Friday, September 29, 2017

A Visit From The Planet Energy

The kid will turn eight in a couple of weeks and I still tell him he is my favorite grandson.  I've been telling him that for at least as long as he has been on the planet and I await the light bulb moment when he realizes that he is my ONLY grandson.  That will be a watershed moment in his young life.  He is here in north Idaho with his parents for an autumn vacation.  His folks took him out of school for a week which means he has been assigned homework by his teacher to insure he keeps up with the class.  I note with interest that he loves to read but absolutely hates doing any math.  The apple does not fall far from the grandpa tree.  "Put a dollar sign in front of all those numbers and that'll make it more interesting", I offer as encouragement.  So far, it doesn't appear to be working.
Oh well, there is always cowboy or circus work.

It's such a cliche to complain about how kids can wear you out, but they DO!  After a week long visit from my grandson, Dan, it becomes crystal clear to me why we have children when we are young.  A normal day in the life of a seven year-old requires more energy than grandpas can produce on any kind of consistent basis.  I'll need a couple of weeks and a nap or two just to get back to my old self.  (Operative word: old)

Gramps and Dan hatching a plan to snare the 'rents.

The fur babies in the park like him.

"Come down here and get these nuts!"

Two guys up to no good

Dan and his mom ready for a boat ride

He's a Pirates' Booty junkie.

A nice quiet moment with his dad on the lake.

Oh sure, he gets to nap on the way home.

Looking for crime to fight!

"Beware evil doers everywhere!"

"Yes, this book is far more interesting than talking to adults."

Friday, September 22, 2017


The one thing about moving frequently is that it affords you the opportunity to compare the pluses and minuses of life in different parts of the country.  I have now lived in eleven states and multiple cities in every part of America except New England.  Boston was always on my list of potential homes as it was, and is,  a very vibrant and competitive radio market, but, for whatever reason, timing and opportunity never came together.  As a kid in the Midwest I would often have my transistor tuned to WBZ and could imagine the thrill of one day uttering "The Spirit of New England, WBZ Group W Westinghouse, Boston" at the top of the hour.  What can I tell you?  I was a weird kid and have no complaints.  Cracking a mic on some legendary sticks in Tampa, San Diego and San Francisco ("K-101 is K eye oh eye, San Fraaaaancisco!") more than fulfilled my geeky Midwest boyhood dreams.

Lately, because this has been a strange year, I've found myself feeling homesick for...nowhere.  It's just odd.  I feel like there is someplace I need to be no matter where I happen to have myself planted at the time.  The easy answer is that the loss of my wife nearly six months ago has caused me to lose my compass and, no doubt, there is a lot of truth to that, however, it seems like there is more.  I suppose there is a price to be paid for leading a sort of rootless existence, though I'm hard pressed to put my finger on it. There is much to be learned from exposure to different people, climates and local traditions.  True friends are always there if you want to keep them.  My address book--yes I still use one--is loaded with folks I can't imagine never meeting and clinging to for life.  They are like jewels you can count on for love, support and, most of all, laughs.

These thoughts were paramount as I flew north to Idaho after a recent visit to San Diego.  It was good to feel the soft warm air of that southwestern most corner of America and even better to catch up with a few friends.  The traffic I could have done without.  San Diego was home for several years on two different occasions and it's always easy to slip back into old routines whenever I''m there.  I'll head back for a radio reunion late next month and again in December for Christmas with daughter Katie and her family.  For now I'm in Coeur D' Alene hoping for a beautiful Fall and some crisp pine scented air to go with it, but there is still something missing.

I have lined up several trips designed to keep me out of the cold this winter and am hopeful that they help me find some answers to this restlessness that won't go away.
A woman friend of long standing whom I admire and respect made the most obvious yet profound observation with regard to my situation.  She said, "When you find your heart, then you'll be home." She may be on to something.

How did women get so damn smart?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ken Copper: Ken Copper: Reflections on a rainy afternoon...

Ken Copper: Ken Copper: Reflections on a rainy afternoon...: ( This is a blog from 2011 that I thought worth a repeat this week.) Ken Copper: Reflections on a rainy afternoon... : Lots of constructio...

Ken Copper: Reflections on a rainy afternoon...

(This is a blog from 2011 that I thought worth a repeat this week.)

Ken Copper: Reflections on a rainy afternoon...: Lots of construction underway at the World Trade Center site The rain persisted as the afternoon wore on but it seemed appropriate...

Friday, September 8, 2017

Maybe Not Irma, But We Could Use A Little Breeze

Kim Jong Fatass

If that fat little North Korean psycho with the Moe Howard haircut wants to lob a dollop of Hiroshima hot sauce on us, now might be the ideal time.  With Florida about to blow away and the Pacific Northwest hidden by tons of forest fire funk there is little chance of him being able to even find us with his Korean atomic kimchi.  Add to that the fact that we're all pretty pissed off and spoiling for a good fight just to take our minds off this end of summer clearance sale on crappy weather.  Bring it on Tubby!  We'll be up your posterior with a plutonium proctoscope that will light up your pathetic province like Times Square on New Year's Eve.

Why so hostile?  Maybe it's from breathing all the smoke that has blanketed the Northwest for the past week.  I know that the situation in Florida is dire but in this neck of the woods Irma has some appeal as we breathe through our hankies.  Just a mild summer zephyr would do the trick.   Florida can keep the hurricane.

It's funny,  I spent five years in Florida during the 70's and never experienced a hurricane.  Longtime Floridians explained that they were a great excuse for a party and made it seem as if I was missing  one of the best adventures the Sunshine State had to offer.  I wonder how many are partying now?  From the looks of the lines at gas stations and northbound freeways not many are sticking around.  Let the gators and cockroaches (sorry, palmetto bugs) have it.  I'll be playing it safe here in the Idaho panhandle sucking in the rough equivalent of a carton of Lucky Strikes every day.  Bring on the fat kid!  I'm fairly certain I can take him.

Floridians gassing up to head north.
I-90 Coeur D Alene, Idaho

Still Coeur D Alene, not Gary, Indiana

At least the tourists are gone...
For those who have forgotten, it's supposed to look like this.
Your corespondent preparing for a trip downtown

Friday, September 1, 2017

Seaplanes, Wienies and Tug Boats...Oh MY!

"Pick up your bag and grab the shuttle to the docks," my old pal The Skipper says to me on my cell phone while I wait for my luggage at the Logan airport Delta carousel.  Apparently there was a change in plans regarding my being met in Boston last Thursday.  I had flown in to attend the annual Wienie Roast Fly-In the good Captain and his wife, Betty, throw every summer.  It's a get-together for all of their seaplane flying buddies that has become legendary in New England after a couple of decades.  I had not attended since 1993 and was overdue for a dose of that clam "chowdah" accent.  I don't fly a seaplane but have been high in my living room and am always dependably ready for a good debauch with or without an invitation.  I was there and down to clown with the Red Barons and Baronesses  of the float plane air force.

The Skip had decided to fetch me from the Boston airport not in a car but in his tugboat the Captain Shorty, a key asset in his New England Harbor Services fleet.  A few years ago he purchased the company after retiring from being a full-time captain of ocean going oil tankers.   The business keeps him about as busy as he wants to be and is a fine way to be "sort of" retired and out of Betty's way.

The Captain Shorty

Just as he told me to do, I caught the shuttle with the life ring on its grill outside the Logan terminal and was off to the Boston docks.  To my relief the Captain Shorty, the Skipper and a crew of two suspicious looking high seas reprobates were there to meet me.  Now, past sunset, we were off to the Shorty's slip in Quincy where we would spend the night.

"Which way to the marina?"  Isn't the captain supposed to be at the wheel?
I can't say that the Shorty's amenities were all that upscale but it did have running water and a working refrigerator that struggled to keep things cold.  I was grateful for the futon provided on board for me and am reasonably certain that I will be able to eventually stand up straight once my back heals in a couple of months.  In the morning we hit the road for the Lake Sunapee region of New Hampshire about an hour and a half north of Boston where the Skipper and Betty make their home on Otter Pond in Georges Mills.  It's a beautiful place for float plane enthusiasts and a wonderful spot for a party.  

Inflatable First Mate Lem Motlow

The Skipper saluting the REAL boss

There was much to do before planes began landing at their dock the next day:  chairs and tables needed setting up and multiple trips to the grocery and liquor stores for hot dogs and booze were also on the "to do" list.   It was fun to be there to offer helpful hints like: "I think you'll need more booze." and "Do you think 30 bags of Cheetos is going to be enough?"  I was glad to be of service.

The big event went off without a hitch.  Crowd estimates all hovered around 100 depending on when the counting was done.  Toward midnight several of the non pilot attendees from the Skipper's maritime days may have been seeing double and over counted.  I can see it will be necessary for me to return next year to supervise.  I hope the Shorty is available.

A chef prepares

The Skip's nephew flew in from South Carolina

Tube steaks supreme were the star of the show

NO Ketchup allowed!