Archive for November, 2008

That other anticipated event

Thursday, November 20th, 2008


I’ve been scouring the radio dial for a couple of days now, craving some christmas carols… but nothing.  I could’ve played a CD, but I was looking for that spontaneous song selection that occurs on the radio. I didn’t expect to find anything until after Thanksgiving, but I needed to hear some christmas songs… and it wasn’t happening.

I kept hitting the “seek” button over and over… but all I was finding was the occasional tease of a christmas themed commerical. Undaunted, I cycled through the dial once more.

Finally, at 5:35 PM the dial hit 101.1 (B101 – “Philly’s Official Christmas Station“), and I caught the end of  “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” by Perry Como. … could it be?  Was this the music source I’d been searching for?

“Oh Holy Night” followed, and then “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”… yes!  Christmas Carols…. for the next seven weeks, I know right where to find them.

Tonight, this was the perfect find.  As I drove past  ACE Hardware with its christmas lights up  and caught a glimpse of what looked like snowflakes blowing underneath the street lights, I smiled… and thought to myself how much I love Christmas.

It may be that in a few weeks I’m writing about how much I can’t wait for the season to be over – but I doubt it.  Christmas is my favorite time of year, and while I’m not ready to decorate or buy most of my presents yet… I am happy to have the music a preset button away.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)

That other set of facts

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

We repost here, with a working link, Mark Rosenfelder’s Facts from his bookshelf, and still wish we’d been clever enough to think to do this ourselves.

Maybe one day, though…

That other lesson learned

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Okay, Mom, I admit, you were right.

It’s very cold outside today. Weather Underground says it’s currently 32 degrees with a 20 mph wind (that’s a wind chill of 20 degrees Fahrenheit).

Our winter heat bills run in excess of $250 a month because of the layout of our home, so we keep the heat set in the mid sixty’s during the day. That’s not bad for most of the family, but I’m here working.

So, what did I just do?

I’m proud, and a little humbled to say, I went and put on socks.

I know, I know… what was I doing sitting here with no socks on anyway? Well, that’s stupid thing #1, but the short answer is that I had to run down and send some emails before “end of day” India time, which is like 8 in the morning, and socks would’ve just slowed me down. (both running speed and getting dressed time). But, yeah, I know…

The point is, I listened… finally. I remembered that you lose most of your heat through your head and feed. My hair’s short, and I don’t feel like wearing a hat indoors (how rude!), so I remembered what my mom and about 5 different Health teachers told me… and went and put on socks.

And I feel considerably warmer now. (Warm enough that no, I’m not going to go put on a sweater… yet)

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)

That other thing I miss

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

I’m probably going to “miss” something (ha ha ha… *snort* … yeah… ), but here is a short (?), random list of things that I didn’t appreciate enough when I could and should have.

  • I miss Nan, and my other grandmother. And my grandfather too.
  • I miss spending time with my friend, John. And I miss other friends too. Related to that, I miss feeling like “a good friend.”
  • I miss coming home from school when I was 7 and eating a snack: maybe a dixie cup of jello with whipped cream or way too many cookies.
  • I miss being a deejay.
  • I miss having a ton of time to read books.
  • I miss track practices and being outside a lot. I miss feeling good about myself in general.
  • I miss watching Lost.
  • I miss working at The Backstreet Cafe, and I miss the owner, Mark, and his girlfriend/fiance/wife, Karen.
  • I miss going to Strolli’s.
  • I miss comic books costing 65 cents each and a whole story being told in each single issue.
  • I miss walking around Philadelphia.
  • I miss helping people other than my own family (not that I don’t want to help my family), and I miss having people seek my help.
  • I miss watching Godzilla movies on Saturday afternoons.
  • I miss fooling around with Joe and my other friends from Wilton.
  • I miss making spontaneous long distance trips to visit people or go exploring.
  • I miss my first car.
  • I miss watching Dan Majerle play and cheering for the Suns in 1993.
  • I miss being able to relax and being pleasantly surprised by things.
  • I miss going to the Palestra to cheer for Hassan “Slam” Duncombe and the rest of the Quakers.
  • I miss riding my bike to the 7-11 to play Pengo, Pole Position, Gyruss, Sinestar, and maybe Battlezone.
  • I miss being able to brag about myself.
  • I miss working at the Village Market.
  • I miss hearing Depeche Mode, the Smiths, and the Cure on the radio.
  • I miss that pastry place in East Brunswick (Maria’s ?) on Route 18 and the late, late night snack runs we used to make.

Ha, well… that’s a despressing looking list, isn’t it? To be honest,though, throwing this list together has me feeling pretty good.

Yes, I “remembered” a lot of things that are gone now, but each of those memories also sparked thoughts of things still with me which I can embrace and appreciate today. It’s important to remember that just because you miss something doesn’t mean you have nothing of value still in your life, right? (pretty profound, huh?)

In fact, when I considerthe things I do not have to miss because they’re right here with me, I feel very lucky. (that’s a list I probably should write, but where’s the drama in that? – can you imagine the consequences of forgetting to include something in that list? Ugh.)

I’m sure I forgot to include some stuff in my “miss” list… maybe that’s a sign that I’ll be reconnecting with some of those things soon. Either way, the memories of them all stay with me and the most important thing is that those memories have me appreciating things about my life that I might’ve otherwise not given their due respect.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)

That other plan to find the E’s that are missing from my br_akfast c_r_al

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

I’m going to conduct an experiment.

Sometime in the next four days, probably Sunday, I’m going to buy a box (that’d be another box on top of the one I’ve been eating) of Alpha Bits. I’m going to open it up, dump it out, and sort out all the bits by letter. I’ll report my findings back here.

Now, before you cry out “he’s gone mad” or “he’s an idiot” or “this is that stupid Pepperidge Farm Goldfish serving size thing again,” hear me out.

First of all, I was right about the goldfish. There’s no reason why a serving size of one flavor should be 55 goldfish but a serving size of a different flavor should be only 51 crackers. That was a blatant attempt to manipulate the nutritional information on the side of the package. The fact that they don’t do it anymore doesn’t change the fact that they once did – and it was a scam!

But I digress…

If you think I’m nuts, you should know that I’m not the first person to consider the topic worthy of study. Granted, the teachers who participated in that project weren’t as whiny or conspiracy-suspicious as I may seem to be. But, they considered their investigation to be time well spent and an educational experience. So I’ll include my kids in the sorting process, we’ll podcast about it, they’ll learn some math, and it’ll be win-win-win. Then, I’ll share my findings with the good folks at Post/Kraft Foods, and we’ll see where that goes.

It’d help if I wasn’t so busy with other things, but then again… it’s counting cereal. How much of a priority should it really be? It’s going to have to wait – not long though.

I’m sure you’re dying to see what the results are. Check back soon for an update.

(I’m thinking I should’ve kept my original title for this post: That other plan to answer “where in the world are C, A, R, M, N, S, and D, I, E, G, and O ?” Hahahahaha… I can see the eyes rolls of friends from the past at that. Hahaha… *snort* … ha… um… yeah, … maybe it’s best I didn’t use that.)

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)

That other breakfast cereal

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Not that I don’t have a thousand other things to worry about, but I’ve been obsessing about one thing lately… why does it seem like all the Alpha Bits in my bowl are A’s, B’s, D, O’s, Q’s, and Y’s?  Where did the rest of the alphabet go?

Okay, I may be oversimplifying things… there are certainly a few P’s, something that could be an H or an I, and I think I saw an X in my bowl this morning. There are a bunch of broken pieces, and I can recognize that some of them were once E’s or F’s. It’s possible that some of the straight “sticks” are parts of L’s or N’s or Z’s, but come on…. when’s the last time you saw an M (that was clearly not a “W”) in your Alpha Bits? For that matter, when’s the last time you had Alpha Bits?  (I had them every day this week, but admittedly it was the first time in nearly a year that I’d bought them).

The front of my box shows A, B, C, M , O , P, X, and Z pieces, “enlarged to show texture.” These pieces look nothing like the gnarled, mutant cereal pieces in my bowl.  Let’s look at the back of the box…

On the back of the box, General Mills proposes you play “Pick-N-Pair” or “Match Game” with your cereal.  They have “PLAY” and “FOOD” spelled with Alpha Bits, and beneath is bowl of apparently hand-picked bits… again “enlarged for texture.” I can clearly see most, if not all, of the alphabet represented in that bowl.  Why doesn’t my bowl look like that?

Let’s be honest, if your Alpha Bits don’t look like the alphabet, they’re basically Cheerios.

But I’m still a fan. I just wish I could spell any of the words on the box, my name, or maybe write a sentence other than “ODD BOY ADD A DAD.” (The odd boy being the subject of the sentence, and “add” being the verb.)

More to come…

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)

That other 2001 plane crash in New York

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

I’ve written drafts of this blog entry more times than I can remember. It should have been posted many Novembers ago, but I had trouble finding the right way to express what I was thinking. Today, I’m just going to try to let the words pour out and hope it makes sense and reflects the way I have felt for nearly seven years.

On November 12, 2001, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed near Queens in New York City.

With the crash happening only two months after the September 11th attacks, rumors abounded back then (and still do online – I won’t honor them with a link) that it was another terrorist attack. The NTSB conducted a three year investigation and concluded that the flight’s co-pilot, First Officer Molin, made efforts to free the plane from wake turbulance which put more pressure on the aircraft’s tail than it could bear. The agency blamed both the design of the rudder by Airbus and the training program provided by American Airlines for the loss of the tail and resulting crash. American Airlines and Airbus continue to fight over who bears the greater share of the blame for this tragedy.

I did not know Mr. Molin, nor did I know any of the passengers on that plane. However, the pilot of Flight 587, Captain Eddie States, was the uncle of a very dear friend: Colleen Mangan.

When Colleen was informed of the crash, I was there… sort of. I saw them pull her aside and tell her something had happened, and I knew it wasn’t good – but I didn’t know the whole story. Understandably, no one really did in those first hours. However, I could have found out and done more in the days which followed. Instead, I waited for the information to work its way to me, and by the time, I knew what had happened and how it affected Coll, I was at a loss for what to do. So, I did nothing.

I’m writing this post for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, in recognition of Captain States, an exceptional man and an important person in my friend’s life. I know Colleen and her family miss him every day, but maybe writing this post will help keep his memory fresh in the minds of others. Secondly, I wish to honor my friend, Colleen. I must’ve told her 100 times how proud I am of her and how she handled herself back then in particular. But sometimes you’re so impressed that you want to tell anyone who will listen – this would be one of those times.

I am also posting because this was one of several times in my life when I feel could have or should have done things differently. The fact that while Colleen and her family were struggling to come to terms with their sudden loss, I stayed off to the side because I didn’t really know what to do or say remains one of the times I am most disappointed in myself. And I guess, I felt like I needed to say that. (I have told Coll that before… many times, but still…)

It is a humbling thing to find that you’re not the person you thought you were: to find that you lack qualities or strengths that you assumed you had. As much as I felt for the Mangan family, at that moment I was so stunned and ached so much for them, that I simply could not figure out what to do and froze.

Colleen, on the other hand, tapped an inner courage which allowed her to address hundreds at her uncle’s funeral, She and her family found ways to celebrate Captain States’ life while dealing with his passing, and they continue in the years since the crash.

I never doubted Coll would find a way to move forward – she is an exceptional person, and her family is wonderfully supportive of each other. Her uncle, I am sure, would be just as proud of and equally un-surprised by the woman she’s become as I am.

But let me get back to the topic of this post. On September 11, 2001, three planes were turned into missles and used to attack America – thousands lost their lives that day. That is a horrible thing. Plane crashes and other accidents occur all around the world at various times. The loss of life there, or anywhere is very sad, and all those people had people who miss them dearly.

On November 12, 2001, there was an other plane crash in New York: American Flight 587. While the lives lost elsewhere are just as valuable as the 265 who died in this crash – one of those 265, Captain Eddie States, was my friend’s uncle.

If you read this blog, please take a moment and think good thoughts for Coll and her family.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)

That other pet’s birthday

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Today, November 11, was my dog’s birthday.

Mousse would’ve been 31 years old (that’s 217 in dog years) if she were still alive today.

I can still remember when we got her… back in January of 1978 from a breeder in northern New Jersey. Dork that I was (am) I used to think it was so cool that her birthday was 11-11 and my birthday was 9-11.

I miss Mousse. She was a good dog. *sigh*

Very long post coming tomorrow.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)

That other radio station

Monday, November 10th, 2008

So, I used to be a dee-jay.
Not a club “DJ” but a radio “jock:”  cueing up records (yes, vinyl) and playing “carts.”

I first got on the air at WBFH, 88.1 FM, Lahser and Andover High School’s jointly run student radio station in Bloomfield Hills, MI. I loved it.

Dominic Cianciolo and I took a radio broadcasting class together back in the fall of 1985 at Lahser High School, and we were trained to be on-air talent for BFH. I only got to do three shows on the station before moving to Connecticut that January, but I had “the itch.”

I spent the next two and a half years pleading with the administration of Wilton High School to add a radio station to the campus. Unsuccessful in my lobbying efforts, I turned to the school newspaper (The Forum) where I still managed to make some noise:

Finally, I got to the University of Pennsylvania and was able to return to radio. WQHS, 730 AM, was the school’s student run radio station.  It was broadcast over “carrier current.” This means that the station transmitted through the electrical wiring of the buildings, as opposed to through the airways: not ideal, but in every other aspect it was the same as any other radio station.

I went through my training and landed a 2-hour, weekly show. I was finally back “on-air.” As a WQHS dee-jay, I played all the great alternative music of the late 80’s, early 90’s. If it was in John Hughes film or on New York’s WLIR – I was playing it.

When I wasn’t doing my show, I’d go into the studio and make mix tapes or expore the vast collection of records. In fact, when my wife and I met, one of our first dates included a tour of the station and sitting in the production booth listening to the latest tracks from Faith No More, Depeche Mode, and I wanna say …. The Flaming Lips (?).

Once a week, I’d intern at WXPN. WXPN was located in the same building as WQHS, but they were an FM station which broadcast through more traditional means: over the airwaves. XPN was once the student radio station but, well, let’s just say something went wrong. The details aren’t important here, but it was a privilage to be able to work at XPN, and I was happy to help out screening calls for XPN’s shows or cataloging the music library.

In 1992, I graduated from Penn as the station’s production director (oooh, ahhh), went to graduate school at Rutgers, and put my radio days behind me. * sigh *

Lately, I’ve reconnected with Dominic. I’ve also been fooling around with some podcasts, and I listen to a lot of online radio. And I find myself thinking more and more of my time on the radio.

I’d visited the WQHS site a couple of times since I’d graduated and often listened to the station’s internet streams, but for the last 15 years I haven’t been very active in any formal alumni group for the station. Yes, I was on a mailing list; I sent some money; I responded to the occasional email from the station over the last fifteen years… but it’d been a while now since I’ve heard from anyone at WQHS.

But, like I said, I’ve got that itch to get involved again.

So, I’ve been asking around:  I’ve found some fellow WQHS alums through LinkedIn, and I’ve reached out to the station. My goal is to become a more active alumnus of the station: maybe set up a web site here at or help the current student leaders of the station reconnect with alumni.

My progress in this venture is sure to be the subject of future blog posts. In the meantime, if you or someone you know is an alum of the station – please let me know.

Contributed by: Scott Copperman (Guest Author)
University of Pennsylvania, Class of 1992

That other song lyric

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

We proudly present this outstanding line from one of  many outstanding songs we enjoy.  If you don’t know the song, look it up.  We’ll present more lyrics in the future.

“I like your poetry, but I hate your poems” – Obscurity Knocks (Trashcan Sinatras)