Contact Us   |   FAQ   |   Search
Upper Michigan's Most Listened To Radio Station

Lovin Mondays!
Jim's Daily Opinion
News & Weather
Favorite Friday!
Community Events
Jim Koski's 107 Reasons
Lost Pets
Pet of the Week
The Pet Zone
Personal Play List
Joe Blake
ESPN 970
Join The Listener's Club
Weird Website
Coverage Area
Members Area

In Jim's Daily Opinion 12/01/2015

TUESDAY, 12/1:

It's amazing what you see and what you find when you don't drive.  Today, what I've found.

Walking pretty much everywhere, as I do, you notice things that you wouldn't notice if you're driving here and there.  For instance, this past weekend, I found two crumpled up pieces of paper on the ground.  One, when un-crumpled, turned out to be a five dollar bill, which bought Loraine and I extra chocolate from the Marquette Food Co-op.

Good thing I was looking down at the ground at that certain moment, right?

The other piece of paper I found was this--

In case you can't read what it says, it states in hand-written script:

“Hi :) my name is David.  I've been coming in here the past couple weeks—thats when I first noticed you!  I've been trying to think of ways to talk to you...however...I didn't want to bother you at work!  Im sorry for this I just think you're sooo cute!”

Wow.  I don't know why I found that note on the sidewalk.  I don't know if it was a note someone wrote to give to his intended, or if it was written as a script for the guy who wrote it to say out loud.  I don't know if the guy who wrote it dropped it, or if the girl (or guy) to whom he intended it tossed it.  I don't know the whole story behind it, nor do I know how it ended up on a Front Street sidewalk in Marquette.

I'm just guessing there's an interesting story behind it.  What prompted David to write it?  Was this something he had tried before, or was it a shot in the dark?  Since he was writing it to a person who was working, was it someone working at a business near where I found it, or does it have nothing to do with where the note ended up?  And I'm kinda curious—did the note make its way to the person for whom it was intended?  Did it work? 

Inquiring minds want to know!

I realize the odds are incredibly slim that I'll ever find out the answers to those questions, and that's okay.  Sometimes, the story's more interesting, at least in your mind, when you don't know all the answers.  However, that note—and the five dollar bill I found—are proof positive that you can come across interesting things when you keep your car turned off and head somewhere on foot.

Tomorrow?  An observation based on something I see all the time while out walking.


MONDAY, 11/30:

Didja survive your weekend?

It was quite the interesting one, I'll admit, especially with the contrasts that presented themselves.  It was cloudy & snowy, then it was sunny & dry.  The Lions won, while the Packers lost.  Some of you finished your shopping for the year, while some of us haven't even started thinking about it.

Such is life over the Thanksgiving weekend, right?

I actually did get one important thing done this weekend—I figured out which cookies I'll be making this Christmas.  That's always quite the process in itself; after all, you have the old favorites you have to make, plus, at least in my case, I always want to try something new.  But I think I have the lineup figured out, and once you get the lineup figured out, you can make out the shopping list, and then you really start to get into the season.

And it's probably a good thing I was able to at least do that this weekend.  Because with TV shows to shoot, birthdays to celebrate, cookies to bake, graduations to attend, presents to buy, presents to wrap, pictures to shoot, Greek bake sales to devour, and “Star Wars” movies to go ga-ga over, I have the feeling December's gonna be a little busy.

Just a little.  And now that I've written that whole list down, I think I've scared myself.  Yikes!

Of course, it seems to me like I write a variation of this every year, and every year I seem to manage to somehow bend time to my will (or just stay up really late some nights) to get everything done.  Sure, I might still be wrapping things on Christmas Eve and sure, the fiber optic Christmas Tree might not come out of the basement until a day or two before the holiday, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that, once again, things won't get too overwhelming.

So wish me luck.  I don't think I'll need it, but this time of the year, everyone can probably use any bit of it they can get.  And don't worry—I'll return the favor.



Am I missing out on something by not eating stuffing?

We did our “Tuesday Topic” on the air yesterday and asked people about the food they most enjoy on Thanksgiving.  And I have to admit I was a little surprised when the winner was stuffing.  Not turkey, not pumpkin pie, my two favorites, but stuffing.


I think this proves a couple of things, one being that it's further evidence I'm not like other human beings.  I've never liked stuffing, and I don't know that I ever will.  I don't know why; I like many of the ingredients that go into stuffing.  But I guess I've just never liked the overall end result, per se, of stuffing.  I don't know if it's the flavor, the texture, or the fact that it's usually shoved up a turkey's butt to cook.  For whatever reason, I personally don't like stuffing.

But I know I'm in the minority here.  I know that every other single person with whom I traditionally share my Thanksgiving dinner adores the dish.  And they're probably happy I don't like it.  After all, it just means more for them.  From the sounds of it, I'm guessing this would also get replayed in any other households where there are a bunch of stuffing lovers and one naysayer.  The people who love the dish—the vast, vast majority of people—get a little more because there's one person who, for whatever rational or (ahem) irrational reason doesn't like it.

You at any Thanksgiving dinner where I'm a guest.  Unless, of course, someone figured out a way to make it with chocolate.  Then, just maybe, I might consider it.



On that note, I hope that you and everyone with whom you might celebrate has a great day tomorrow.  There won't be another one of these until Monday, although I will be on the air Friday should you find yourself so insanely bored that you don't have anything else to do.

Happy Thanksgiving!


TUESDAY, 11/24:

What if I had really needed to get something done?  Then what?

As I wrote last week, History Jim has four big programs coming up in the next year.  I've been trying to get stuff done on the first one up, the one with Jack Deo, if only because it's two months away, and the holidaze will be eating up a big chunk of that time.  So this past Sunday, when I found myself with a few free hours, I decided to see if I could get a little research work done.

Unfortunately, I couldn't.  And that was disheartening.  And kinda scary.

I needed to access a few local archives, to look at newspaper stories dealing with some of the tales I want to tell.  There are three places to look at those archives.  The first, the Marquette Regional History Center, has always been closed on Sundays, so I knew I couldn't look there.  The second, Peter White Public Library, has had to close on Sundays because a bunch of corporately owned stores don't want to pay their full share of taxes.  So that left the NMU library, a place usually teeming with people trying to get homework done on a Sunday.

Except, of course, this past Sunday, when the library was closed because NMU doesn't have classes all this week and, apparently, no one needs to study.

Three research facilities in Marquette, and all of them closed on the one day I had time to use them.  Kind of figures, doesn't it?

Now, I still have two months to get everything I need for this first program, so a setback of one day won't be the end of me.  Sure, it's a major inconvenience, and I just have to hope that the next time I have a few hours all three places won't all be closed.  However, I'll live.  But what if I really needed to find out  a fact?   What if I needed to find out a fact, say, to help save someone's life, and it was the kind of fact you couldn't get on the Internet, but could only get at a local research facility?

Then what would I have done?

I know that that's an absurd situation, and that something like that would never occur (or would only occur in a poorly written movie).  I know I'm just bummed that on a rare occasion when I had a few hours for research that no place I could do that research was open.  But still, it just seems... unproductive to me that we live in a city with 9,000 college students and a highly educated (and innately curious) population, yet there are days when there is not one place open at which to indulge that curiosity.  Sure, it's a first world problem, and sure, I'm just whining, but it just doesn't seem right, you know?

And with that, I'll shut up now.

(, who still needs to get some serious research done...someday!

MONDAY, 11/23:

With apologies to Matchbox Twenty, I’ve seen signs of people who aren’t unwell, but may be just a little crazy!

It started when I went running Saturday morning.  At least one morning a week I run up & down the hills of downtown Marquette for 40 or 45 minutes.  It’s a great workout, and I get to use the city as my own personal jungle gym, which is kinda cool, too.  It was only when I started running down the first hill that I noticed the lingering snow and ice on the sidewalks, and then heard Loraine’s voice in my head saying, and I quote, “Are you sure you want to do this”?

As happens quite often, she was right (or at least the voice in my head was right), so I ran back up a hill and made my way through the city to the Fit Strip, where I figured I’d do a couple of laps on the trail.   Like the sidewalks, there was a little snow on the trail, but it wouldn’t hurt anywhere near as much as it would if I fell on a concrete sidewalk.

Take that as gospel from someone who’s done both.

Anyway, about halfway around the first lap I noticed something in front of me on the trail.  Like I said, the trail was covered with a dusting of snow--no more than a quarter of an inch--but in front of me on the trail I noticed a set of cross country ski tracks.  That’s right; there were five flakes of snow on the ground, and someone wanted to ski on them.

I can’t say I’m surprised; after all, hardcore cross-country skiers rank just below hardcore mountain bikers in their desire to be out on the trails.  And I don’t blame them.  As I’ve said before, cross country skiing is the one thing that keeps me sane during an Upper Michigan winter.  But to go out skiing on a rocky trail covered to a depth of five flakes of snow?

That takes a special kind of hardcore.  In fact, that might even take a special kind of crazy.  I mean, I love skiing, but I always wait until there’s enough snow to groom a nice set of tracks.  After all, while I love skiing, I’m probably not good enough to ski on anything less, and if I heard Loraine’s voice in my head while running down an icy hill, I can just imagine what she’s say if I tried skiing on dirt powdered with snow.

But that’s just me.  There are some people out there who are good enough on their skis and who have extra sets of equipment to allow them to try gliding along the snow-covered dirt.  And good for them.  If I was that special kind of crazy, I’d probably try it myself.  But as we all know, my special kind of crazy (sadly) doesn’t extend to feats of athleticism.  So I guess I won’t be joining anyone who skis the Fit Strip the next time it’s covered by five flakes of snow.

If nothing else, I’m sure Loraine’s voice in my head would approve of that.


FRIDAY, 11/20:

I have to go play TV Jim in a few minutes, but I certainly can't leave without mentioning that tomorrow is a big day for my absolutely favorite person in the whole wide world--

It's Loraine's birthday!!

Those of you who read this know that she's managed not to throw anything at me in the years we've been together, even though I'm guessing it's not always easy.  Those of you who read this also know what a remarkable woman she is, and what remarkable things she does.  I guess I kind of like to talk her up, but for a good reason--

She really is remarkable!  And the great thing is you guys already know why.

So tomorrow we get to celebrate, and unlike some years we get to do it whole hog, because, unlike some years, her birthday isn't the day before Thanksgiving.  We'll actually get a few days to recover from the nachos, the chocolate, and whatever else goes into the birthday feast.

So once again, happy (semi-early) birthday, Loraine.  Get ready to eat!!



(, who hopes EVERYONE has a great weekend!

THURSDAY, 11/19:

The great “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar” experiment is almost over.

I don't know if you remember this; a little over a year ago, I decided to listen to the 60-some five part episodes of one of my favorite old time radio shows pretty much on the dates they aired back in 1955 and 1956.  No, I don't know why I did it, and no, the action does not have any great significance in the scheme of the world or of my life.  I just decided to listen to 'em, because I hadn't in the past decade or so.

And now, only a month or so late, I've finished them.

The show itself was the final show on “old time” radio drama, going off the air in 1962 as a weekly series.  But the shows I was listening to were from the 14 month span where the series was serialized every night.  It gave the writers and actors a chance to stretch their legs, and it made for a lot of good--if really dated—drama.  It's always been my favorite non-Jack Benny radio show, and listening to it again proved those feelings held up.

Why am I a month or so late if I was trying to listen to them as close to their air dates if I could?  Well, as with so many things, real life got in the way.  Some mornings I didn't have the 15-minutes to listen, so I had to double up listening to episodes on other days.  Other times, I just (ahem) forgot.  And then there was the problem of outdated technology.  You see, most of the shows in my possession were on a very old, now seldom-used format--

Cassette tapes.

It wasn't a problem to begin with.  I have an old CD/cassette boom box on which I played most of the episodes.  But then, tragedy struck.  The cassette part of the boombox died (the radio & CD are still working perfectly).  It took several weeks, but I found an old Walkman I had.  It hadn't been used for, uhm, quite a bit, as evidenced by the battery that had leaked all over it.  But I was able to clean it out, the Walkman itself worked perfectly, and I was able to get through the entire run of the show, minus the occasional episode that, over the years, didn't survive.

And now I'm done.

Like I said, my action has no significance other than to, once again, prove that I'm a dork.  I won't be doing it with any other OTR show any time soon.  It was just a fun (albeit strange) way to enjoy a little quality entertainment from many years before I was born.



I don't know if I should be scared or not.  I don't know if it's just an anomaly, or if there's a larger trend at play.  I really don't know.  All I know is this one thing--

People younger than I seem to be dying with alarming frequency!

Once of my jobs as Loraine’s geeky sidekick means that I get to look at obituaries from several U.P. newspapers every day, to see if any relatives of her “guys” have passed away.  And in reading those obituaries recently, especially the past week or so, I’ve noticed that there seems to be a growing group of people in anywhere from their late 20s to their mid 40s dying.

You know, people younger than me.

It actually got to the point one day last week when more than half of the people listed in that day’s obits were younger than I am, and that can’t be a good thing, can it?  I mean, I’ve been told that as you get older the one thing you’re guaranteed is that you get to go to a lot of funerals, but that’s been told to me by people in their 70s and 80s.  And I have decades to go before I’M in my 70s and 80s.


Now, I know none of the people younger than me who’ve died.  I don’t know if they were in chronic ill health, or if they smoked, or if they suffered from something that caused them to just give up on living.  I have no idea about their lifestyle, or if heredity played a part in their early passing.  All I know is that I must’ve entered some kind of strange...”age zone” where, increasingly, signs of human frailty and human mortality tend to creep up.  I see it in signs of people younger than me dying, or people younger than me losing their mobility, or even people younger than me becoming grandparents.

Double yikes!

I guess one of the reasons this has shocked me so much is that I’ve never really acted or looked my age.  I’ve always thought that I could stay “young”, no matter what Mother Nature and human DNA said.  And I’d like to think that, for the most part, I’ve succeeded.  I try to live a healthy lifestyle and have a great outlook on things, and I hope that keeps me “young” and active for decades to come. 

Still, when you do things like read the obituaries, it just points out that I’m inevitably fighting a losing battle, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.


TUESDAY, 11/17:

What a difference a year makes.

I took a look.  A year ago today I posted a blog filled with pictures taken during that big snowstorm that had dumped a bunch of inches of the white stuff on us during the previous 48 hours.  Oh, and I complained about all the snow.

Because, you know, I NEVER do that.

So if was quite the pleasant surprise when I was able to spend the entire weekend this weekend enjoying the relative warmth (mid 50s here in Marquette).  Since it's usually cold and snowy this time of the year, I don't seem to take a lot of pictures in November; Sunday, though, I grabbed a camera to see what I could see.

And this is what I saw.  I saw sunshine & blue sky.

I saw other people out enjoying the sun.

I saw a bee still out doing what bees do, on a plant that's somehow survived the freezing temperatures of earlier this month--

I saw a pumpkin still hanging on for dear life, despite the freezing temperatures of earlier this month--

I saw the remnants of a party the night before---

And I saw how the very low angle of the sun makes my freakishly long legs look even more freakish, even in shadow!

You know, it's be nice if this temperate weather lasts.  I'm naive enough, I guess, to hope so, although I'm also realistic enough to know that it won't.  But, then, maybe the El Nino will help out a little.  We'll just have to see.  After all, it'd be interesting to go out with a camera and do the very same thing next month, wouldn't it?


MONDAY, 11/16:

Looks like History Jim is gonna be making a major comeback!

History Jim has been taking a backseat recently to both TV Jim and Radio Jim.  In fact, the last program I did for the History Center was the Great Fire Walk back in June.  That wasn't on purpose; that's just how the schedule worked out.  Well, now that things have been kinda fleshed out for 2016, just let me say this--

TV Jim and Radio Jim better make a little time for History Jim, because he's gonna be busy!

It looks like I'm gonna be doing four very different things throughout the year, which means I'm gonna be one very busy boy.  And the great thing is that each of the four shows is very different from the others; my only problem is gonna be deciding which stories and pictures get into which show.

The four?

In January, I'm teaming up with Jack Deo again for a big fund raising thingee at Kaufman Auditorium.  When we did “Lost Buildings” there a couple of years ago we drew over 500 people, so I'll be curious to see what happens this time when we talk about “Amazing Stories”.  Or “Short Stories”.  Or “Wild Tales”.  I mean, we don't have the title quite locked down yet, but you get the idea, right?  This one actually started after I did my “Night Life” show last year and afterward Jack said I needed to do more about hookers, killers, & bootleggers..

So that's what we're doing.  Not just about the history of prostitution or bootlegging in Marquette, obviously, but hookers will be mentioned, along with killers, prison escapees, and art thieves, among others.  More on that when we get closer to the date.

Then in June, we're going on a bike ride.  I'll be leading a group tour on the bike path that rings Marquette, making 18 or 20 stops at historically significant places, at what may be Marquette's oldest sauna, and at an old dump.  I don't think hookers or bootleggers will be involved in that one.  Killers, maybe.  I'm not sure yet.

In July, I'm doing an outdoor night time show again.  I had a blast when Jack & I reprised “Lost Buildings” late one Friday night outside of the History Center a few years ago, so I'll be adapting my “Night Life” show from last year and spending the evening talking about bars and alcohol in Marquette.  I think hookers may be involved in this one.  And I'm positive bootleggers will!

Finally, in October, I'm doing a regular indoor show (I know; boring, right?) that I'm calling “The Big Bang: Explosions, Floods, Fires, and Other Fun Stuff”, in which I'll be talking about, well, explosions, floods, fires, and other fun stuff.  That one, as far as I can tell, will not involve either hookers, bootleggers, or killers, although I haven't done much research for it yet.  So you never know.

Yup; it's gonna be a busy year.  And I have the feeling that I should really start looking into these things, and deciding which stories go where.  After all, TV Jim and Radio Jim are busy enough as it is.  History Jim's gonna have to claim his fair share of time, and do it soon.


FRIDAY, 11/13(!):

I don’t get it myself, but that’s okay, because everyone else seems to.

The “it” to which I’m referring is, of course, the Yooper national holiday that starts Sunday.  I myself have never gone hunting and I’m guessing I never will, but I realize that puts me in a minority here in the U.P.  And that’s all right; I’ve pretty much made a life of being a little out of the ordinary.  So to everyone who IS heading out tonight or tomorrow or any time this weekend, I wish you the best of luck.  I also hope you stay warm, hangover free, and come home both safe and facial hair-free.

And in the spirit of the holiday, here’s something I wrote last century (no, really, I wrote it last century) and stick up here just about every year on this day.  Enjoy; and have yourself a great weekend, whether or not you hunt!



“’Twas the Night Before Deer Camp”,
by Jimmy Koski, grade 3.











(copyright 1999)

THURSDAY, 11/12:

I wonder if I'm being a little too petty.

Let me explain.  Those of you who've listened to the station know that for the past eight years we've been doing this thing called “Upper Michigan's Favorite Friday”, in which we take listener votes for Upper Michigan's favorite song by a particular artist.  I usually don't have an opinion on which song wins; after all, it's not Jim's favorite song by a particular artist, it's Upper Michigan's favorite, and my vote is just one out of 300,000.  Once we find out the winner, we play a liner before we play the winning song, saying something along the lines of “Q107-WMQT, with the song you voted as Upper Michigan's favorite ______ song ever”.  After all, if the song wins the honor, it should be noted for everyone listening, right?

Well, I'm gonna come clean here, because there's one winning song for which we don't play the liner.  And since I'm the one who schedules the liners, I think that maybe I'm allowing my personal opinion to override the votes of all of our listeners.  And I don't know if that's a good thing.  I'll let you guys decide.

I think I've written here too many times about my admiration for the talent of and the songs written by Brian Wilson.  I think he's one of the iconic pop composers of the last 50 years, and when you dive into the breadth of his work for The Beach Boys, you just walk away stunned.  I don't think anyone would disagree, and I think everyone can name at least one song of his from the group's catalog that puts a smile on their face.

And yet listeners, twice, have picked “Kokomo”, a schlocky piece of movie soundtrack fodder recorded 20 years after the group's heyday, as Upper Michigan's favorite Beach Boys song ever.  Not “Good Vibrations”, not “God Only Knows”, not “California Girls”, but “Kokomo”, a song recorded by only two or three members of the original group and featuring among its four co-writers only one of those two or three original members.  That would be like Bernie Leadon and Don Felder recording a Randy Meisner song and having people vote for it as Upper Michigan's favorite Eagles song ever.

It's just not right.

Now, like I said, maybe I'm a little biased here.  Maybe my admiration for Brian Wilson and the work of the original group is clouding my judgment.  But I don't consider “Kokomo” a Beach Boys song.  Sure, it's a song recorded by people who call themselves “The Beach Boys”, but does it stack up next to anything the original group recorded?  I don't believe so.  But a plurality of our listeners do, which is why it's been twice voted as “Upper Michigan's favorite Beach Boys song ever”.  And since I can't change the results of an election, I just have to protest my own way.

By not scheduling the liner before the song every time it plays.

Yes, I know it's petty.  It's like a six year old holding their breath because they can't have a Snickers bar for dinner.  But this is something about which I feel strongly.  Maybe a little too strongly, but that's how I feel.  I should take the high road and play the liner before the song; after all, the song won the vote, and often times in a democracy your candidate doesn't win.  A big person accepts the results and moves on.

A sore loser doesn't play the liner.  A sore loser can be a bit petty about it all.  And that, in this instance, describes me.

Sorry about that.



Today is Veterans Day.  Most people only think about the day when they realize there won’t be any mail delivery, but in living with a World War II researcher, I’ve come into a whole new appreciation of the day, especially when I hear the stories of people for whom the day honors, especially people who never came home from their service.

People like THIS one--

Lawrence Ryan was born in Ishpeming on November 9th, 1921. He was the oldest of three children; their parents died when they were all young, and the Ryan siblings were split up.  Lawrence and his sister Helen were placed in the Holy Name Orphanage in Marquette, while their brother Bob stayed with an aunt in Ishpeming.  The siblings remained close, especially after Lawrence and his sister moved back to Ishpeming to live with other relatives.  He was a very talented musician and had an aptitude for science, graduating from Ishpeming High School in 1939 and, thanks to an uncle, enrolling in Michigan State for two years.  Like many men of his generation, though, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he joined the military, becoming a fighter pilot cadet.

After two years of aviation training, Ryan made a short trip home to see his brother and sister, and then went overseas with his unit, the 509th Fighter Squadron, 405th Fighter Group, 84th Fighter Wing, U.S. 9th Air Force.  Stationed in England, Ryan’s squadron escorted bombers as they attacked military installations, factories, and other important targets in Germany.  Like all pilots in the war, Ryan just had to fly 50 missions, and then he could go home and finish out the war with non-hazardous duties.  But because he was single, with no wife or children, he decided to stay on with his unit after his 50th mission, allowing someone in his squadron who WAS married to head home in his place.

15 missions later--on his 65th flight--Ryan was shot down over Frankfurt, Germany.  He was 23 years old when he was killed.

After the war, Ryan’s body was brought back home, and buried next to his parents in the Ishpeming Cemetery.  His brother and sister, when we met with them a few years ago, still talk about their big brother in fond and slightly melancholy terms.  His name is on the Veterans’ Memorial next to the Ishpeming Post Office, and is also listed on a plaque on the Michigan State University campus, honoring the 300-plus students and alumni who died during the conflict.

So today, when you realize you’re not getting any mail, and you then realize that today’s Veterans Day, think about all the people who’ve served their country, and, in cases like that of Lt. Ryan, made the ultimate sacrifice, as well.


TUESDAY, 11/10:

Jim Koski, Fashion Icon?  Excuse me while I go off in the corner and laugh.

We've been shooting “High School Bowl” a lot recently; four episodes in the last 11 days, in fact.  And twice in those last 11 days I've had great conversations with young men, players both, who were wearing a dark shirt, a colorful tie and jeans.  Curious as to why, I asked one of them, and he replied “I'm just emulating the Jim Koski look”.

The Jim Koski “look”?  Excuse me once again. I have to go off in the corner and laugh a little more.

Okay; I'm back.  There are two things to discuss here, the first being that there being that someone actually thinks there's a “Jim Koski Look”.  I wear dark shirts and colorful ties (for the most part) on TV because that's what looks good on me.  My skin tone is a little darker than usual, and dark clothing looks better on me that light clothing.  And the colorful ties?  Well, I'm a big fan of contrast, and you can't contrast a dark shirt much better than with a colorful tie.  And as for the jeans?  Well...

That's what I wear.  I just guess I never thought of it as a “look”.  Now I know better.

The other thing?  That people would actually WANT to “emulate” the Jim Koski “look”.  I mean, c'mon...aren't there people out there who are much more deserving and much more capable of being a fashion “icon” than me?  Six days a week I'm dressed in a T-shirt and shorts (or jeans if it's below freezing).  Just because I get semi-dressed up one day a week, just to be on TV, doesn't mean that I'm worth “emulating”.

People should be aiming a LOT higher than me!


Yet, at least two different young men from two different schools think enough of the way I dress to want to “emulate” my “style”.  And I have to admit that, despite all my wonderment over the situation, I suppose I'm partly flattered, as well.  Not that these young men think I'm worth emulating; no, I'm more flattered that I've been able to reach through all the clutter of modern life and make a connection with some of the young people I deal with on the show.  When I took the gig, I had no idea how the students would react to a new host, especially one who was younger and (much) dorkier than the previous host.  But like I mentioned on the “Year in Review” show last season, I think a lot of the students see me for who I am—someone exactly like them, just 30 years older.

Because that's kind of what I am, for better or for worse.

So maybe it's not so surprising a few people would consider me a fashion “icon”.  After all, I'm apparently just a kid at heart, albeit one who knows how to pick out clothes.  Who knew, right?

And with that, I'm off again to go spend a few minutes laughing in the corner!


MONDAY, 11/9:

Here's something you probably didn’t know about me.  Once or twice a year I like to go to a place where I usually wouldn’t think of venturing.  Once or twice a year, I like to go to Big Lots.

Shocking, isn’t it?

I don’t like to go to Big Lots for their collection of off-brand merchandise and factory seconds.  No, I like to go to Big Lots because, if you know exactly where to look, you’ll find that the store has somehow amassed this amazing collection of interesting foods from around the world.  I've picked up blackberry jam from Turkey, cheese gnocchi from Italy, and a package of raspberry filled chocolate cookies from Poland.  Sadly, though, I won't be able to do it much longer.

You see, Big Lots in Marquette is closing its doors at the end of the year.

The official word is that the store has lost its lease, but I kinda wonder is something else isn't in play.  After all, every time I'm in there (two or three times a year, admittedly, but still every time I'm in there) the store seems to be packed.  You'd think that, if it was only that the store had lost its lease, they'd find a new place to open up.  So I'm guessing there's something else going on, and the “lost lease” is just an excuse.

Either way, though, bummer.

Aside from the oddities of international food you could pick up at the store, I can also vouch for another service provided by Big Lots.  If you find yourself in need of a small, shall we say, out of the ordinary gift this holiday season, you can probably find one while looking through the food shelves of Big Lots.  Not only do they have a bunch of snacks and treats from around the world, but you can also probably find something weird from here in the USA, as well.

Case in point?  A couple of years ago I needed a small gift that cried “strange”, and I found it at Big Lots?  What was that gift, the one that cried “strange”?  How about Elvis Presley flavored hot chocolate.  That’s not to say the hot chocolate was flavored like Elvis Presley which, if I had to guess, would make it taste vaguely of fried banana sandwiches and painkillers.  Nope; it actually had different flavors you’d expect from hot chocolate, flavors like mint & caramel.  But just the fact that you could get “Elvis Presley” brand flavored hot chocolate at a store (at least at a store someplace outside of Memphis, where everything has Elvis’ picture on it) was, and is, one of the prime reasons why I would  visit Big Lots at least twice a year.

Sadly, though, that will be coming to an end at the end of the year.  I guess I'll have to make at least one trip out there, just to stock up on the jam and gnocchi and the cookies and maybe even more Elvis Presley brand hot chocolate.  After all, where else will I find stuff like that?


FRIDAY, 11/6:

I know what I'm doing December 17th at at 7pm.  I already have the tickets.

It'll probably come as no surprise to anyone that knows me or anyone who's ever read this even a little that I've been a huge “Star Wars” fan for as long as I can remember.  I grew up on and worshiped the original three films, and I even tolerated the first two “new” ones (throwing up in my mouth a little only when Jar-Jar Binks made an appearance).  I also think that the final half hour of the last remake, “Revenge of the Sith”, may be among the best half an hour in the whole series, if only because it sets up the three original movies I loved and adored.

So now have you guessed where I'll be December 17th at 7pm?  You got it.

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago when I posted a link to the trailer, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will one huge movie event.  So huge, in fact, that my friend Deanna, a fellow “Star Wars” freak, made sure she got our tickets a month and a half before the movie opens, and was disappointed only when she couldn't get VIP seats for the opening show.  So now we have to sit with everyone else when we watch the movie.

Oh, the tragedy, right?


But at least she wasn't as bad as some people I know, people in Marquette who actually waited in line outside of the movie theater before the tickets went on sale to buy the best seats possible.  And I've also heard stories about how some tickets in New York for the opening showing are being scalped for $400.

Four hundred dollars.  Think how many “Force Awakens” action figured you could buy for that!

So while I'm bad, at least I've not gone over to the Dark Side of “Star Wars” fandom.  All I need what I have.  A guarantee that I'll be seeing the movie the night it opens with people who are just as geeked as I. 

May the Force be with us December 17th.  And thanks, Deanna, for getting the tickets!

Okay; I'll come back to reality now, if only because I'm off yet again to shoot another edition of “High School Bowl”.  Speaking of which, we've rebooted the show's Facebook page, so if you're not a fan yet, consider this your invitation.  I'll try to post as much as I can on there, at least when I'm not busy cheering on Han Solo. 

(, nerd.


Wow.  I forgot I even had come up with those.

I came across a computer file yesterday when going through an old flash drive, and it was a computer file that had ideas, concepts, and fleeting thoughts about topics for these daily ramblings.  Some of them I had used, some of them ended up being not good enough to use, and then there was the one about “first lines”.

I’ve always thought that the first line of an essay was the most important.  Not only does it have to impart information about the essay, but it also has to reel you in and make you want to read what’s coming up.  I think I’ve been lucky in that regard; I’d like to think that I have a little talent in that area.  I mean, I’ve come up with lines like “I now know what the inside of a seagull smells like” (following a kayak trip to Ripley’s Rock) and “I woke up yesterday and realized that I misplaced the 1990s”, following a morning in which I woke up, and well, realized that I had forgotten much of what I did during the 1990s.  Of course, none of that tops what may be the single greatest first line ever written, a line in a 2007 California newspaper story that read, and I quote, ““A jazz musician was injured Friday after jumping from a burning motor home driven by a
one-time roller skating stripper“.

See?  A great opening line and, perhaps, a TV reality show just waiting to be made.

Anyway, I’m bringing this up because the note I found contained what I thought would be a couple of great opening lines.  I mean, when you read them you know that they’d never actually happen and are the product of an obviously demented mind, but I’d like to think that they’d draw you in to read what’s next.

And those lines are?

“I didn’t think the explosion would be quite THAT big. . .”

“I thought it would stop oozing after a day or two, but I guess I was wrong”.

“I know how the world is gonna end”.

Like I said, these are lines that would obviously never actually occur in reality (at least I hope they wouldn’t), but they’re lines that would, in a proper context, hopefully make you want to read on.  And that’s what’s important in a first line, right?

It’s amazing what you can find hidden on computer flash drives, isn’t it?  It really is.



They're on their way there.  See?  It isn't that hard.

I know I've probably railed about the misuse of the different forms of “there” in the past, so forgive me if I'm babbling babbles that I've already babbled.  But there was a meme going around on Facebook this morning in which someone posted that people join an organization because “there to stupid to do anything else”.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we have the very latest definition of the word “irony” right there.

I'm starting to wonder if this whole “there/their/they're” problem is the latest version of the “chicken & the egg” quandary.  Are people just grammatically stupid overall, and we notice it more these days because they post everything they write on the internet?  Or has technology—the internet and spell-check—made people stupider, so much so that they don't actually know which “their” to use here and there?

Some days, I just don't know.

Now, I make a lot of grammatical & spelling errors when I write, as those of you who read this are no doubt aware.  I rely too much on spell-check, and each and every one of these could probably use an extra round of proofreading, the time for which is, unfortunately, limited.  So I'm not claiming to live in a glass house.  I'm not claiming to be a perfect writer myself.  But if I were to post something accusing someone else of being stupid?

I'd make sure I wasn't an idiot myself.  But then, that's just me.

I'll shut up about this now, if for no other reason than I have to go hang out with people who, I'm guessing, actually DO know which “there” to use, four teams of some of the brightest young people on the planet, who will be taking part in another action packed edition of “High School Bowl”.  It starts shooting in about an hour, in fact, assuming they make it there.

Just not their.  Or they're.


TUESDAY, 11/3:

I wonder if I'll ever use the coin?

I was going through my box 'o souvenirs from our Germany trip over the weekend when a coin fell out from all the receipts, tickets, and brochures I've accumulated.  This coin, to be specific--

That's a bright shiny 20 Lipa piece from Croatia (lipa being their equivalent to our cents).  Now, those of you who followed along with our little adventure  may be thinking to yourself “Uhm, Jim, you didn't go to Croatia, did you?”, and you'd be absolutely right.  Although my in-laws went there after we came back home, I didn't set foot anywhere near Croatia.  Nope; this 20 lipa piece comes from the floor at Heathrow Airport, where my mom saw it and told me I should pick it up for luck.

Being a good son, I did just what she said.  And seeing as how I was at the time hoping our luggage would make it home with us (see yesterday's entry for more on that) I figured I had nothing to lose.  And apparently it worked, or at least helped, as our luggage did make it back to Marquette.

So the coin has that going for it.

This isn't the first time I've come home with a strange coin.  A couple of years ago, I found myself with a Swedish Kroner (their version of a dollar), that despite the fact that I hadn't been anywhere near Sweden.  The coin is the same size as, although doesn't look anything like, a Euro coin, and I'm guessing I just ended up with it while getting change from someone.  It's kind of cool, actually, that I have a coin from Sweden without ever having to go there.

Just as I now have one from Croatia without having ever gone.

I have no idea if I'll ever get to Croatia to spend my 20 lipa.  It's not anywhere near where we usually travel, and aside from having the spend the 20 lipa piece we have no reason to go there.  But still, looking at the coin made me think.  It made me think that there are many places in the world I've not yet been, many places with beauty and history and great people and (ahem) great chocolate.

Maybe, just maybe, the coin is a sign.  Maybe seeing the coin on the floor at Heathrow was a hint.  Maybe the coin was trying to invite me some place I've not yet been.  You never know.  So if if, some day in the future, you see a trip blog posted from Dubrovnik, you'll know why.

You'll know it's because of that coin I picked up off the floor in London.


MONDAY, 11/2:

It's been six weeks.  I wonder if I'll ever get my money back.

It's been six weeks now since I sent all the documentation and receipts I had gathered to US Airways for reimbursement of the money Loraine and I had to spend in Germany when our luggage didn't make it on the plane from Philadelphia to Frankfurt.  I did everything I was told, gathered everything I needed to gather, and sent it in.  Yet I've not heard one peep, not even that the information was received.

That's probably not good, right?

I can't say I'm surprised for two reasons.  The first is that with the exception of the nice lady at the Frankfurt Airport who helped us out, US Airways as an entity has been one of the worst businesses with which I've ever interacted.  From the moment we had trouble buying tickets for their part of the trip to the fact that they put us on a flight but not our luggage, even though we (us and our luggage) were together, dealing with them has been a nightmare. 

That's one reason I'm not holding out much hope.

The second reason is a bit more problematic, in that, as a corporate entity, US Airways no longer exists.  Their merger with American has become complete; in fact, the last flight branded as a “US Airways” flight touched down two weeks ago, and I just received a nice mass e-mail from the president of American Airlines saying that “everything is completed” and that the new airline “is ready to serve its customers with unparalleled service”.  Of course, the president of American Airlines used to head US Airways, so I'm kind of inclined to take anything he says with a grain of salt.

For obvious reasons.

If I had to guess, I'd say I have, at best, a 30 percent chance of being reimbursed for the items the nice lady in Frankfurt told us to buy.  Between everything we've gone through with the airline, and the fact that the airline itself no longer exists, I'm highly skeptical that I'll ever see a cent of the money again.  I wish the odds were better, but every time we've had to deal with US Airways, it's been a disaster.

So I'm not keeping my fingers crossed.

Before I go for today, I have to wish my favorite brother in the whole wide world a happy birthday!  I mean, technically he's my only brother, so I guess I HAVE to call him my favorite, but either way, I hope Marc, the (and I hope I get this quote from him correct), “the priceless work of art” that he is, has a fantastic day.  And I hope Tiffanie and Lunchbox make your day just spectacular.

Happy birthday, from

(, your much better looking brother!


Hosted, Designed and Updated by IronBay.Net © 2015

Copyright 2015 Taconite Broadcasting All Rights Reserved!

Hit Counter

Click for Marquette, Michigan Forecast