The Brown Cow Club, 17 Million Members Strong

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comI have excellent news.

According to a recent survey by a trade group for the US dairy industry, 7 percent of American adults think chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

You probably saw this last week, because the news outlets all went nuts over it.

Everyone seemed to be appalled that nearly 17 million grownups don’t know how we get chocolate milk.

I’m not appalled, though. In fact, I feel just the opposite. I think it is fabulous, because this news makes me feel better about myself. It should make us all feel better about ourselves.

We can take heart that we are brighter than at least 17 million people — which is only 2 million shy of the population of New York State.

That is a lot of people. A lot.

Imagine being ranked by intelligence, looking behind you and seeing 17 million people back there. What an ego boost that would be.

I didn’t see the rest of the survey results, but I am curious as to what else these people think.

Maybe milkshakes come from cows in Minnesota in the winter.

Hot chocolate comes from cows in south Georgia.

Heavy cream comes from chubby cows.

Non-dairy creamer comes from fake cows.

White Russians come from cows on their 21st birthday.

Skim milk comes from skinny cows.

Retired cows make Milk of Magnesia in their spare time.

I wonder how long the members of the brown cow club think a cow has to jump on a trampoline in order to make whipping cream?

I also wonder what kind of milk they think those Chick-fil-A cows stuck up on those billboards produce?

“Hey, Myrtle, why does the milk have black spots in it and taste like chicken?”

Coconut milk does come from coconuts, so if that question was on the survey, they might have gotten it right. But I wonder if they think coconut farmers have to get up at 4 a.m., to milk them?

When I was in Future Farmers of America back in high school, I was on the cattle judging team. I had no business being on a cattle judging team, but I studied and tried my best.

To the best of my recollection, the team consisted of four members. We learned about different breeds of cattle, and how their physical features determined their value.

We and similar teams from other schools in the county went to somebody’s farm and observed cows. 

Think of it as a cow beauty contest, minus the questions about world peace.

We didn’t win, but we did better than some of the teams. But even the worst member on the worst team surely didn’t think chocolate milk came from chocolate cows.

I wonder what else these 17 million people believe?

I’ve always thought a few people made it into adulthood still thinking dogs are boys and cats are girls. I’ll bet the brown cow club has a few of these people in its ranks.

The members of the brown cow club walk among us. I think it’s important we identify them.

Here is an easy way to expose them.

The next time you think you may be in the presence of one, tell them you swallowed a watermelon seed last week.

If they automatically manhandle you and begin performing the Heimlich Maneuver on you, they may be trying to dislodge the watermelon that is surely growing in your stomach.

I don’t mean to sound cynical, I really don’t. But, chocolate milk from brown cows?

It’s udderly ridiculous.

Beware the Ivy of March

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comIn my backyard sits an old bed sheet with a heaping pile of pulled weeds on it.

It’s been there for 9 days. It has endured a couple of rains and even a snow.

It needs to be dragged down by the road for the public works truck to pick up, but no one in my family is probably going near it any time soon.

This pile consists of last year’s dead day lilies, some blackberry stalks and various other weeds.

And somewhere in all those tangles lurks the meanest poison ivy vine the world has ever known.

Mother nature spent all winter breeding this weapon of mass destruction, and take a wild guess where she decided to test it out.

This new strain of killer weed must be invisible; neither Kim nor I ever saw it. On the other hand, we didn’t know we needed to be on the lookout for poison ivy during the first week of March.

We worked for a couple of hours. When I came in, I thoroughly rinsed my hands and arms. It felt so refreshing, I rinsed my face. I rubbed it thoroughly with my hands, then I rubbed it some more with a paper towel.

I didn’t realize I was saturating every square inch of my bare skin with poison ivy oil.

I’ve had poison ivy plenty times in my life. Always before, the symptoms were rows of little clear blisters on my arms or legs. They’re a temporary annoyance more than anything else — never a whole lot worse than mosquito bites.

Not this time.

It took two days after my run-in before the blisters started appearing on my arms. A day later, the rash broke out on my nose, cheek, chin and neck. That’s also when my eyes began to swell.

By the fourth day, my face looked like I had been sparring with Floyd Mayweather. My left eye was swollen to the point that I could see my own eyelid from the inside.

Both arms had several beet-colored, half-dollar-sized blotches.

Kim came away with some, too. She got it on her arms and even a little patch on her forehead. I rarely beat her at anything, but I won the poison ivy challenge in a runaway.

I finally gave in and sought professional help because calamine lotion was only making this stuff mad and more ornery.

The doctor sent me home with 14 days worth of pills, a $100 tube of ointment and a package of cookies.

The cookies, actually, were my idea. When one goes to the doctor, that person deserves a treat. For the record, it was a toss-up between Oreos and army men.

Naturally, I felt the need to explain myself to everyone I saw. More than once I sensed someone thinking, “Why won’t this hideous, one-eyed man stop talking to me?”

My face looks better now, but it’s not completely back to normal. My eye still itches. I don’t think the blotches on my arms will ever heal, even after one Benjamin Franklin amount of ointment.

Every time Kim tells the story to someone she says, “I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture. I should’ve taken a picture.” I’m a little concerned by how much she wanted to preserve the hideousness. 

Poison ivy isn’t contagious, which is the good news.

The bad news is, the oil from the plant stays on whatever it touches for a long time. I threw away my trusty White Mule gloves I’ve had for probably 30 years.

I used the nuclear holocaust setting on the washer for my clothes, and I’m still afraid to touch them.

Then there’s the problem of that pile in the backyard. Public works runs again in 3 days, so I have some time to figure out how I’m going to get it to the road.

Regardless of what I do, I’ll be cautious. I don’t want new army men that badly.

Graceland: A Step Back in Time – or History

music musings, beaverdamusa.comFirst, I must apologize for the delay between blogs. I could blame it on the Russians, the time change, or the March snow-pocalypse we just had.  But then again, I could tell the truth and let you know I had writer’s block.  My web host has docked my pay accordingly.

(Photos at the end!)

A few weeks ago, my beautiful bride and I went to Memphis for a quick overnight getaway.  Since I live in Middle Tennessee, it takes a lot to get me to Memphis.  I will muse about the primary purpose in the next blog (that is called a tease), but I want to devote this installment to a by-product of our trip.

We took a step back in time and history before we left Memphis – we went to Graceland.  Yep – went to Elvis’s house.  Plopped down about $50 each and it was worth it.  The whole tour was very organized and easy to navigate.  At first, we took a shuttle bus across the street to the actual house itself and were given iPads with headphones to listen to John Stamos narrate your tour, along with pictures and additional photos and visual aids. After the house tour, you could tour a museum with his cars and even go on his two planes.  Below are the quick hits on the whole experience:

  • The house was not overwhelming in size.  It was probably big for its time, but compared to today’s McMansions, it was small.
  • It was like stepping back in time.  The furnishings were exactly as they were as the day he died in 1977 from the green percolator to the shag carpet.
  • The upstairs was considered private when he was alive, so the tour did not go upstairs out of respect.
  • The kitchen was small.  Really small.  
  • The grounds were beautiful with horses and a huge barn.  Elvis loved riding horses when he was home.
  • He built a large building in the backyard just to house a racquetball court.
  • The jungle room lived up to its reputation – maybe the missus and I could convert one of the kids’ room into a jungle room when they move out.
  • The largest plane included a dining room, bedroom, den, and galley.  Everything was covered in plastic.  Creepy.
  • The car museum was great.  It contained some of his original cars, including the Stutz Bearcat he drove the day he died.  It also contained a lot of “toys” like golf carts, tractors, and a snowmobile that had wheels instead of tracks so he could use it in the yard.
  • They had converted one of the buildings into a room with all sorts of memorabilia like receipts for building the pool, Lisa Marie’s (daughter) crib, Elvis and Priscilla’s wedding outfits, etc.  
  • The house and grounds were right in the middle of a neighborhood with houses right next to it.  Wonder if Elvis’s neighbors hollered across the fence “hey, want to snag a beer and grill?”
  • The graves were right there in the back yard.  The area around his parents and Elvis’s graves was very solemn – not a lot of talking.  
  • Throughout the tour, it was obvious that Elvis loved and revered his mother.

I was 13 years old when Elvis died.  I remember watching some of his specials on TV, but his mainstream popularity was waning and he was probably destined to a residency in Vegas and then maybe even Branson.  The number of people who remember Elvis is dwindling and it made me wonder how much longer the crowds will go to Graceland.  The mobs of girls who swooned and screamed when he shook his hips are dizzy for different reasons now.  

If you ever get a chance, I would recommend taking a step back in time and visit Graceland.  Who knows, you may like shag carpet.

As I mentioned, the next musing will be about the primary reason for the Memphis visit – “g” is your clue.

Musing about Memphis

Zach

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Look! You Never See That in the Neighborhood

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comOn our way home from the office one evening last December, a herd of deer — probably 10 or more — meandered across the road in front of the car right smack dab in the middle of our neighborhood.

It was a rare and unusual sight, but it didn’t hold a candle to what I saw on the way home yesterday.

I know you’re probably thinking I’m going to say Elvis or a UFO or the police SWAT team trying to talk someone off the roof.

This wasn’t anything like that. As I rounded a curve I saw a bunch of kids playing soccer in a vacant field.

There must have been 12 of them — maybe 15.

It didn’t hit me initially, then I started trying to remember the last time I saw kids outside playing a pick-up ballgame of any kind. I couldn’t. 

Our ever-growing reliance on technology has replaced the ball and bat, and I don’t understand how anyone could see that as a good thing.

When I was growing up, the kids in my neighborhood and I engaged in at least one pick-up game of football, basketball or baseball just about every day. We were born before the soccer generation.

We showed up, we chose up sides, and we played until our tongues hung out of our parched mouths.

We had access to organized youth sports, but I much preferred doing it this way. Our uniforms were shirts and skins. We didn’t have a schedule to stick on the refrigerator. Nobody’s dad was a volunteer coach, and nobody’s mom brought snacks. We didn’t have a team outing to the cheapest pizza buffet in town at the end of the season, because the season never ended.

Scraped knees and elbows were our participation ribbons.

The lessons we learned were invaluable.

We learned sportsmanship. In baseball, we shared our glove with someone on the other team if he didn’t have his own, or if his was being used as second base.

We had no officials, obviously. So we had to learn to compromise. This was usually punctuated by the team losing the argument saying, “Let the babies have it,” but it was compromise none the less.

We learned at least enough responsibility to know to go home when the streetlights came on.

We learned tolerance. If the most annoying kid in the neighborhood was the one who owned the football, then he was tolerated. And if he played his cards right, sometimes he even got to play quarterback.

We learned that wounds of all types eventually heal, and bruises fade from purple to green to yellow before disappearing completely and being quickly forgotten.

I don’t remember if we actually ever said, “rub some dirt on it,” but we had hundreds of opportunities.

We learned time management, which meant cutting the yard early in the morning before the game commenced.

I think the main thing we learned is sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. And sometimes you just have to agree to disagree about who won and who lost.

There was always a tomorrow. There was always another game.

We were healthy, we were skinny, we were tanned, and we were happy.

Kids today are missing that experience. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good video game. In fact, we had video games — and other indoor activities like board games and cards — back in those days, too.

That’s what we did when it rained or if it was so cold the basketball turned to stone.

Although I could, I am not going to go on some big, long rant about kids these days spending too much time locked in their bedrooms in the dark staring at a screen.

I just don’t understand why it is more fun to play a game on a computer than in real life.

I would give just about anything for one more day in that vacant lot. I miss it.

Those kids playing soccer yesterday will miss it one day, too. And they’ll be glad they had it.

A Loaf of White Bread, Because it’s My Birthday

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comMy birthday is right around the corner, and I know exactly what I want.

A loaf of white bread.

I know, I know. You were probably expecting me to say world peace, reduced greenhouse gas emissions or a Tennessee Vol defense that allows fewer than 700 yards per game.

That’s the stuff dreams are made of all right, but I am making it easy on my loved ones this year.

Of course, I need a pair of a shoes, but what fun is that? It’s my birthday. I should get something I want — not something I need.

And all I want is a loaf of white bread. Here’s why.

The other night, I saw a bottle of Karo Light Corn Syrup at one of my favorite restaurants, which triggered a childhood memory.

When I was growing up, we had dessert after every meal. Usually it was cake or pie. Sometimes it might be pudding or ice cream. On those rare occasions when we didn’t have a dessert sitting around, we improvised.

My favorite improvisation was what we called Karo and bread.

Daddy would give everyone a piece of white bread, butter it, cut it into nine pieces like a tic-tac-toe board and pour Karo syrup on it.

It was sweet, creamy and sticky. It was delicious. It was delightful.

I would eat the four corner pieces first to get them out of the way because they had the most crust. Then I would eat the four remaining outside pieces, saving the center piece for last. It was the one with the most butter, the most syrup and no crust.

Nowadays in our house, we eat whole wheat bread, just like all other good health-conscious folks. Karo and bread doesn’t translate to whole wheat bread.

It’s my birthday. I get to make one exception.

Besides, one loaf of white bread won’t kill me. I probably won’t even eat all of it.

I fully believe my request will trigger your generosity, which certainly is already buckling under the weight of all this Christmas spirit.

So, in order to keep bread truck after bread truck from lining up down my street, and thereby making my neighbors mad at me, I have made a list of alternative birthday gifts I will also happily accept.

  • a gallon of whole milk. I dearly love milk, and I drink skim like it’s going out of style. But let’s face it, when I slather up that white bread with butter and Karo syrup, I’m going to need whole milk to wash it down. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to go all the way.
  • plugs that work either way you put them in the receptacle. I’m convinced I get it wrong about 99 out of a hundred times.
  • the fortitude to delete the old emails in my inbox which have no chance of never being relevant again.
  • someone to help me eat the super economy-size cereal I bought last week. I’m the only one in the house who eats cereal, which means I should’ve passed by it at Sam’s Club the other night. But I was hungry, and I just couldn’t. So I now have a double-wide box with two huge bags filled with cereal. I’ve been eating on it daily and have barely made a dent in it. 
  • a helium-filled hula hoop. I tried hula hooping the other day — 40 years too late, apparently.

I make this silly list to illustrate the point that like most of you, I don’t really need any more material things. In fact, I would love to downsize.

Just give me a celebratory meal, and I’ll be happy.

And for dessert, you already know what I fully intend to have.

Only You Know How to Define a Tragedy

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.com(Note: This column was written before tornadoes struck Southeast Tennessee earlier this week, which is why they are not referenced.)

What is a tragedy?

I have asked myself that question many times since January 28, 1986. That was the day space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds into flight, killing all seven crew members on board.

I’ve referenced this story before, because it marked a turning point in my development as an adult. It forced me to think about things outside my own little world.

I was sitting in a journalism class at The University of Tennessee when the news of the Challenger explosion came over the Associated Press news wire.

As the professor discussed this story and how it should be handled, my mind wandered ahead to my next class which involved me going to the WUTK radio studios and creating a newscast for a broadcast class I was taking.

Every Tuesday and Thursday I would create my newscast script by arranging the stories in order of importance, cutting the fluff and pasting the facts.

Most days it was rote, but that day would be different. That day, I would be breaking the news of the Challenger disaster to everyone listening to the station. I’m not sure how many listeners there were, but even if there was only one, he or she would get my best effort.

I snapped back into the moment and asked the professor something like, “Can this be called a tragedy?”

He looked back at me over his glasses and said, “What are you going to call it when 100 people die?”

So I didn’t call it a tragedy on the radio that day; but I sensed in my gut it was one.

I’ve used that same “tragedy filter” the journalism professor gave me that day many times over the years as I have examined seemingly-tragic news stories. And as I grow older — and see more of it — I realize that tragedy isn’t something someone tells you it is.

Tragedy is not something that can be quantified.

Tragedy is a feeling in your gut.

We’ve had more than our fair share of tragic events in my bone-dry neck of the woods lately.

As you already know, six children from Woodmore Elementary School in Chattanooga lost their lives last week when their bus left the road, flipped on its side and hit a tree. The video footage of devastated parents and loved ones, educators, and members of the Woodmore community is heartbreaking.

Around the same time in my town, two children drowned in a swimming pool and left our community in shock.

Personally, I cannot stop envisioning the empty seats at those Thanksgiving tables. In all actuality, though, they probably weren’t celebrating Thanksgiving in those homes.

Those are tragedies.

As I write this, numerous buildings and countless acres around Gatlinburg in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park continue to burn as wildfires rage out of control. People are missing and feared dead.

One of the pictures in the Knoxville newspaper showed an armageddon-like nighttime Gatlinburg street scene with smoke and ash contrasting with the big light-up plastic snowflake decorations attached to light poles.

We won’t know how big of a tragedy it is until the smoke clears.

But it is one.

Lately, the bad news continues to come seemingly out of nowhere — here at home, nationally, and of course, abroad.

All those situations are someone’s tragedy. Some of them should be all of ours.

I didn’t realize it then, but I now understand the professor wasn’t trying to be insensitive to the Challenger situation. He was trying to get us to put perspective on a news story. Taking it further, he was trying to teach us to deliver the facts and not label stories as tragedies or triumphs.

Maybe that’s a good lesson in journalism fundamentals, but out here in the real world, tragedies are easy to spot.

You feel them in your gut; and, lately we’ve felt plenty.

The Things We Remember Are Astonishing

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comI remember two things about second grade. 

First, was the day one of our classmates walked quickly up to the teacher’s desk, stood real close to her and started to whisper, “I think I’m going to be…,” at the exact moment she ruined the teacher’s clothes and gave the rest of us something to talk about for the rest of our lives. 

It was an astonishing sight – which brings me to the other thing I remember about second grade. 

I learned the word astonishing. 

We were issued two reading books that year. One was titled Enchanted Gates, and the other was Shining Bridges.  

They were brand new; and I think that’s why they still stand out in my mind more than 4 decades later. 

I remember the day the teacher unpacked the boxes and handed a copy to each of us. 

They were beautiful. They smelled new. Their covers were shiny. They cracked when we opened them. They didn’t have old, grimy chocolate fingerprints on the pages or any folded up pieces of notebook paper inside. 

No one had drawn in them nor written their initials on the textblock (which is what the front edge opposite the spine is called. I googled it.) 

My name would be on the first line of the “This Book Belongs To” sticker inside the front cover. 

We were instructed to go home and have our mothers make book covers from brown paper sacks to minimize the number of our grimy chocolate fingerprints we would leave for future students to endure. 

I am sure the stories in these books were captivating, but only one barely managed to stick with me at all. It was a story where a character named Ramona used the word astonishing. 

I cannot tell you what Ramona was describing, let alone anything else about the story. I merely remember seeing that huge word and thinking it must be the biggest word in the world. 

Plus, it was fun to say. 

I felt so grown up looking at that word in that second grade reading book. I imagine it was hard to believe just a year before we were limping through See Spot Run and struggling to figure out why Dick and Jane kept repeating the same three-word sentences over and over. 

By second grade, though, those days were finished. One-trick Spot was ancient history. Three-word sentences — are you kidding me? That’s kid-stuff. See you later, Dick. Adios, Jane. 

I’m sure we learned lots of other new words in second grade, but astonishing will always be my favorite. 

Using it in everyday life never caught on, though, and I know why. 

It’s not your fault, Ramona. You did all you could. You were stuck in a book and sketched with probably three freckles on each cheek, yellow hair and a frumpy brown sweater. You never had an opportunity to impact pop culture. 

To use your word, you weren’t astonishing enough. 

You weren’t on television. 

What if Marcia Brady would’ve said, “You have an astonishingly low number of friends, Jan?” 

What if Donny Osmond would’ve sung, “Until the twelfth of never, I’ll still be astonished by you?” 

What if astonishing would have replaced “shazam” or “yabba dabba doo?” 

Or, what if that Farrah Fawcett poster would’ve had “astonishing” printed across it? 

Our vocabularies would’ve been changed forever. 

Hitting that television at 3:30 was my favorite thing to do back in that day. Ol’ Ramona stayed in the book bag until I had my daily dose of comedy. 

Sometimes, I look back at those days and feel superficial. I always realize, though – as I’m sure you do — that more schooling stuck with us than we realize. After all, I’m writing this, and you’re reading it. 

We all know, however, it is not nearly as astonishing as Netflix. 

Singing With the Saints

music musings, beaverdamusa.comThis musing is going to be a little different from my others.  It’s is going to be more reflective or personal.  For the past 10+ years, I have sung in the choir at my church – Kingston Springs United Methodist Church in Kingston Springs, TN.  If you are interested, I sing bass and love it. 

Our choir director is Julia Rich who is a gem and performed with the Glenn Miller Orchestra for years.  Her late father was a United Methodist preacher who served in the Middle Tennessee area for years. 

One of his stops was Tulip Street United Methodist Church in East Nashville.  Tulip Street was founded in 1859 with the building started in 1860 and finishing after the Civil War.  The architecture of the outside is beautiful and the inside is stunning and cathedral-like.  But, like many of these old churches, the neighborhoods are changing, people are changing how and where they worship.  With an average worship attendance of somewhere around ten, the decision was made to close this grand ole church.  

Like any good Methodist, when faced with a crisis – they decided to eat.  Seriously, a Homecoming/Last Service was planned where former pastors, members, and staff were invited back to celebrate the church to celebrate its history.  Our choir director was asked to come and sing since her father was pastor at Tulip Street, and she then volunteered to bring us to the festivities.  So we grabbed our robes and music and sang during communion as shown below.  [In case you wondering, I’m the bald dude on the back row on the far left, looking at the picture.]  

tulip1How about that beautiful pipe organ!  It was installed in 1891 and has had minimal alterations to it.  The sounds that came out of those pipes were magnificent.

Sitting and standing up there in the choir loft, my mind starting to wander – not during the sermon, of course.  I started thinking about all the people who sat where I sat over the last 150+ years.  What would they think about the church closing?  Did they hear the same pipes/bellows clicking as the organ played? 

I realized that I was part of the last choir to sing at this church.  Wonder what the first choir was like?  Wonder if the saints who have gone on gathered around on October 9, 2016 to watch that sanctuary once again be filled with music and people?  I would like to think so.  It was quite an honor to sing there and I really appreciate the opportunity.

Musing and singing with the saints

Zach

P.S.  Someone recorded the service and posted it on YouTube – the choir starts at 1:22 into the video at (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruQ-5ghO9wQ).  

P.P.S. – You can check out the Tulip Street UMC page on Facebook for much more information.  I am also attaching some pictures of the church my sweet wife took.

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Act Cool! Here Comes a Grammar Police Officer

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comPeople who get paid to do a job have an obligation to do that job at least somewhat correctly. 

If you go to the doctor with a broken arm, you expect her to fix it. If you go to a restaurant for dinner, you expect it to be enjoyable. 

If your car has a flat tire, and you take it to the tire store and pay them to patch it, you expect a tire full of air when they get finished. 

If they take your money and send you on your way with a tire that is still flat, you don’t say, “That’s okay. I’ll just ride the rim. Here’s 20 bucks.”  

Along those same lines, someone who gets paid to communicate should be able to construct a simple sentence at the bare minimum. That task should’ve been mastered in the fifth grade, especially for someone who makes a living by using the language. 

I follow several major news organizations on Facebook. I’m talking about big regional, national and international pages run by newspapers, television networks, etc. 

Every single day, it blows my mind how many times the official Facebook accounts of these big news organizations make grammatical errors in their posts. 

“Here come the grammar police,” you may be saying. Or, “Don’t be so uptight. It doesn’t matter all that much.” 

Baloney. 

When a company’s sole responsibility is to communicate, that company has an obligation to communicate correctly. Simply putting out garbage that a fifth grader could mark up with a red pen is unacceptable. 

I could bore you with a hundred examples, but I will only offer one. 

I grew up watching WSMV in Nashville. Between diapers and college, I only missed the 6 o’clock news a handful of times. 

These guys broke my heart completely in two early Saturday morning with a Facebook post. It was horrible. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe it.  

Here’s what it said, exactly as it was posted: “If your up bright and early, so are we. Join us on Channel4 News Today, For the latest on Hurricane Matthew, and its finally feeling like fall!!! We’ll keep you updated” 

There are enough comma splices, missing punctuation marks, botched contractions, run-on sentences and vomiting exclamation points to send an English teacher into a coma. 

A few minutes after reading it, I was able to close my mouth and get my mind on something else. I went back 2 hours later to make sure they had fixed it. They hadn’t.  

All day long Saturday, I fully expected to read how the station manager saw it at home, led the cops on a high-speed chase before crashing his car into the newsroom, vaulting a cubicle wall and diving toward the delete button on the computer where the evil deed had been done. 

It is now Monday afternoon. It’s still there; I just looked. 

No cops. No crash. No deleting. 

This very well may sound like my silliest tirade to date, but the news business is my first love. I am deeply passionate about it. 

News organizations have always struggled to maintain credibility; and with all the fake or politically-motivated imposters out there today, that chore is harder than it ever has been. 

That precious concept of credibility is no longer confined to conveying the facts of a story. In today’s world, it extends to an organization’s ability not to look foolish on Facebook. Heaven knows, we have enough of that already. 

I guess I could hush, polish up my résumé, and go out there and do something about it. 

But, I’m too busy. When you work for the grammar police, you never get a day off. 

An Evening With John Waite

music musings, beaverdamusa.comFor years, I have been a fan of John Waite, dating back to the Babys era. I even mused about John once for this blog.

I had noticed he was doing some dates across the country on what is billed as the Wooden Heart Acoustic tour. For the longest, the closest was Memphis back in May. I even commented on a Facebook post John that he should add a Nashville gig, to which he replied “What about Memphis?”. While I love me some John Waite, I had to explain that a trip down I-40 to the Bluff City just wasn’t my cup of tea, even if I could stop at Buffalo and get some pie at the Log Cabin.

IMG_0291Anyway, he finally announced a show at the intimate and great venue – the Franklin Theatre. Having seen a few shows there, I knew it would be a great evening, so I snagged some tickets up front at the tables which put us about ten feet from the stage.

The opening act was Raquel Aurilia who sang six songs accompanied by just an acoustic guitar. Her voice was nice and gave everyone a chance to settle into their seats.

For the ADD readers – it was a John Waite fan’s dream. Now, for those that enjoy a little more detail, read on. John came out with a very stripped down band – a guitar, a bass, and a cajon. [I learned that night that a cajon is the proper word for beat box]. John would occasionally play the acoustic guitar during the set. His guitar player was Nashville native (who isn’t now) Kyle Cook (www.kylecookmusic.com), formerly of Matchbox Twenty. It was a treat to watch him play. Kyle played on John’s Rough & Tumble and co-wrote one of my favorite John Waite songs – If You Ever Get Lonely.

John explained that the show would be very laid back and he would talk about the songs and their inspiration. He also added that the audience would get to ask questions throughout the night. So, he basically set the stage for our own Storyteller session with him and about 400 of his closest friends in Franklin. What a treat.

Throughout the set, we were treated to tidbits and stories prompted by the songs or questions from the audience, such as:

* He grew up listening to country music as a child in England. He talked about walking to the bus stop for school and staring at a Marty Robbins album in a store window and how he dreamed of making it to play and sing in Nashville.

* One of his favorite moments was getting to sing on the Grand Ole Opry, courtesy of Allison Kraus. Allison and John redid his monster solo hit Missing You several years ago with commercial success.

* He talked about how much he admired Vince Gill and his guitar work so much that he cut one of Gill’s songs – Whenever You Come Around. As he was playing this song on the Opry stage, he realized Gill was playing with him on stage.

* Waite lived in Nashville for a few years and really loved the vibe. He mentioned that he left because NYC really felt like home. He said that Nashville has become too crowded and is losing its country music vibe due to the record labels.

I could go on and on about how great of a night it was, but I realize not everyone is as big of a John Waite fan as I am. Which brings me to my final point. It was truly an evening for John Waite fans, but not a casual one. Yes, he did some hits from all eras of his career – Babys, Bad English, and solo. But, he also threw in some real deep cuts. It was refreshing to see an artist do the songs that he wanted to and that the true fans would appreciate. If you have a chance, go check out John Waite if he stops in your neck of the woods.

Musing in Nashville.

Zach

Set list:

* When I See You Smile – probably my favorite Bad English song

* In God’s Shadow

* In Dreams

* New York City Girl

* If You Ever Get Lonely – Favorite solo song; was recently covered by country duo Love & Theft

* Missing You

* Bluebird Cafe – stripped down acoustic. Told the story of a real waitress and how he imagined why she was in Nashville.

* Whenever You Come Around – this is when he told the story of Vince Gill playing with him on theOpry.

* Downtown- only instrument was a Spanish acoustic guitar

* Magic Camera

* Best of What I Got – Bad English

* Change

* Head First – Only Babys song he did.

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