Monday, April 22, 2024

Monday, 4/22

Does this describe you?

90% of Americans say they recycle or turn their thermostats down.

85% of say they buy energy efficient cars & appliances, & wash clothes in cold water when they can.

70% say they’re willing to walk, bike, or carpool to cut down on their driving.

I'm hoping those numbers are true, although some days I look around and wonder.  But I bring this up because today is Earth Day, and what with a rapidly changing global climate and various ways you can help the environment in the news these days, it seemed an apt time to share those interesting statistics.

Having grown up in the 70’s, when people actually seemed to care about the environment and pollution, I’ve always tried to live an environmentally friendly life. It's just ingrained in my brain. As you know, I walk and bike almost everywhere; when I do drive, it’s in a car that gets 40 miles per gallon. Cold water laundry? Check. Recycling? Despite the occasional stupidity of Waste Management, I put out plastics & metals & paper every week, and when I have enough glass lying around I hop on my bike and bring it all to the city recycling station. Air conditioning in the summer? Are you kidding? Enjoy the heat while it’s here!

Major reports the last few months from the U.N. and from researchers worldwide have backed up the fact that, as humans, we’re having a severe impact on Earth’s environmental systems, and most of the impact is NOT good. In fact, the past nine months have been the warmest stretch of months on the planet since records have been kept (with our non-winter winter as proof). Not only that, but areas of droughts and storms have been among the most severe in recorded history. So if you find yourself getting a little tired of all the information, dire warnings, threats, and pleadings to cut back that you’ll hear over the next few days, remember. . ..

For now, at least, it’s the only planet we have!

So on that note, have a happy Earth Day, do what you can to help stabilize and repair the environment, and think good thoughts for Mother Nature. I'm sure she'd appreciate it!


Friday, April 19, 2024

Friday, 4/19

There's no way it's been that many years. That's just not possible.

Is it?

Sunday's a big day for me and Loraine; it's our wedding anniversary. And despite the fact that I can't seem to fathom the quantum mechanics of the whole situation, it's a rather big anniversary for us.  You see, we were married 35 years ago Sunday.

Told you it's not possible.

While it doesn't seem like it happened yesterday, it sure doesn't seem like it was that long ago that we stood out on the steps of the Marquette County Courthouse on a sunny Friday afternoon and said our “I do”s. And when I look at the picture of the two of us from that day, the one sitting in our living room, we don't look that much different. But then I look at the other people in the picture—Loraine's sister, who was 8 at the time, and my grandmother, who passed away 18 years ago, and I then realize--

We've been married for 35 years!!

When we got married, I don't think there was any way that I could fathom we'd be celebrating our 35th anniversary. I mean, 35 years? That's, like, a lifetime. That's how long your parents have been married, or that's how long your grandparents were married. When you first get married, or at least when I first got married, a time span such as that just did not register in any meaningful way. Yet, here we are, 35 years later, and still together.

I think I've mentioned in here before about how we have anything but a “traditional” relationship, yet among most of our family and friends we're the only couple of our generation still together. I don't know if that's because we don't have a “traditional” relationship, or if we've been lucky, or what, but when I look at all the people we know of our generation, and we're among the only ones still together, it makes me feel two things—it makes me feel very happy, and it makes me feel like the past 35 years have been a gift.

Which they have.

And it's funny; if anything, both the passage of time and seeing other people battle with marital difficulties seem to have made our relationship stronger than ever. Oh, sure, I'm sure (okay,. I know) there are times when Loraine wants to throttle me, but those pale in comparison to the times we find ourselves embarking on some adventure or just marveling at the occasional sheer insanity of our lives. But that's a good thing; it means we've found our groove.

It means that I wouldn't have wanted to spend the last 3 decades-plus with anyone else.

We'll probably spend our anniversary doing o few of the things that has connected us over the past 35 years. You see, we're a perfect match in that I like to cook, and she likes to eat. So I'll whip up something, but not before we spend part of Sunday on the soccer pitch, running around and burning off the calories we'll be eating.

Because that's what we do.

Happy early anniversary, Loraine!!!!!!!



Thursday, April 18, 2024

Thursday, 4/18

It's going well, thanks for asking.

Yesterday was T minus three weeks until Loraine and I (hopefully) hit the skies and head over to Germany. As you may recall, for me to take any time off requires a LOT of work ahead of time, and aside from all of my Q107-WMQT work that also now entails programming our two stations up in Baraga AND getting a couple of “Life in the 906”s ready for TV-19.

Yes, I realize that for some people that's just a recipe for screaming and jumping off a building, but I think we all know I'm a little different than that, right?


If you were to visit me at work right now you'd notice legal pads with notes & instructions spread all about, and if you were to visit me at home you'd notice index cards and pieces of paper with notes and reminders spread all about. Believe it or not, that means I'm organized. That means I know what I still have to do, how I'm going to do it, and when I'm going to get to it.

It's a system that works for me. What can I say?

Jim's system, work version

As far as radio stuff goes, everything's all planned out. While I haven't gotten to all of it yet, I still have three weeks (well, okay, two weeks and six days) and as long as nothing blows up or sets me back a day or two I'll be fine. As far as the TV stuff goes? Well, that's a little different. Because it was one of those ideas that came to me in the middle of the night a few days ago I've written the piece I'll be recording to air the Monday I'm in Europe, and I know what I'll be doing this upcoming Monday, even if I haven't written that one yet. That just means I need one for the 29th, one for May 6th, and, maybe, an extra one for the 20th just in case I'm, like, stuck in Europe or something.

But since these things seem to (for some reason) come to me out of nowhere, I'm hopeful I'll get them done in time.

That's how things are looking now. With any luck, no extra work or tragedies or anything will get in the way, and in three weeks—excuse me, two weeks and six days—I'll be able to leave.

Now, as long as the airline cooperate on that day, we'll be set.


Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Wednesday, 4/17

This was a story that I had no idea about.

This week's “Pieces of the Past” video details a story with a story. Here's the “story” part; we'll get to the actual “story” in a second. It starts back a few months ago when we were shooting the first round of “High School Bowl”, and Negaunee was one of the teams. I have students fill out a form with six or seven potential questions I might ask them during the halftime interview segment, and one of those questions was “tell us something we don't know about the place you live”.

Well, Riley Williams, who was the captain of the Negaunee team, told me something about his home town I had never heard before. It intrigued me, if for no other reason that the sheer improbability of it, so I did a little research on it. The more I discovered about the story the more I was drawn in, and was so fascinated by it that I ended up making it a segment in the “Legends & Lore” show Jack & I did at Kaufman in January. Since the story's so cool, I also decided to make it a segment this season on “Pieces”.

THAT'S how both totally strange and totally unknown to me it was.

Okay...that's the story, and now the “story”. See if you're as intrigued by it as I was.


Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Tuesday, 4/16

I guess I know one thing I'll be doing every day when I'm in Germany next month.

A couple of days ago I mused about whether or not I should write a blog each & every day while Loraine and I are visiting Kaiserslauten & Freiburg. I asked for your opinions, and got them--

Everyone who responded said I really DO need to write something every day while we're there. So...I guess I'll be writing something every day while we're there.

Isn't democracy a wonderful thing?

Most everyone disagreed with me when I said one of the reasons I was thinking of not doing them was because they seem (at least to me) humble-bragging. Almost everyone said that they enjoy seeing the pictures and hearing about the weird things we come across, and that we're not bragging. We're just reporting, said most of the people who responded, and allowing people who can't (or won't) travel to another continent to travel vicariously through us.

So by writing, I guess, I'm performing a public service? Think I could write the trip off of our taxes because of that?


The first one, then, will appear on May 9th, the day we get to Germany. And before I leave the topic I need to mention two things. One is a musing from one of the voters who, out of nowhere, made me laugh when he joked about William Shatner saying something along the lines of “Captain's Blog, Stardate...”.

But then, I'm easy that way.

The other thing to mention? My niece Sydney is making HER first venture to Europe tomorrow. She and her boyfriend Ricky are going to Italy, and she's more than excited. In fact, she was even fully packed on Monday, which is much better than her well-traveled uncle. Way to go, Syd. Have a fantastic time!!


Finally, I had promised a link to the championship match of this year's “High School Bowl” and, as always, I keep my promises. So if you wanna watch the first ever overtime championship match, just CLICK or TAP HERE!


Monday, April 15, 2024

Monday, 4/15

It was as exciting in person as it was on TV.

First of all, if you have any interest in this season of “High School Bowl” and have not yet watched the championship match from this past weekend, DO NOT READ THIS. It contains spoilers, and if you have yet to watch the match you SHOULD NOT GO ANY FURTHER.



“High School Bowl” is a great show to host, if only because every so often something cool happens. Oftentimes, especially in the early rounds of a season, the matches are blowouts, as a good school goes up against a school that's a little weaker and the final score ends up along the lines of 400-10 (an actual score this year). But as the rounds increase the number of blowouts decrease, and in the last few rounds you have close matches, just like in our championship game this past week.

How close was it, you ask? Well, I answer, at the end of the match the two teams that made it to the finals—West Iron County and Houghton—were tied. It was so close between the two teams that the 25 minutes of questions asked of both of them could not separate the two. For the first time in the 45 years of “High School Bowl” the championship game ended in a tie score.

It was cool.

Now, of course, you can't end a match, especially a championship match, without a winner. So after building the suspense for a minute or so by explaining what was going on (even though the suspense probably did not need to be build any more) I asked the question that would determine the champion. It was a winner-take-all question; whoever answered it correctly walked away with the title. When I asked, five out of the eight students gave it a shot, all incorrectly. The West Iron County captin bided her time, sifted through the incorrect guesses, and gave the right answer.

And that's how West Iron County became season 45 champs on “High School Bowl”.

We shot the match two months ago, so it's a secret I've been sitting on since early February. I'm amazed at the amount of people who watch the show but don't know how it turns out, so I in no way wanted to spoil it for them. I just hope they enjoyed watching Saturday; if you wanna see just how suspenseful it was—and trust me, it WAS suspenseful, especially when we were shooting it live—I'll post a link to the show tomorrow.

In the about a dorky host and the two teams who helped put together the most exciting and memorable “High School Bowl” finale in the 45 years of the show--


Also tomorrow?  Whether or not I blog while in Europe, based on YOUR votes.


Friday, April 12, 2024

Friday, 4/12

You know, it would be one less thing to worry about.

At T minus three and a half weeks before we (hopefully) leave for Germany things are starting to kick into high gear. I've started working as far ahead as I can at work, I have enough episodes of “Pieces of the Past” produced to carry me through the end of May, I've started writing my “Life in the 906”s ahead a few weeks, and I've already started to try and decide what goes where in luggage, backpacks, and carry-ons.

Plus I'm wondering about the blogs.

Here's the deal—as you may recall, every time we go to Europe I'd write a blog on a nightly basis about what we did that day. People seemed to enjoy it, even if it does seem (at least to me) to be a little humble-bragging about what we were doing. But seeing as how it's been a year and a half since we went anywhere I'm starting to wonder--

Do I need to do it any more?

There are several points behind my pondering the question, not least of which is the fact that we have no idea whether or not this trip is either going to come off as planned or even come off at all. Because of strikes in Germany we could find ourselves stranded at Frankfurt Airport for four days or find ourselves struck in Charlotte or Chicago because of tight connection times (thanks, American Airlines). We just don't know.

Not only that, but we're not actually doing much this time around. We're just going to two cities, one we haven't visited before (Kaiserslauten) and one that's actually one of my favorite places in the world (Freiburg) and just hang around. Of course, without a lot of concrete plans for the days we're there I might have the extra hour or two it takes to put one of the blogs together.  And, I have to admit, I do enjoy going back and reading them after the trip's over, even through I have no idea if anyone else enjoyed them, so...

See why I can't decide anything yet?

Thankfully, I still have a couple of weeks left to make that decision, as I probably wouldn't be able to write anything until we get to Frankfurt on May 9th. If you have an opinion on the matter, please let me know, as I don't write the blogs for me, I write them for anyone who wants to read them.

So vote early, and vote often. Your voice is the one of the most important as I ponder whether to do these again or not. Thanks, and have a great weekend!