Off the Air with Mike Reader

He brings you the weather every day on WLOX News at 4, 5, 6, and 10pm. His experience in the Navy helps him track hurricanes like no one else. But what else is there to WLOX Chief Metrologist Mike Reader? We took him aside in this special Off the Air Interview.

How many cups of coffee do you have a day?
MR: Two. That's because I have to. I used to drink about 20 cups a day when I was in the Navy.

The Navy... tell me about the worst boat trip you've been on?
MR: Well, I'll tell you I spent 20 years in the Navy and the roughest weather was when I was out on this fishing trip.  It was worse than even when I was on an aircraft carrier. We were in 12 foot seas. The waves were going over the top of the boat and we were going over the top of the waves. It was fun though. It reminded me of going back to the old seafaring days.

What's your favorite color?
MR: I'd have to say probably green, you know like green grass, green trees.

Speaking of green grass and green trees, what's your favorite season?
MR: I'd have to say Spring or Fall, especially down here because that's when the honeysuckle smells. You know when the honeysuckle blooms down here and it's cool at night and warm in the day, but that honeysuckle... man, I tell you... you know you're in the south when you smell that honeysuckle.

Have you eaten it... the honeysuckle?
MR: Oh yeah. As a kid, you know to go out there and pluck it off the vine and you're like a little bee going to the nectar.

What's your favorite food?
MR: Everything. Ice cream without a doubt. I can eat a half gallon of ice cream in one day. My wife is always amazed.

What kind of ice cream?
MR: Vanilla. Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream. Just the plain vanilla.

Do you cook?
MR: I can cook. I'm a typical guy. You know, barbecue some stuff. I guess the best thing I cook that my wife likes is an omelette almost like a quiche. You know, you put your ham and cheese,  maybe a frittata, you put some potatoes in it, put it in a pan in the oven... let it puff up. So yeah, I can cook, but I don't cook a lot.

Ever have a cooking disaster?
MR: As a kid, I guess I had the classic disaster. One night, it was my turn to cook, and I was going to barbecue up some hamburgers. I decided to spice them up, so I got some crab boil and I put a little in there and said, "Well, that's not enough." So I poured this whole bottle of crab boil in the hamburgers. I was wondering why they cooked themselves. So I cook them up, they're on the plate, my family sits down to eat. (laughs) I just remember my dad biting into one of those.

Do you grill with charcoal or gas?
MR: Gas. I'm lazy.

Do you prefer Coke or Pepsi?
MR: Neither. I don't like sodas. It's gonna be tea, iced tea, coffee. Actually right now I've gotten off the taste of iced tea. I drink a lot of water.

Do you call it Soda or Pop?
MR: I call it soda. I guess it's because my mother comes from Massachusetts and that's what she used to say. So I just say soda. In the south, you just say "coke," like you go in and order a orange coke. I remember the time I ordered a orange soda and they said, "Do you want ice cream with that." I said,"No", just a soda.

Where's your favorite place to eat in South Mississippi?
MR: I don't have a favorite place though we go out a lot. I would say a place we go to a lot because we like it is Noodles in Beau Rivage.

What kind of music do you listen to?
MR: Oldies, because I'm an oldie. 102.3 or 95.7. The person I've enjoyed listening to more in my life was Neil Diamond. But I like some Motown stuff as well. I just like good music, John Denver, Willie Nelson. I think Willie Nelson is misunderstood. People think he's country, but I think he's a blues guy.

What's your favorite weather-related song?
MR: Well, I don't really like them that much. But I guess I would have to say my favorite was "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head."

Can you sing it?
MR: Yeah, but you wouldn't want me to. (He starts whistling the tune.) Now, it'll be stuck in my head all night long.

Favorite Concerts?
MR: Neil Diamond, John Denver, Willie Nelson. Willie Nelson was the last one. I was so looking forward to John Denver. He was supposed to come down here, but then he got sick and then he died of course.

Last concert?

MR:  Rod Stewart.  It was so awful I walked out halfway through.

Do you play an instrument?
MR: No. I have trouble playing a radio. I have no talents whatsoever.

What's your favorite tv show?
MR: NYPD Blue.

What TV character do you most identify with?
MR: Popeye. Because I tell people all the time, my motto in life is "I am what I am, that's all what I am."

Do you like reality tv shows?
MR: No. I think it's probably the most idiotic television I've ever seen in my life. I think it gives the normal person the chance for their 15 minutes of fame. But I think it's a rip off for the American viewing public. It's got a place, but no I don't like them. Reality television to me is a baseball game.

Would you ever be on one and which one?
MR: I always thought I could be on Survivor and show those dummies how to build a shelter.

If you were on Survivor, what personal item would you have to bring?
MR: I think a toothbrush. I can not go through a day without it. I would make one out of something to brush my teeth.

What do you do on your time off?
MR: Spend a lot of time with my wife. She's my best buddy. And she puts up with more stuff than anybody else. We'll spend time with our grand kids.

What is your dream vacation?
MR: Australia. I've been there, but I'd love to take my wife to Australia.

Have you ever skydived?
MR: Well, let's put it this way, when I was in the Hurricane Hunters, we'd practice putting on our parachutes. I'm a firm believer in the philosophy, there's no reason to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. We'd put the parachute on and we'd run to the door like we were going to, but then again I've always argued what's the logic of jumping out of an airplane in a hurricane.

Ever been snorkeling?
MR: I've done that. It's beautiful down there, you see all of the fish. I snorkeled off Guam and you could go around the bottom of the island and it was so deep you couldn't see the bottom. The Marianas Trench is there. It was like it just faded away to nothing. It's like holy mackerel I'm at the top of this 35 thousand foot abyss.

What do your grandchildren call you?
MR: Paw Paw. I think it's great.

What's your dream job?
MR: I joke with people that my dream job is to own a hot dog stand, and to sell hot dogs and to make change out of my pocket and never have a computer again. And never have to deal with anything electronic again and make enough money to live on. People say, "Why do you want that?" I wrestle with 14 computers every day, and something is wrong with them every day. One day I'm just going to give it all up.

So what about your dream retirement?
MR: I would love not having to answer to someone. I'd like to have a motor home and ride around the country. Do what I want to do.

Do you have any pets?
MR: Yes.  We recently adopted a dog, "Taffy" from Karla Redditte.  It's a Lhasa Apso.

If you could be any animal, which one would you be and why?
MR: A fish in the sea. There are a lot of places to roam and a lot of stuff down there to see and I like the water.

Interesting stuff. Do you have any questions you would like to pose to your other WLOX colleagues?
MR: Yeah ask AJ who's the best looking twin... him or Joe? (Ed. note - Joe Giardina is a former WLOX News anchor and AJ's twin brother.) And why did he start using the phrase "Hello Everybody" at the beginning of his sportscast. Where did that come from?

Well thanks for taking the time to spend some time Off the Air .

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