Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Server Down!

The two words high on my list that make me cringe, "Server Down!" Because of the nature of my job I can usually find others things to do on the computer if I don't have access to the Internet, but it sure is an inconvenience.

Tuesday we had three different power spikes over a course of about 6 hours. You know that brief millisecond of time that dims your lights and is the visual equivalent of electricity waving its fist at you.

Because of the way we use computers in our studios it was something you could hear over your radios briefly as the computers we use to play commercials and programs hiccuped along with the lights.

Now this wasn't just a short interruption, its effect lasted a few hours. In addition to writing and recording news I am responsible for helping edit and send out an online newsletter. Sadly that wasn't possible Tuesday morning. That same program is also used for our online news, sports, etc. So our "Server Down" became the computer version of "It's a Wonderful Life." It meant an inconveniece for the thousands of people that get the newsletter and view our website for up to date information. As Clarence the Angel in training would say "Isn't it strange how one life (server) can touch so many others?"

Okay so that's a little bit dramatic, but people have come to depend on the Internet. Many people I correspond with every day use e-mail as their main form of communicating. I didn't miss the spam, but did miss a few messages I should have gotten.

There was a small humorous moment amongst the angst "Server Down" caused. One computer in the building still had access to the Internet for a short period of time. One of our morning announcers said e-mail your news to me and I'll put it the newsletter and website. And how was I supposed to do that? It reminded me of working at a radio station in the U.P. when we lost power during a blizzard and a listener called to tell us that we should go on the air and tell our listeners that we were off.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Breakfast With Jerry

It was nice to see all the people who stopped at Schreiner's Restaurant in Fond du Lac to wish Breakfast Club host Jerry St. John well prior to his surgery for prostate cancer. We managed to raise about $1,100 for St. Agnes Hospital Foundation's Cancer Care Fund, once again thanks to the generosity of you our listeners.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all could have such a great send off just before we are to face one of life's big hurdles. I know Jerry was genuinely glad to see some familiar faces and meet people he'd never seen before.

It was also good to do the Breakfast Club on the road. Usually we have to make our own coffee and it has a tendancy to take on its own life after its been on the burner for awhile. Those who made donations and left with a KFIZ Breakfast Club coffee mug left with a true treasure and Jerry even autographed a few.

Afterwards some of the KFIZ crew sat down and enjoyed a delicious breakfast. We laughed and told jokes, had some time that we don't normally get to share on your typical radio station morning. Jerry ate his last meal prior to the fasting he would need to do for his surgery. It was one of life's small moments that usually goes unappreciated, but not this time.

A big thank you to those who stopped out to see us and make a contribution. It further demonstrates how caring people are that live in the Fond du Lac area. When we say we have the greatest listeners in the World, we really mean it.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Missing Kids

Even if DNA Evidence puts John Mark Karr at the scene of JonBenet Ramsey's murder there will always be one question that can never fully be answered. Why?

Now a lot of people are rethinking the suspicion the Ramseys went through in the death of their own child. The death of a 6-year-old child is hard enough even when you are able to recover the body of that child. The Walsh's know about that. Adam Walsh was the same age when he was kidnapped and killed. John Walsh host of America's Most Wanted will have to live with the fact that authorities probably did know who his killer was. However the man died in prison and never would admit to it.

Missing children haunt us from Internet sites, public kiosks, laundromat bulletin boards. Up until a couple years ago I'd walk by one law enforcement bulletin board several times a week and see Jacob Wetterling's poster staring back. Laurie Depies poster used to hang faded, but clinging for attention in a kiosk at the old bus pickup spot on North Main Street in Fond du Lac.

Ironically Depies and Jacob Wetterling would both be about 35-years-old now. Adam Walsh would be 31-years-old and JoBenet would be a 16-year-old high school student. For each we ask why? To the list we add Teresa Halbach. She was 25-years-old and wouldn't be considered a child. However as one of my favorite confidants would say as long as your parents are still living you're somebody's child. For a short time Teresa went missing and once she was found again the question of why.

If you'd like to find out more about Jacob Wetterling check out the Jacob Wetterling Foundatin site at For more on Laurie Depies go to Adam Walsh's story can be found on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at As for the rest we pray for a happy ending and wonder..why?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Life's Bridges

A story about terrorist plots and the Mackinac Bridge got my attention. Being a Michigan native I can say it's a unique structure and a source of pride for the state. Having said that I'll bet you can think of at least one bridge in your life that sticks out in your memory. I can think of several.

I always enjoy the Butte des Morts Bridge and especially early in the morning when the sun is on the rise and fishermen are just geting out on the water. For a couple years traveling across the bridge between Marinette-Menominee wasn't a sure thing. In fact you had to take an alternate route while Highway 41 was torn up.

There are simpler bridges like the ones in Fond du Lac's Lakeside Park, that are practical and scenic as well. One of the best examples of a scenic bridge I can think of is the Cut River Bridge. Not sure if I spelled that right, but it's on the way to St. Ignace, Michigan and the Mackinac Bridge. You'll find it on U.S. 2 and it's worth stopping at just for the view. Although if you suffer from vertigo it might not be the best to take in the view alone, it's literally hundreds of feet up from the river.

One of my favorite childhood bridges was one spanning between Arkansas and Tennessee. Between the ages of 6 and 12 my family lived in West Memphis, Arkansas. That's about 6 miles from Memphis where my Dad worked. There's a lengthy bridge over the mighty Mississippi River. As kids we'd try and hold our breaths in the car while we were crossing it. Never made it very far.

My favorite bridge isn't really much of a bridge at all. We called it the "Cope" that was short for an actual bridge in Copenhagen it was supposedly modeled after. The teenage right of passage was to swim at the "Cope" and dive off the bridge. The current could be swift, but the water was deep enough. Diving from the top rail was the true measuring stick. It also became a late night excursion as we got older. Watching the thunderstorms come across Indian Lake from the "Cope" was cool( but maybe not entirely safe). We'd also watch for UFOs. I never saw any, planes yes.

The "Cope" is also a generational connection for me. While going through a scrapbook one day I came across an old Kodak photo. It's my Dad, then about 18-years-old, leaning against a rail on the bridge with a friend. Now that I'm older I've realized that soon my nephews Max and Derek will be going through their own right of passage on the same bridge. They're only a couple blocks and a few years away. They never met their Grandpa Nelson, but at least the "Cope" will be something they shared in common.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

You Can't Go Home Again!

You really can't go home again. I found that out when I recently spent several days with my Mom in the U.P. She's on the move again. She just purchased a house and when I went to her current home I was greeted by packing boxes and a house in disarray.

She's giving up her "Dream House" on a Lake in exchange for a more modest 3-bedroom home in the city. I've told her she's going to miss the Lake, but she says it's too much work and after 5 years of money pitting she's had enough.

That got me to thinking about how many places I've called home over the years. Not counting living on campus in College, it comes to about 15 different apartments and homes. No place is perfect. You can find a flaw if you look hard enough. My Mom has already found some minor flaws with her new home and she's having them addressed before she moves in later this month.

Honestly the places you live in can be like ghosts, haunting your mind or your dreams. I still dream about the home I spent most of my teenage years growing up in. I sometimes go by there when I travel to the U.P. It almost makes me feel guilty, like abandoning an old friend.

Memories come to mind. That's the home we used to throw G.I Joe dolls out the window to see if their parachutes would really work. That's the home my sister Kathy learned that you can't carry a portable television down a stairs when you're only four years old. There's the home where we spent a Christmas huddled around the fireplace because the power was out for more than 8 hours while the temperature outside hovered in the teens.

Now I call a 2-bedroom apartment in Fond du Lac home. I guess home isn't really a house or an apartment, it's the memories you build and carry around with you the rest of your life. They survive whatever move you make. They're more precious and should be handled with care.