Archive for August, 2006

A Bluegrass Documentary

Since I got the new Beta version of Blogger, it doesn’t appear to want to let me put You Tubes up so I’ll just have to do it the old fashioned way and use a link.

As you are probably wo’ out from hearing, Mr. Smiff and the Grascals have a new cd out this week. A mini-documentary was done on the making of the cd. It is very cool. Features Dierks Bentley, Lloyd Green, The Jordanaires and some guy named George. Go watch it. As usual, there’s not enough Mr. Smiff but he shows up. So does that damn dog of Dierks’. I swear, Jake the Dog got more face time than Mr. Smiff. It was more the Jimmy Mattingly Show than anything.

The best part is when George is cutting his stuff and the guys reaction in the control room.

Pro Blogging?

Who wants to enlighten one almost unemployed blogger-type about the ins and outs, pros and cons of being a professional blogger?

Anything the WonderDawg and Lindsey suggest to me is worth checking on cause theys edjucated people.

Seriously, any of y’all that have knowledge about this…do shoot me an email.

Due To Restructuring….

It was not surprising, however, it was a little bit of a weird jolt to be informed about an hour ago that my position is being eliminated. I’m sitting there with the boss, his boss and the head of HR, and it’s like in a movie where somebody’s talking and you don’t hear them. It was odd. It’s not a reflection of my performance…blah blah….I know that….but I’m sitting there thinking “What in the HELL am I going to do?”

Now, I can go for the several months off with pay thing but I will have to find a job after that. They are actively looking to find me something else in the company, which is fine. I’ve been at this company for almost 10 years. It’s not a perfect place and it’s not the work I’d miss there, but, the people. You develop a family at your work when you’ve been there a long time.

So it’s official that Sista Smiff is on the job market. Maybe I oughta look into that opening over at the Mothership.

Young Love

The gentleman lovingly holding the infant was announced this morning as one of the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
It is about. Damn. Time.
Sonny James is one of the bonafide greats in country music. Until Alabama came along and broke his record, he held the record for most consecutive number one records for years and years. (I think it was something like 21).
For the record, that is not me Sonny is holding. That is my sister. We have home movies of this particular moment and I wish I were technologically up to date that I could put it on the blog. It is one of the sweetest things you’d ever want to see. The film has him singing to her, rocking back and forth…very sweet especially considering how back in the OLD days, when this was taken, men didn’t mess with newborn babies much and Sonny has never had children of his own. This was at my parents house in California in 1966. Whoops..told her age. At least she can’t accuse me of putting a non-cute picture of her up here.

A Shout For Eddie

I’m sitting here listening to Sirius and their traditional country station, “The Roadhouse.” They play good stuff, mostly. I’m intrigued that they are playing Eddie Rabbitt’s “Driving My Life Away” and what’s so funny is that in 2006, that is considered “traditional” country. When that thing came out in the early 80’s, it played like crazy on Top 40 radio. Nothing traditonally country about it. Just funny to me how perspectives change.

I do like that song. I remember when it came out, my sister LOVED it. We used to record songs from the radio to our little tape recorder. This was before we had stereos and decent stuff to record to.

Eddie was probably the first and only Nashville country act that was born in Brooklyn, New York. His daddy was an Irish immigrant who played the fiddle. It’s kinda sad to me that Eddie is one people seemingly have forgotten about. Eddie died of lung cancer in 1998 and he was not an old man. He had a string of hits a mile long…some I liked better than others. He really did nothing for traditional country music. However, he found him a formula and traditonaled himself all the way to the bank. I was always partial to his “Two Dollars In The Jukebox”…not bad country singing for a boy from Brooklyn.

For some reason, hearing him on the radio made me a little sad and I felt like remembering Eddie Rabbitt today.

Pardon Me, Mitch

I had the fun opportunity to get to visit and hang with part of the Channel 2 crew tonight at the Station Inn. I happened to see Mitch Roberts milling around and I said howdy and he sat with Yours Truly and the Smiff Kids and didn’t seem to be too frightened by us.

That Mitch is a nice feller. He said he had been to Chuck E. Cheese earlier in the evening with his little ones and because he was somewhat shellshocked from that experience, he had to get out and hear some music. I think he made a wise choice in choosing to come hear the Grascals.

Being a quasi-singer/musician type myself, I think I have some sort of radar in spotting others who play and sing that you don’t know play and sing. Mitch had that 6th sense thing about him that kind of tipped me off that perhaps he is a music guy and I was correct. Part of why he moved here from Las Vegas was to do the music thing.

Mitch isn’t the first Channel 2 guy to be a singer/musician in their other life. Seems Davis Nolan plays and who remembers Brian Christie, who was the Singing Weatherman back in the 70’s??? Brian ended up being on CNN and is in San Diego now, but, he had a little notoriety way back in his Channel 2 days when Lamar Alexander went into office a little early, tossing out Ray Blanton. He wrote and performed a song called “Pardon Me Ray”which I believe was to the tune of “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

Good times…great music. Crappy Governor.

Cruising With The Ceester

We know our buddy CeeElCee has just returned from yet another exotic trip…this time on a cruise. Turns out, my co-worker Andrea was on the very same boat with Uncle Cee. Apparently, she didn’t run into him on this trip. CLC was doing nothing but business on this trip….and it’s also understandable since Uncle Cee is an old guy of 40 and these are young, 20 somethings…they weren’t exactly running at the same pace. CLC probably couldn’t make it for the Midnight Buffet.

Still, it’s a small world.

Stuck In Lodi Again

My pal, MaryE of Travels With MaryE, is a talented writer and photographer. She wanders here and there, all over the world and is good enough to share of her many adventures.
MaryE took this photo of Mr. Smiff this past weekend in Lodi, NY. Incase you can’t tell (it took me a second) that is Mr. Smiff’s face through the bridge of Mike Bub’s bass. Mike is formerly of the Del McCoury Band and was playing with David Peterson and 1946 this weekend.

Very cool. Thank you, MaryE.

The Sickly Governor

Did you see the Guvna’s press conference? Bless his heart…he was looking right poorly still. He’s very thin and pale…eyes sunk in his head. His voice sounded weak but he claimed to feel “great” today. Whatever he had or has…it has had him whipped. Poor guy. It makes me want to cover myself in tick repellent.

They were asking him all kinds of questions about why he didn’t do this or that and he finally told them that yes, he’s an elected official but everybody wants some sort of privacy. I was thinking he had something terribly wrong with him like cancer or Lou Gehrig’s or something. They even tested our Governor for Parvo! Apparently, they still don’t know what the exact problem was.

Remember when the news people talked about Jimmy Carter’s hemorroid journey and Ronald Reagan’s prostate cancer procedure? I wouldn’t want Demetria Kalidomos or even worse, that homely Greta Van Susteren, discussing my latest pap smear and I bet CLC would not want Neil Orne or Katie Couric describing his recent testing experience.

The Governor’s biggest concern was getting better in time for his son’s wedding this weekend. I hope he’ll be in good shape to toast his only child’s marriage and I’m glad he appears to be on the road to getting better.

Shameless Plugs

The Grascals new cd releases tomorrow so there is a lot of activity and publicity going on surrounding that. I’ve been writing about them a lot lately and probably will even more this week so y’all bear with me. I don’t get a paycheck from them or anything….

At 9 central this morning, you can hear them on WSM with Bill Cody. That’s 650 on your am dial if you are local or you can go here to hear it.

The Station Inn is tomorrow night and I’m told you better get there early if you want a seat. They usually fill the place up and being tomorrow is the release party/premiere, it may be even more crowded. When so many get into the Station they have to lock the doors for fire regulations so if you want to come, get there early and let me know if you’re coming so I can look for you. (That is, if I can get a seat).

The cd is getting some great reviews. Rich Kienzele gave it a whopping one and it’s on the “reviews” part of their webpage.

Unadvisable Things To Say To Sista Smiff on a Sunday Night

A conversation was held in my home earlier this evening, about ten til 7… that went something like this:

#1 Son-Uh, Mom….we have this assignment where we have to make a car that’s balloon powered with wheels made out of something other than wheels.

Mom-(In best June Cleaver/Carol Brady) Well, that’s interesting, Son. When is this due?

#1Son-Tomorrow.

Mom-What?!?!?!! Tomorrow?!?!?!?!

#1 Son-I told you about it today while we were at El Rodeo.

Mom did not recollect any of this conversation. I mean, a crowded, Mexican restaurant on a Sunday after church is not the best place to inform your mother of something like this….am I right here? I don’t keep balloons lying around the house. We don’t have many water balloon fights around these parts.

#1 must get this from his aunt who when in 2nd grade, waited until the night before to let my mother know she needed a turkey costume…the next day. Difference in that is she was in 2nd grade…this is a high school freshman who has his sights set on a Vanderbilt college education.

All the moms with little tots with their sippy cups and naps, feeling exhausted….I wish I could tell you it gets easier and you are less fatigued and worn out when they have their own razors and learners permits. I have found it to be the exact opposite. I didn’t know how good I had it when they were little.

Plane Crashes-More Than Just Numbers


All the news outlets are reporting the Comair plane crash in Lexington, Kentucky, this morning. It’s not really looking good as far as survivors go.

This is so reminiscent for me of the American Eagle crash of October 31, 1994, in Roselawn, Indiana. You might remember this crash. It got a lot of publicity. It was a similar kind of plane that went down in Lexington….commuter. The plane was circling, waiting to land in Chicago and ice got on the wings, taking it down, killing all 64 people aboard.

One of the people aboard the plane was my cousin, Mandy. Mandy was one of the flight attendants, having just completed her training, the illfated flight was her first unsupervised. She had just graduated from college in the spring of 1994. She was a beautiful, intelligent young woman who had her whole life ahead of her. She was also an only child.

It’s a weird way to lose somebody. I remember the night the accident happened thinking they were going to find her. She was going to turn up on another plane somewhere and we would all rejoice and laugh how we thought she was dead, but, now she was alive. It didn’t happen that way. It was so weird to have the scene on the television, them talking about how they hadn’t recovered victims…knowing that our Mandy was out there in a field somewhere. It was a nightmare.

We see stuff like plane crashes and they’ll tell us how many died, but, they’re just numbers to most of us. Each number represents hundreds of family members, close friends, co-workers….my heart hurts for all of these families.

I often wonder what Mandy would be doing now. She’d be 35 years old…she had studied broadcast journalism in school, but, had a childhood dream of being an airline attendant that she had to get out of her system first. She was such a natural beauty, television would’ve loved her. I’m sure whatever she had ended up doing, she’d have been extremely succesful at. She had a diva-like quality to her…a hard headedness….yeah…she’d have done well at whatever she chose.

Twelve years later and she’s still wildly missed.

A Piece of the Pie The fine folks at TVLand have …

A Piece of the Pie

The fine folks at TVLand have wonderfully seen fit to start showing “The Jeffersons.” I love this show. It’s just funny.

The Jeffersons theme song, “Movin’ On Up” is, I guess, my very favorite tv show theme song. I used to think, when I was a kid, that it was Sherman Helmsley singing harmony part to Janet Dubois’ (aka Wilona on “Good Times”) lead, but, it isn’t.

I love how George struts into the building. Ah…what a great show. They don’t make them like this anymore.

What’s your favorite tv show theme song?

The Post That Is Just Plain Corny

I received a rather interesting Evite in my email this morning, as did my fellow listers on the Bluegrass-L. It is an invite to a pickin’ party and “Cornhole Tournament.”

Now, I don’t get out much. I go to work and herd my kids. I try to keep up with all that’s hot and happening in the world, but, Cornhole is something that has not yet crossed my radar until this morning.

There is a website that explains the sport/art of Cornholing. It appears a bunch of intoxicated people try to throw a bag of corn into a hole.

I doubt I can coerce Mr. Smiff to go by with me and check this thing out. I might just have to run by there and see without him, if he won’t go.

Have any of y’all any experience Cornholing?

Hey Sista…What’s For Supper?

In July 1998, right after #2 was born, my dear friends, The Johnson’s, being the good Baptists and all around good people they are, made us some Chicken Spaghetti. It was some kind of good. They also brought us some wonderful, garlic bread and salad to go with it. Ever since, I’ve been trying to find a recipe that was like Sarah’s. Turns out, it was under my nose the whole time.

This particular recipe belongs to singer Chalee Tennison and it is featured in Hazel’s cookbook “Hazel’s Hot Dish, Cooking With Country Stars.

Even though the recipe is Chalee’s, it reminds me of the lady who first made it for us, Sarah Johnson, who passed away last December. She was a fantastic cook and a fantastic lady that I miss a lot.

Speaking of Hazel’s Hot Dish, she is on QVC, the next couple days selling the book. I don’t know the times she’s on. If you’re into that, just look for her the next couple days.

Chicken Spaghetti
1 hen
2 7 oz packages of spaghetti
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
3 large onions
1 cup celery
1/2 lb grated cheese
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Boil hen until tender. Remove meat from bone and cut up. Skim fat from broth and reserve. Cook spaghetti in 2 quarts broth for 5 minutes. Brown onions, green pepper, and celery in 3 tablespoons of skimmed fat. Add spaghetti, chicken, mushroom soup, chili powder, and tomato sauce. Cook on low heat very slowly for an hour. Mix in part of the cheese and pour into a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and bake a few minutes until the cheese melts. This is SO good!!!