About The Duckman

I was a pretty scrawny egg, pretty much out of the nest early in life…

Most of my life-story can be gleaned from my project ManHusbandDad, so I won’t rehash it here. Let’s sum it up by saying I grew up in a broken home, qualified as poor by any objective or governmental measure while growing up, was a heathen through my early twenties and became a forgiven heathen at the ripe age of 27.

That brings us to right before the show went off the air in 1995. At least I think so, unless I find an old tape from a show after April 15, 1995…

Since then I married our most faithful flock follower, our Babydoll, Beth Novak. Beth was always listening to our show – I think she liked me – and we played Babydoll by Laurie Anderson off the Strange Angels album for her. She asked me to marry her on December 4, 1995, and I said yes, as long as we agreed to always have at least one of us home with the kids, home school, and get a blessing for our marriage from her parents, my sister, and my Grandmother. That all fell into place and here we are, almost twenty years later.

That happy day was November 9, 1996. Yes, you can send chocolates.

Beth is the love of my life, and my proudest accomplishment is that she wears my Grandmother’s diamond. It feels weird calling her ”Beth” because I call her “Mama” all the time now…and did even before The Boyz came along starting three years after our wedding. I got that name from an old Amway tape by George and Ruth Halsey. George always called Ruth “Mama” and it seemed perfect for Beth.

Yes, we were in Amway. I am proud to say I got my 1000 pin four hours before the company went to the Quixtar model, on August 31, 1999 – my in-laws anniversary which, yes, I remember! – …so we did it the old-fashioned way: Door to door. We left the system less than a year after that.

Not long after that I lost the sight in my left eye due to my transgressions during college. As a diabetic, you really can’t live the lifestyle I did in college and expect no consequences. I’ll be dealing with those consequences for the rest of my life – but they are my doing and nobody else is to blame. I was recovering from unsuccessful retina surgery when the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001. I was officially incurable of that blindness on December 4, 2001 when the doctor said he couldn’t do anything more after three surgeries. This was six years to the day after Beth proposed to me.

I am a Conservative, which is a far cry from my atheist liberal days when I lived in Austin before moving to 100 miles east and attending Texas A&M. I have no party affiliation in my politics, though in 2010 I was a campaign manager for a Congressional campaign and also a prolific blogger, with nearly twenty thousand daily readers just in Central Texas alone. That blogging taught me that the parties were not much different and it was all about keeping power to them – not doing what is right for America.

I’m sure we’ll touch on that here and there during the show, so I won’t go into it here. My one constant struggle is whether to regret or celebrate the day I was so angry at the system that I dismantled and eliminated my blog and all the articles – there were some good ones in there of which I think The Boyz would be proud.

My greatest accomplishment is accepting and embracing Jesus Christ. If you listen to the show now or way back when, you know I’m a bit of a thinker and don’t just go off half-cocked about things. It took me years of study to find a reason to believe, and then faith and grace were waiting for me as soon as I accepted it. I have had a personal, physical experience with the Living God, and no amount of argument will convince me that He isn’t real, isn’t active in our lives, and doesn’t love us. He is and He does. I’m pretty confident I am preaching to the choir here, unless you’re my Brother-In-Law.

Chris and I will have some tugs-of-war occasionally on appropriate content for the show, mainly because of our lifestyles. Chris is a Christian as well, so we have limits, but he is a single man and I am married with children. What he listens to or says without thinking twice I may not be able to if I want to be able to look my Boyz in the eye and have credibility on teaching them each how to be Men, and Husbands and Dads if they discern that vocation.

I love my boys dearly. They are the beginning of a whole new family tree – The Kristofer Cowles Family. I am the only one in two generations – mine and my father’s – to be married more than twelve years and the generation before that stayed married but lived apart.

Mine are Godly children. We have home schooled them from day one, and one of us has always been at home with them – except for three extremely painful months in 2008 – and it’s been me for the last seven years.

I am a work at home Dad.

I spent a long time growing and developing a company that would create residual income for my family and me – no, not Amway! – and it does enough to give me great flexibility in what I do while at the same time allowing Mama to pursue her professional vocation as a Director of Religious Education for our Catholic parish. Frankly, I think Duck Soup In A Dawg Bowl will monetize some day and I will bring home most of the bacon, but right now Mama does that to the tune of about 60% to my 40% each month.

And I’m okay with that – because it lives up to our commitment made before I said “Yes” to her when she asked me to marry her. Those three conditions were met and continue to be met every day. They are a significant portion of our foundation.

So on the show I’m going to be a little different than I was in 1995 – mostly because I know what I’m doing now and, more importantly why I am doing it and who I am supposed to be while I’m doing it. That only happened recently, if you look at the ManHusbandDad site carefully.

I’m excited about the show. Chris and I have talked about it for several years, and finally decided to pull the trigger over Christmas in 2015. We set the goal to do it by March 1, and we got pretty close – we were delayed only by an unexpected change in Maddawg’s travel itinerary for his day job. But what pleased me most was just how easily we got into the groove again running the show with our first one, Don’t You Forget About Us. We didn’t practice. We had no clue what music we would play, and we certainly had no idea we would have call-ins, let alone how we would handle them. All this with a 21-year hiatus.

Chris is more than my business partner or on-air sidekick. He is more than my best friend – and he is one of only two of those that I have.

He is my brother. And, again, only one of two I have.

You can read on ManHusbandDad about how family for me from a blood perspective barely exists – but maybe you should start here. I laud those who are family from the perspective of doing and being what family is when they aren’t physically related. When you read those words I use, I’m thinking of Maddawg and my other brother, Daren.

I’ve gone so far as to say when I die, Chris and Mama need to get married. I’ve told them both that.

Some people think I’m kidding. Of course, Maddawg would need to become Catholic first…but he’s pretty close to that point so it wouldn’t take much.

Before I get too mushy let me leave you with the one thing everyone wants to know (none of what I say above is anything you really cared about, right?):

How did I get the name Duckman?

When I moved to College Station, Texas in August of 1991, I was dating a girl who lived on campus. She had a roommate who had a boyfriend named Peter England. Ironically, he was an English major as was I at the time, but that has nothing to do with the story. Anyhoo…

One windy day, probably in the Spring of 1992 (No later for sure)I was walking my girlfriend back to her dorm (I hesitate to say her name because when I’m rich and famous one day I want plausible deniability so she can’t suck the money out of me!). It was really windy. I mean, really windy.

Flashback: I had, just after I moved to town, found somebody to cut my hair the way I wanted it. His name is Rubin and still cuts my hair and, for the most part, still does it the same way. And, yes, I still get it colored on occasion. Rubin and I have grown old together. And, yes, he’s as gay as the day is long and I love him. If only all people were as decent as he is…

But I digress. When I went to Rubin to have him cut my hair, I was totally infatuated with Erasure and wanted my hair to look like Andy Bell’s. So I showed Rubin the picture from the Wild! album insert. And I said, “I want my hair to look like this:”

erasure wild album art

Andy’s the one on the right.

So, back to the windy day…

Usually, my hair looked just like Andy’s. But by the end of the day – which this was – and on a windy day of walking across campus – which it was and I had – and three months since my last haircut so things were longer – which it was and they were – the gel and whatever other goop was in it had pretty much disappeared. Truth be told, if it hadn’t been windy it would have looked a lot like Donald Trump’s hair (and, yes, I voted for him in the primary…but not because of the hair.).

But it WAS windy.

And that’s where Peter (remember him?) comes in.

When my girlfriend and I walked into her dorm room, her roommate was there, along with Peter. I can see him now as I tell you this, standing near the back of the room, putting down his backpack.

As we walked in, he stood up, turned toward the door and, looking right at my hair protruding above my forehead – windblown and unkempt – he said, “Hey, Ducky!”

I looked at him like, “Huh?” and said, “Um, why’d you call me that?”

And he said…

“Because your hair looks like a duck’s butt.”

From that moment on, I was called Duckman. All because of a windy day and a girlfriends’ roommate’s boyfriend.

He was no stranger though…we actually were roommates ourselves for half a year the next year…

So, no fraternity joke or awesome bonding experience that makes me the Duckman. Just, as it still does (thanks to Rubin’s great craftsmanship!), my hair and a windy day making it look like a duck’s butt.

You should be so lucky! Or Ducky!

And that’s me, the Duckman, in a nutshell. The rest you have to learn by listening…or ask in the comments below.

Thanks for listening. We have fun doing the show, but knowing there’s one listener kept us going every week for almost two years more than two decades ago, so, if you’re that one listener, don’t underestimate how important you are!

And don’t forget to read the Maddawg’s bio…

Oh, one more thing: Yes, I really do know all that stuff about music. Mama puts up with it – I can name that tune in less than one beat, let alone note, on the Radio AND tell you who wrote it, sang it, album and covers…let alone cover art – when we are in the car all the time. I used to tell her I have all this useless information in my head so that maybe it will make us lots of money one day. I dunno…maybe the show will take off… I was a Mobile DJ for a long time. You have to know this stuff. Or at least you had to until Wikipedia came along… Mostly now I just do it to impress the Maddawg…and annoy my children.

Though it does come in handy as I teach Music Appreciation as a home school subject…