Friday, April 24, 2009


It's getting pretty warm these days. When the average temperature is 80 degrees or above, it's time for my favorite insect- THE PRAYING MANTIS, also known as MANTIS RELIGIOSA.

Every year I do a fun science experiment involving my garden, organic pest control, and the fascinating Praying Mantis. If you have kids, they will love it, believe me, AND they will learn something. I will walk you through it one step at a time.

First of all, I will attempt to keep you informed with frequent videos outlining all the things you need to do to successfully raise Praying Mantids. As far as I know this is the ONLY place in cyberspace where step by step instruction is available on video for raising Praying Mantids.
There are two ways to do it: in the wild and in captivity. I like to do both. Here's how it works. I let the Praying Mantis eggs hatch in my garage and let most of them go in the garden (where they provide excellent pest control) but I also keep a few in a bug jar to raise in captivity. To get them to hatch in the garage, simply leave the egg sack in its cardboard container. Check it carefully everyday. Don't miss a day! They might all be born and die before they get out. So, it's important to check everyday. Also, keep in mind that when they hatch, there will be 100's of them coming out of each egg sack and they are quite fast! They will jump out the moment you open the container so be careful! Also, do this outside. Invariably, a handful will get away. Best to let them go outside where they have a chance.

If you're not intending to raise some praying mantids in captivity, then you should let the eggs hatch outdoors. Affix them to the lower branch of a bush or shrub in the backyard. You can do this with the aid of a piece of thread or dental floss, or maybe a small piece of plastic netting. The baby mantids will be born when the average outdoor temperature is over 80 degrees. The nymphs (that's what the babies are called) will hatch and hang from the egg case on tiny threads that resemble spider webs. They hang for a while until they dry off. Then they march off to eat other bugs. The best kind of bush to use is a rose bush because roses often have aphids and the baby mantids love aphids. By hanging the oothea from a rose bush, the babies will have a ready source of food as soon as they're ready to eat.

Step one- go to your local nursery or hardware store or garden center and ask about organic pest control. They will probably have a small refrigerator full of Lady Bugs and Praying Mantis Eggs (called oothea.) They keep them in a refrigerator so they won't warm up and hatch ahead of time. Buy a few oothea. There are usually three kinds of mantids available commercially: the Giant Chinese Praying Mantis, the Carolina Mantis and the European Mantis. There's no way of knowing which kind you're going to get in a container, but the larger oothea are usually the Giant Chinese variety. Bring the egg sacks home and decide which way you want to go with them (wild or captivity). There's no reason you can't go both ways, I do. Hang one of the oothea from a low branch of a bush. Check it everyday. If you decide to hatch some in captivity, leave one container in the garage and check it everyday. One day, when you peak inside, you'll see hundreds of baby Praying mantids crawling all over each other. Shake a few into a plastic bug jar, no more than half a dozen in each bug jar. Leave them alone for a day or two. Soon they will get hungry and start eating (usually a sibling) and it will be time to furnish food. I'll give you the lowdown on feeding them in the next installment.

I bought my oothea a few days ago at Navlets, but they are available all over at this time. In the wild, the eggs usually hatch in June, but in California it could be any time after the danger of frost is past.

Good luck!

Barry Zito didn't get the win, but he did pitch 7 scoreless......I recorded an hour of video last night for the website Praying Mantis

Barry Zito didn't get the win, but he did pitch 7 scoreless innings and the Giants beat the Padres last night behind Benji Molina's pinch hit double in the 10th. I love Barry Zito for supporting the troops (one of my favorite causes) and Barry gets major points in my book for doing so. The Giants paid him a ton of money and so far he has looked like a bust, but you gotta hand it to him, he's coming back! Let's hope he regains his old Cy Young Award winning form real soon. Elsewhere, the Oakland A's lost to the big, bad Yankees in the new Yankee Stadium in New York. That place is turning out to be a real home run hitter's paradise, not exactly the "house that Ruth built" anymore.

Still no baby from my daughter Alexis! I called her 4 times yesterday! She said, "Dad, cool out! I'll call you when it happens!" I think I'm a little too excited.

There's a huge ice hockey game tonight in Anaheim. Down 2-1 in the series, the Sharks are running out of time. They don't have to win tonight, but if they don't, it will take 3 in a row to get them to the next level. I don't have to tell you, that's not easy! The Stanley Cup playoffs are one of the most exciting times in Sports, right up there with the World Series and the Super Bowl. The Sharks are up against the wall and let's hope they kick some ass tonight. The quest is to bring Lord Stanley's Cup to San Jose.

I recorded an hour of video last night for the website Praying Mantis section, but I didn't have the right cord to run the camera into my computer. It turns out that my camera is several years old and technology changes so fast these days that the connector to my camera is already obsolete! I'll have to find an adapter, it may take a few days! Yikes! I hope they don't hatch during this heat wave! I'm going to bring you every development in the Praying Mantis experiment this year. If you have kids, you might want to play along at home. It's a cool entomology experiment everybody can participate in. Plus, it's a great way to organically control pests in the garden. In fact, the Praying Mantis Eggs (oothea) are sold as natural pest control in nurseries and hardware stores all over the country.

Today I worked on the new Sharks song. It's coming along. Yes, I know it sounds a little like "Fortune Teller" written by Allen Toussaint, an old New Orleans R&B tune once recorded by the Stones, The Who, and the Hollies, but don't worry about it. We'll fix it in the mix!

Sharks win!........I am compiling a boxed set of Greg Kihn material

Sharks win! Sharks win! Sharks win! Sharks win! Sharks win! Sharks win! Sharks win! Sharks win! Sharks win! Sharks win! Yes! There WILL be a game five in San Jose!

Come on Sharks! Call me for the National Anthem in Game Five! I am good luck! The team needs me! Let me spread the love around the Shark Tank! This is way too important to leave to just any anthem singer. You need my LUCKY MOJO! Remember my record is 4-1. I'm waiting for the phone to ring. I won't budge until after game five. Ask Coach Todd McLellen, he'll tell you, it's time to quit messin' around.

No word on Lexi yet! I spoke to her a couple of times yesterday. She swears I will get a phone call the minute she goes into labor! I sure hope so! I'll drop everything and run to her side. I can't tell you as a father how much it means to me. More as it happens...

I am compiling a boxed set of Greg Kihn material from the last 20 years containing some greatest hits, odds and ends, unreleased nuggets, live cuts, out takes, Joe Satriani cuts, and acoustic tunes, plus some rare spoken word items, AND a DVD containing all the videos (and there are many) to be released later this year. I worked on the liner notes yesterday and they will be extensive. There's a ton a stuff in the can and I want to put out as much as possible. I'll let you know when its ready. This will be the ultimate GKB experience.

her baby had dropped!

I talked to my daughter yesterday and she told me that her baby had dropped! That means that it is in position for birth, which could happen at any time now. I'll be visiting her today. It goes without saying that the birth of my first grandchild is the most important event in the Kihn family these days. God bless the miracle of birth!

She doesn't want to know if its a boy or a girl, so in her ultrasound exam she asked not to be informed. I think that's so old fashioned and sweet! She says she doesn't care what sex the baby is, she'll love it either way. God bless her.

Names? Yes, she has a few picked out. I won't give you any clues here. But she's got one name for each sex already picked out. I suggested a bunch of Kihn family names, none of which she liked. I was pushing for my father's name- Stanley, or Stanislaus in Polish, or Stashu for short, or my mother's name- Jane. She didn't go for any of them. That's cool, it's her child, she can name it whatever she wants. I'll love it either way. If it's a boy, they want to name after her husband's father, which is a good strong name which I promised not reveal to you yet.

I'm expecting a phone call any time now! Wow, this is really exciting!

I will let you know the minute I find out! Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, April 20, 2009

John Madden retired? Holy Cow!

John Madden retired? Holy Cow! I guess we should have seen it coming, the guy makes so much money on his games that he really doesn't need to work. Last year I was negotiating with Wente Vineyards about buying some acreage planted with Cabernet grape vines in Livermore and I learned that John Madden had already made an offer on the property. In fact, I found out that he owned significant chunks of the Livermore Valley. The man has more money than God! Good for him. John is a once-in-a-lifetime talent who makes football oh-so-entertaining on TV. But, let's face it, the man hates to travel, can't stand airplanes, takes his bus everywhere, and already has enough money for the next couple of generations to live and retire comfortably. So, why am I grumbling? Because I will definitely miss him. Boom!

I think John Madden is the best football commentator ever, or at least since Howard Cosell. One of the reasons I am in radio today is because of some advice I got from John Madden about 16 years ago. We were at a charity event back in the 90's and I happen to sit next to him at the banquet. I mentioned that I had an offer from KFOX radio to do a 7-midnight show, but I wasn't 100% convinced I should do it. John got right in my face. "Do it! Someday, all DJ's will be ex-musicians," he said, "Just like sports. Who would know more about the music than a former professional musician?"

John's words rang true and I took his advice. That was over 16 years ago and here I am, still enjoying a career in radio that seems to have no end. Thanks, John. You probably don't remember it but it sure meant a lot to me.

Good-bye John Madden! TV football will never be the same. We'll miss you!