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Recent Articles and Notes about Quincy High School

Testing the Waters

By Holly Wagner

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

After a career in oceanography and meteorology, former Quincyan Roger Paul Huff has put it all together in a book about boating and the weather.

"Captain Bucko's Water & Weather Handbook" is Huff's third book, and his first about boating.

"It's essentially a book that draws upon my 21 years as an oceanographer and meteorologist," Huff said. "It's very comprehensive, but it has lots of little fast facts thrown in, trivial stuff interspersed so that it doesn't get dry."

Like the fact that the largest snowflake every recorded was 15 inches across and that the heaviest hailstones weighed were more than two pounds.

"Too many people continue to needlessly endanger themselves, their families, and friends because they do not know some basics about their natural environment," Huff said. "One of the reasons for (that) is that most other books on the subject are too darn boring for people to enjoy reading them."

Huff said he also wrote this book for his dad, Jack Huff.

"He has always been my hero," he said. "I wanted to prove to him that I was paying attention at least some of the time while I was growing up."

Although Huff's career has taken him from the Mediterranean to Micronesia, both on the water and under it, he has fond memories of growing up on the Mississippi River.

"I spent a lot of time on the river as a kid," he said. "There were the trips to Pete's Boathouse in La Grange (Mo.), sand bar parties, duck hunting, fishing, riding a towboat up from Hannibal (Mo.), and teaching a well-known Quincy attorney to water ski."

His first book, "Captain Bucko's Nauti-Words Handbook," is an entertaining introduction to the backgrounds of more than 800 nautical terms and common sayings. It also includes unusual photographs and graphics of nautical knots and sailing rigs.

His second, "Fresh Earthworms Taste Green," tells stories of his childhood and what it was like growing up in Quincy in the late 1940s and '50s.

After working as a Navy oceanographer and marine meteorologist, and 14 more years in information technology, Huff started writing for the recreational boating industry. He has published several textbooks and technical manuals, and continues to write feature articles for Boating, Heartland Boating and Great Lakes Boating magazine.

"This would be a shock for my Quincy High teachers," he said. "My answers to essay test questions were usually a little too succinct (a.k.a. short) for their tastes. I thought that some classical authors would never get to the point."

Huff said his book explains scientific and technical principles in an interesting and easy-to-read manner.

"Predicting the weather is a lot like cooking over an open fire," he said.
"Most people think they are better at it than they actually are."

The book includes some "insider information" about professional weather predictions, and includes some tips for making one's own forecasts, as well as answers to such questions as what is a reversing rapid, where one might run into a witch of November, how hot water gets in nature, whether humid or dry air is heavier, and whether the greenhouse effect is all bad.

Copies of "Captain Bucko's Water & Weather Handbook" is available at Waldenbooks in the Quincy Mall, and may be ordered online at, or directly from the publisher by calling (877) 288-4737 or via their Web site at

Contact Staff Writer Holly Wagner at
(217) 221-3374 or

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