Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday, 3/24

Atlantis, here I come.

Don't worry; I'm not venturing to a mythical and lost sunken continent, although that might be kinda cool. Instead, I'm heading down to Florida for a few days tomorrow to accomplish three very important things—see my parents, bask in a little heat, and visit the Kennedy Space Center, where the space shuttle Atlantis lies in stately repose.

That's the Atlantis to which I'm referring. So if you're a Facebook friend of mine and your newsfeed gets overrun with pictures of Atlantis (or pictures of Atlantis with a dork standing near it) Monday, let me apologize in advance.

Some people get excited over which way the toilet paper roll is supposed to hang. I get excited over old spacecraft.

You won't hear me on the air or read a new one of these Monday or Tuesday; hope that's okay. When I mentioned to someone that I'd be gone for a few days they told me that I'm not allowed to NOT be on the radio for a few days, like the world would stop spinning on its axis, or something. Hopefully, they'll survive. When I go to Europe for a week and a half, I make sure there's all kinds of “best of” stuff on the air, plus I write a trip blog every day. But for the two days I'll be gone now?

Sorry. Hope no one goes through withdrawal, or anything.

Flying back Tuesday I actually have a semi-long flight from Orlando to Chicago and then a long-ish wait in Chicago. And since I'm bringing a small computer with me I'll probably write Wednesday's blog and then post it early, so if you really want to see pictures of Atlantis (and whatever else looks interesting) you can check it out then. Otherwise, I'll be back Wednesday with everything as it normally is, including, I'm guessing, me whining because it isn't the 80 degrees in Marquette that it's supposed to be while I'm in Florida.

So have yourself a good weekend, and stay warm. I know I will!


(, back with a new blog on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thursday, 3/23

Wow. I guess it really IS a big deal to some people!

I received a whole bunch of notes following yesterday's blog about which way the toilet paper is supposed to go. It seems like people are either an “under” or an “over”. There are very few of us who just shrug our shoulders and let the toilet paper lie where it may.

Who knew?

Daily blog reader Connie in Marquette says that she's an “under” married to an “over”, and that she's been trying to train him for over 10 years now to put a new roll up the “proper” way. He obviously must not be a very good learner, either, because Connie says “she's still working on it”. Of course, Connie's dealing with her husband, someone who actually lives in the house. Daily blog reader Glen in South Dakota says that he's had house guests change the roll when they use his bathroom while visiting.

That's taking the whole matter a little too seriously, isn't it?

Several of you also noticed a plethora of stories about The Great Toilet Paper Controversy on the internet, and sent along links. Daily blog reader daily blog reader Jody from Marquette actually found an entire website that's devoted to the whole controversy.

And just as a side thought to Jody's website (and its domain name), isn't “” perhaps the greatest web domain name in history? If nothing else, it certainly describes a large chunk of what you'll find on the Internet.

I'm just sayin'!

So I guess this is just a controversy that's existed for years, and will probably be around for as long as the human species exists (or at least as long as the human species uses items like toiler paper). Don't worry, though; I won't judge. It doesn't matter to me if you're an under or an over. I'll like you no matter what.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday, 3/22

Which way does your toilet paper hang?

I ask this because, unbeknownst to me, a huge controversy regarding which way your toilet paper roll is “supposed” to hang once you put it up has yet again come to the fore. I noticed it on Facebook yesterday  (much like the "typing dinosaur" thing of a few days ago) after one of my friends posted something about it, knowing that she would stir up a little controversy by doing so. There's apparently a large, vocal group of people who are adamant that the tube must hang with the paper coming over the top of the roll. There's another large, vocal group of people who insist that the tube must hang with the paper coming from the bottom of the roll. And as far as I can tell, a member of one of those very vocal groups will never, ever agree that the other group is correct.

You thought politics in this country was splitting the nation in two? Heck, that's child's play compared to how you hang your toilet paper!

I myself could not care less which way the roll is hung. If the paper comes off the top, fine. If the paper comes off the bottom, that's equally as fine. After all, it's just toilet paper. There are way too many problems in the world on which people should be concentrating and devoting their time and energy to solving. But which way the toilet paper hangs?

Probably not so much.

Of course, and as usual, I seem to be the oddball out in this situation. I didn't realize this was a problem. I didn't realize people had such strong feelings about the subject. I didn't realize that this was situation that's tearing at the very fabric of our country. But apparently, after reading some of the comments people have posted on Facebook posts and under news articles on the subject, it is. In fact, there are a ton of websites devoted to which was is “right” and which way is “wrong”. So in the future, when you sit down with your extended family at a holiday dinner, here are the topics you should NOT bring up while eating--

Toilet paper.

That's okay. You can thank me later.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tuesday, 3/21

I'm doing it again. I keep listening to the same song over and over and over and over.

And over.

I've written in here before about how I seem to get into this weird groove where I listen to the same song again and again and again for no reason at all. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does happen, it happens with a surprising intensity.

And this time, it's thanks to John Mayer.

It's a song off of a forthcoming album he has, a song with one of the weirdest titles ever, “Emoji of a Wave”. According to my iTunes program, I've now listened to it 28 times in the past two days, and that's not even counting how many times I listened to it over and over on my iPod while running yesterday.. And it's funny; it's not necessarily a song that you think you'd listen to over & over. It's not filled with hooks or horns or a stomping beat, three things that seem to play into these little weird grooves into which I fall. Nope; it's a simple song with just the singer, his guitar, former Beach Boy Al Jardine and his son Matt on background vocals, and some strings. That's it.

And yet, the song has taken over my brain.

I'm not quite sure why, although when I first told Loraine about my latest “addiction” I blurted out that the song seems very “zen”, and maybe that's the key to it. The first time I listened to it I was intrigued by the simplicity of it, and pretty soon that simplicity hijacked my brain. I listen to it and zone out a little. My brain goes to a place it hasn't often visited. It's like when you meditate and you (theoretically) find yourself in harmony with your body. For me, listening to the song does that.

And I don't even have to assume the lotus pose.

I don't know why the song does that to me. It's just another of the numerous things I seem to do that makes no sense. All I know is that I can throw the song on, and assuming my co-workers, a barking dog, or a driver not paying attention to pedestrians don't interrupt me, something happens to me. And for once, that something that happens is something that's probably good for me, assuming anything that zens you out is good for your mental health.

Unless, of course, John Mayer is trying to take over my mind. In which case, he's succeeded. But in this case, I'll happily submit, at least if I can keep listening to the song.

Check it out for yourself...but if it hooks you, I'm not to blame. It's all John Mayer's fault.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday, 3/20

Apparently I am now a dinosaur.

Several times this weekend on my Facebook news feed ( a particular story from a couple of years ago made a re-appearance. I don't know if you've noticed the stories going around about how a particular rule of writing is rapidly changing, but it's made me realize that I'm on one side of the fence on this subject, and it's probably, in the long run, the wrong side. Because of the way in which texting has insinuated itself into American society, there's now a way that writing experts can separate “old” people from “young” people, and that's by this--

If, while typing, you leave two spaces after ending a sentence, you're “old”. If you leave one (or none), you're “young”. If you leave two spaces after ending a sentence, you learned how to write in the 20th century. If you leave one (or none), you learned how to write in the age of 160-character text messages or 140-character Tweets; i.e. this century.  Now go back to the lines I just wrote, and count how many spaces I left after finishing a sentence.

Yup. I AM apparently a dinosaur.

I knew this day would come. I knew that, at a certain point in my life, I'd be faced with something that told me time was moving on and leaving me behind. I had no idea what that “something” would be. I figured it would be something like having my leg break while trying to stand up or wondering who the heck this Gigi Hadid is and just exactly how she's connected to the Kardashians. But nope; I'm fine as far as stuff like that goes.

I'm a dinosaur because of the way I type.

And when you think about it, it's funny. I never took a typing class. I never learned how to type “correctly”, a fact that drives my properly-educated-in-typing wife mad. I just learned how to type by doing. I started with one finger, added another, and have sailed through life slowly adding fingers to my typing repertoire. Over the years, my right thumb became quite adept at hitting the space bar twice when finishing a sentence.

Now, as I find out, that skill is becoming about as relevant as getting up off the couch, walking over to TV, and using a dial to change the channel.

You DO remember what a TV dial is, right?

One of the reasons “the kids” only use one space after a sentence is that when you send a text you only have 160 characters to use, and a space counts as a character. So when it comes to texting, I can understand why you would only want to leave one space after a sentence. But when you're typing a note or a letter or an e-mail or (even) a blog, you're not constrained by the amount of spaces you leave after a sentence. Heck, if you wanted to, you could even leave THIS many spaces after a sentence.             Of course, your paragraph structure would all weird if you did it that way, but unlike a text message, there's nothing to stop you from doing it.

I guess I just find it funny that one particular form of writing is making all other kinds of writing conform to its particular quirks. I”m not surprised; after all, I've studied the English language enough to know that it's a very elastic, living type of creature. It's constantly evolving (much, I'm sure, to the detriment of William Shakespeare and those who've study him the past 400 years). But to change just because of a 160-character limit imposed by technology, and then to claim that anyone who doesn't use the change is out of date?

Well...I guess I now know how those Tyrannosaurus Rexs felt, just before the meteor hit 65 million years ago and sent them all into oblivion.

(, typing dinosaur.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday, 3/17

My cow pen stopped moo-ing today.

That's one of those sentences I never thought I'd write; apparently, I can now cross that off my literary bucket list. But it's true. Having seen first-hand my freakish fascination with cows, my in-laws gave me a pen for Christmas a year ago in the shape of a cow's head. The cool thing about it was that if you pressed the head the pen would emit a “moo”, something that gave me endless hours of joy and Loraine endless hours of shaking her head at me and smiling, much like one does when a little puppy keeps running its head into a wall for no reason.

But now, it's all over.

The pen still works. In fact, I used it to write myself a note last night. But when I finished the note and pushed down in the cow's head, as I'm wont to do, nothing happened. The pen didn't moo, it didn't light up like it normally does when it moos, and I was left there with a sad look on my face like someone had just stolen my favorite piece of chocolate mid-bite.

At least I didn't cry. That's something, right?

I have no idea what's wrong with the pen. I have no idea if the battery's dead, if the switch isn't connecting properly, or if there's some other reason it's currently in its moo-less state. Of course, seeing as how it was made in China and probably cost 3 cents to manufacture, maybe I should be glad and/or surprised that it lasted as long as it did. After all, it could have been sitting on a shelf unpurchased for five or ten years. After all, I'm sure the market for a cow pen that moos probably isn't that big.

It probably consists of me and a few easily-amused second graders scattered across the country.

Don't worry; I'll still keep using the pen. But if my eyes get a little misty and a little lump develops in my throat...well, what can I say? I miss the moo.


On that rather bovine note note, have yourself a great St. Patrick's Day today, and keep the celebrating going for the next few days, if you'd like. After all, it IS the weekend!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thursday, 3/16

I wonder how many people around here are like me?

I count among the 7 or 8 nationalities in my ethnic makeup Irish and Finnish. If I were a drinking person, I guess that might mean that I wouldn’t be sober through the end of the week, what with having to celebrate St. Urho’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day back to back. But since I’m not a drinking person, I just have to make sure I wear purple today (a color in which I look good) and green tomorrow (a color that, to be honest, doesn’t flatter me as much as I’d like).

Oh, the problems we have in life, right?

Anyway, like I said, I’ve been wondering how many people in the U.P. have both Ireland and Finland as part of their heritage? I mean, I know there was a large Irish population in Marquette, especially in south Marquette (which is where I get mine), and I think everyone knows that one or two (or perhaps a few more) people emigrated to the U.P. from Finland a century or so ago. Over the years, I’ve met a people with a lot of Finnish in their blood, and I’ve met a lot of people with Irish in their blood, but I don’t know how many have both. And that makes me curious.

(Of course, I’d also be curious to know how many people also have English, Scotch, German, French, Swedish, and whatever else I’m made up of in their blood, as well!)

Now, despite my curiosity, I have to say that I’m be a very poor excuse for someone curious about his ethnic background. I don’t know any Finnish or any Gaelic; I don’t eat foods from either country, and I certainly don’t have any tales of the family back in the “old country”. For many years, I didn’t even give a second thought to anything in my background. After all, I was just “me”.

But since I’ve started traveling some of my “old” countries (and, I’m guessing, since I’ve started to get older, despite my best efforts to stop it) I’ve started to wonder a little about all the little ingredients that were part of the recipe that became “me”. I find parts of it kind of interesting, too. I’m both Irish and Swedish because a young Irish man married a young Swedish woman over 100 years ago at a time when young Irish men didn’t usually marry young Swedish women. One of the ancestors of that young Irish man may have been a poet back in the old country. And one of my long-ago English ancestors had children who were circus clowns or who ran away to join an elephant act in a carnival.

See? It explains a lot about me, doesn’t it?

So if you happen to be one of those people who has Finnish blood or Irish blood (or, if you’re lucky, both) enjoy the next few days. Wear purple and/or green. Try not to drink too much. And if you do, remember--drink lots of water before you go to bed that night. Lots and lots of water.

At least that’s what someone once told me. . .

Anyway, happy St. Urho-Patrick Daze. And if you have more than just Finnish or Irish in your background, enjoy celebrating the days devoted to those countries, as well!!!