste three hours of a weekend afternoon. Really, I didn't.

I had a lot I wanted to get done Sunday. There were a lot of little things that had been piling up, and there were several long-term projects into which I'd hoped to take a bite. Unfortunately, before I got to any of that I made a mistake and I clicked on a website. By the time I looked up it was 5 and time to make dinner.

Oops.

My own personal Internet kryptonite these days, the rabbit hole into which I was pulled this past weekend, would be “Live at Daryl's House”. I don't know if you're aware of this site, but Daryl Hall (of Hall & Oates) hosted a web series for around 10 years where he'd welcome musical stars to his home, make dinner for them, and then jam with he & his band. Videos from various performances are all over the web, and if you're anything like me, once you watch the first you keep clicking on the next until you realize the afternoon has disappeared and your wife is wondering if you're still breathing.

Once again, oops.

There are two reasons that I get so into the clips. The first is that the musicianship is impeccable. The people who play on the show, both the regular band and the guests, are at the top of their game. They can play just about any musical genre and play it well. And that ties into the second reason—they seem to have a BLAST doing it. Whether they're doing a Hall & Oates song, a song by the guest, or just some old chestnut, the musicians are all smiling. And when they hit a particular groove or know that they've nailed a piece of work, the joy they share is just palpable.

It's just fun to watch.

I got hooked because I came across a performance from a decade ago from one of my current favorite groups, Chromeo. At the time, they were just unknown funksters from Montreal, but when you hear them join the band to play Boz Scaggs' “Lowdown”, you just know they were talented even then--



Of course, they weren't too bad on a Hall & Oates classic, either--



Actually, if you watch that video through to the end, you can get a sense of just how much fun they were having.

I could recommend just about every video you can find from the show, and thereby find myself getting sucked into another rabbit hole, but there are two more I'd like to put out there. The first, a performance of “Life's Been Good” with Joe Walsh, shows how they can tackle any kind of musical style--



And then pulling a 180, they also show how they can change up a Hall & Oates classic in this performance with Rumer--



That's just a (very) small sample of what you can find floating around the internet from the show. That's not even getting into the stuff they did with the O'Jays, or Meyer Hawthorne, or Train, or Aloe Blacc, or Rob Thomas, or Cheap Trick, or...

Well, you get the idea. And maybe, just maybe, can now understand how I lost three hours of my life Sunday afternoon.



Monday, February 17, 2020

Monday, 2/17


I think the statistic says all that needs to be said about the state of this country these days.

A couple of days ago on the air I gave out a “Weird Fact” that, I'm guessing, didn't surprise a lot of people. And since it's Presidents' Day today, I'll share it here, as well. It's not a made up fact; a U.S. university actually did a study, and this is what they found out--

The average American 10-year old can only name four presidents. The same average American 10-year old can name eight brands of beer.

Explains a lot, doesn't it?

Now, maybe I'm just a little sensitive about the subject. After all, I was the dorky kid who once collected Presidential trading cards off the back of Cheerios boxes, and was the dorky kid who once wrote and gave a speech for a Presidential candidate when I was in the second grade...and then had to give it to a couple of third grade classes because I was, you know, such a dork. Obviously, when I was 10 years old, I knew more than just four Presidents.

So you can see why the statistic made my jaw drop.

But I think the statistic does say a lot about what kids learn these days. I don't wanna sound like one of those people who starts every sentence with “back when I was a kid”, but, ahem, back when I was a kid we got to learn about things like Presidents in school. We got to learn about things like Presidents on the back of a cereal box. I don't know what gets taught in history or social studies classes these days, but I'm guessing it's not Presidents.

And I'm certainly hoping it's not brands of beer.

Of course, the whole thing is quite ironically funny because if kids wanted to learn about Presidents they have a resource much better than the back of a cereal box—they have the Internet. The name of every single U.S. President is available with the click of a mouse, and yet either the ability to find out who those people were or the interest to find out who those people were is lacking.

Now, I realize that history of how a democracy works probably isn't as important to some people as how many kinds of beer are out there, but you know that old line about getting the government we deserve? If you only know four U.S. Presidents (I'm guessing, if I had to, they'd be Washington, Lincoln, Obama, and the current one) and you aren't aware of the struggles, triumphs, victories, and just plain stupidity of the rest, they do you really have enough knowledge and experience on which to base your vote as an adult?

Think of it this way--10-year old kids are eight years out from voting, and they're 11 years out from (legally) drinking. Yet they're better prepared for one than the other.

The past few years have made me wonder if people really care about a functioning democracy. Seeing a statistic like that makes me wonder even more.



Friday, February 14, 2020

Friday, 2/14


“So..just how big of a crush DO you have on Alicia Keys?”

The caller yesterday was joking when she said that, although I knew what she was talking about. Every time I backsell or frontsell  (radio terms there) the song “Underdog”, I usually stick an adjective in front of Ms. Keys’ name; right before the call came in, in fact, I believe the term was “babe-alicious” (as in “the babe-alicious Alicia Keys”). The caller then jokingly asked how Loraine must feel about my “crush”, and I was able to answer that quite easily--

“Oh, she’s used to it”.

You see, over the last 30 years, there have been all kinds of little “crushes” floating around the Koski household. I mean, you can draw a line from Michelle Pfeiffer to Vanessa Williams to Amy Grant to Tina Fey to Halsey and not blink an eye. Of course, I’m not the only one like that; Loraine and I have often joked that if we could pry a crowbar between Amy Grant and Vince Gill and divide the spoils between us, we could each walk away happy.

Of course, that’s all it is--a joke. No matter what kind of crush I have on Michelle Pfeiffer or Tina Fey or Alicia Keys, it pales in comparison to the crush I still have, after all these years, on Loraine. Sure, like most couples, we may annoy the heck out of each other on occasion, but I can’t think of anyone else with whom I’d rather plot the breaking up of Amy Grant and Vince Gill. I really can’t.



So Happy Valentine’s Day, Loraine. Maybe you and Vince can come visit Amy & me some day!

8-)

Have a great weekend, everyone. There are a TON of things going on around here the next few days; hopefully, the weather will cooperate so can check one or two of them out.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Thursday, 2/13


I wonder if I would look any younger.

I wrote about a strange conversation I had yesterday. And just a couple of hours after that, I found myself involved in another one. My brother had stopped by and was in the midst of Facetiming daily blog reader Darlene of Melbourne Beach, Florida. Somehow, the conversation turned to gray hair, and my brother was shocked—shocked--when he found out that daily blog reader Darlene was the only person who voted “yes” six years ago when I wondered if I should color my hair before starting to host “High School Bowl”.

Her rationale? “I'm too young to have a son on TV with gray hair”. Given my family's phobia about aging, I understand it. My brother didn't quite understand it, but at the time I did, even if I had to laugh about it.

Anyway, while we were talking about it again yesterday my mom made a new point, in that I have a “young looking” face and that the gray hair detracts from it. Her argument's sound; while I myself am not a big fan of my gray hair I've always thought that the good genes I inherited from daily blog reader Darlene made up for it. But over the past couple of years, as the graying of my head has advanced, I've started to wonder once again.

Should I get rid of the gray?

I try not to be vain. Really, I don't. But sometimes I look at myself on TV (which is not my favorite thing in the world to begin with) and wonder how different I'd look with my hair the color it was 20 years ago. I mean, I know you can't turn back time; trust me, I KNOW that. But would I shave a couple of years off my appearance if my hair was the dark brown it used to be instead of the gray mixed with dark brown it is now? Would the different hair color allow me to pull off wearing certain colors that might not look as good as they would now?

Or would I just look like a vain dork fighting a losing battle in trying to turn back the clock?

As with most decisions in my life, I'm gonna put it off as long as possible. But it is something I suppose I should ponder. And as with most decisions in my life I'll try to gather as much information as possible, including the opinions of as many people as possible. So if you have a thought on the matter, let me know. I'm probably too close to the subject, and a few outside observations are always welcome.

Of course, I already know what daily blog reader Darlene in Melbourne Beach, Florida thinks.

8-)


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Wednesday, 2/12


I don’t know how the conversation started, but the gist of it was this--

“You mean you actually still think about work AFTER you leave for the night?”

That feeling was expressed by someone who’ll remain nameless. It stunned her that my mind is always “on” as far as ideas and thoughts go, just as it stunned me that there are people who leave work for the day and don’t give it a second thought.

This person and I were discussing what we do on winter weekends, and I was explaining to her how, among the many things I have going on, I might spend a small chunk of a winter evening or a weekend writing a blog or two, or come up with a few things I might want to mention on air, or flesh out the details of something we have coming up in the future. During the summer, not so much because I'm playing outside, but the winter?

Sure.

Now, why do I think about the aforementioned things on the weekends or at night after I'm off the air? Well, there aren’t as many distractions, I’m not worried about being on the air, and I can just let my mind “wander” into some strange (and occasionally interesting) corners. She just couldn’t comprehend that; in fact, she said that if she had to think about work outside the 40 hours per week for which she gets paid, she’d go “crazy”. For me, I think it would be the opposite.

Like most people, I use the weekends to “recharge” myself, but maybe I recharge something different. The person with whom I was having this conversation admitted that she doesn’t like her job; it doesn’t stimulate her, and it’s basically doing the same thing day in and day out. I’ve had jobs like that before. I know that if your job sucks, you need to use the weekend to recharge your mind, to get it ready to face another week of the “same old same old”. I use the weekends to recharge my supply of ideas. I’m VERY fortunate in that I have a job that I like, a job that stimulates me, and a job that’s never the same day in and day out. I always get to branch out in different directions, and I never know quite what to expect when I start a new week. So if a thought or an idea happens to pop into my mind while I’m running, or reading a newspaper, or at the grocery store, or cooking dinner, or watching “Star Trek: Discovery” on Blu-ray, I embrace it. After all, you never know where the next cool concept may come from.

I suppose it’s nice for some people to have “work” time and “me” time, and not have the two overlap. For me, those two “times” are just part of who I am. If something good for work pops up when I’m not at work, I embrace it, the same way I’ll take off from work for a few hours on those days when it’s 80 and sunny and the beach is calling my name. I’m lucky in that I can do that. And I know I’m lucky, too.

Oh, and this particular blog? In the interest of full disclosure, I came up with the idea for it on Sunday afternoon.


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Tuesday, 2/11


Wow. The sheer number almost kind of blows my mind.

I spent a little time yesterday taping the wrap-up show for the 42nd season of “High School Bowl”. In my six years of hosting the show it's the earliest we've ever finished a season. Of course, it might also be the first time in 42 years that the show didn't have a single cancellation because of bad weather, so I'm pretty sure that played a huge role in the timeliness. Unlike, say, last year, when we had to cancel six straight shooting dates because of ice and/or cold, and were within one day of having to do a show live on a Saturday night to stay on schedule.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed THAT never happens again.

Anyway, while I was sitting there waiting to start I began to think. And that, as we all know, can be a dangerous thing. But maybe not in this instance. Having hosted the show for six years now, that means I've done 120 hours of the series. Each hour has two games. If you subtract the six “year in review” shows from the mix, that means I've how hosted 234 games of “High School Bowl”.

234 games. Maybe one of these days I'll even get it right.

8-)

I personally can't believe it's been that many games. The science, though, is 100% correct. And if there's one thing I've learned doing 234 games is that science is always right. Of course, I'm also having a little trouble grasping the concept I've been doing the show for six years now, as it seems like it's been, at most, a year or two. But six?

Once again, the science doesn't lie.

I am, however, still saying the same things about the show that I said after hosting the first few, foremost among them that the kids who take part are smart. I mean, they're really, really smart. I'd like to think I know a little something after all the decades I've accumulated, but if we were being honest I only know the answers to maybe a third of the questions I ask. The rest I just sound like I know what I'm talking about. But some of the young people who've come through the show the answer to every single thing I've asked. And if they don't know it outright, they're able to infer what the answer might be. And they're doing this at the age when (joke coming here) I was still learning to feed myself.

They're that smart.

Now that production of season 42 is in the books we've already started talking about season 43, what we hope to accomplish, and any changes that might need to be made. And I'm sure that twelve or thirteen months from now, I'll be sitting here and wondering to myself how it is that I'll have done 140 hours—273 games—of a TV show that I thought I had just started hosting a few months prior.



Monday, February 10, 2020

Monday, 2/10


You know, they’re the gloves charged with getting me through an Upper Michigan winter. I should probably take better care of them.

Because I do a lot of walking in the winter, I always make sure I have a good pair of gloves. I make sure they’re Thinsulated yet not so bulky that they impair my fingers. I trust me gloves to keep me warm yet keep me functional on those cold winter days when I have to trudge to work and back.

So you think I’d take good care of those gloves, right? Oh, c’mon; you know better than that. I’ve had this...habit recently of misplacing the gloves I with which I trust my hands. I have lost them in a grocery store, I have left them backstage at Kaufman, I have misplaced them on a city street, I have left them in an office, and I’ve even left them on the roof of a car. But you know what? I also seem to find them again. Those gloves must be like one of those dogs that’ll travel cross-country to become reunited with their owner.

Those gloves just don’t want to leave me!

And I don’t want them to leave me, either. I mean, like I said, they’re good gloves, and they’ve been protecting my hands during this very weird winter, a winter during which the first two months were 20 degrees below average and a winter where the past month and a half have been 10 degrees above average. No matter, what, though, I accept all blame for the torture I’ve put them through; mostly, it’s because I’ll stick them half hanging out of a jacket pocket, which causes them to fall out in a grocery store, backstage at Kaufman, while I’m walking home, or in someone’s office. It’s not the fault of the gloves; as with many things, it’s my own stupidity that causes me to almost lose them.

Luckily I’ve always realized I’ve misplaced the gloves before it’s been too late to backtrack to try & find them. Sometimes it’s taken time to find them (time I never seem to have) but I always do come to their rescue. You’d think that after a while I’d realize that, just perhaps, my jacket pocket isn’t the best place to keep them. After all, they keep falling out whenever I put them in there. But no. I’m either too lazy or too stupid to actually put them somewhere where they won’t fall out. Heck, maybe I’m self-sabotaging; after all, we all know I don’t like winter. Maybe my twisted psyche figures that if it gets rid of the gloves it’ll get rid of winter. I mean, my conscious mind knows that’s not true, but you never know what you’ll find in my sub-conscious mind.

Most days, in fact, I don’t even wanna go down there!!

So if you see a pair of small Thinsulated black gloves with a Champion logo on the street in the next few weeks, laugh to yourself a little bit. Not only will you know who lost the gloves, but you’ll also know that he’s not yet learned his lesson that he shouldn’t keep them in his jacket pockets!!