Friday, March 27, 2009

Divorce is so sad, even if it's right.

Let's pause to reminisce on the divorce of Billy Gillespie and the University of Kentucky. One of my favorite columnists, Pat Forde had a great comparison of Kentucky's fast courtship and marriage to Gillespie to a Las Vegas wedding.....which rarely is lasting. Gillespie wasn't a good fit coach-wise and social-wise with the Kentucky fans. It was doomed from the start. I can't believe Gillespie had never signed his contract, which cost him millions when it came to "buy-out" time.

Now, for who's the replacement. Oodles of names have surfaced:

Billy Donovan: He says he's definitely not going to UK, but Nick Saban said he was definitely not going to Alabama. He was the one Kentucky really wanted prior to hiring Gillespie. Slight resemblance to Eddie Munster, but is a proven winner.

John Calipari: He's got the perfect gig in Memphis, but would he be lured to be so close to his buddy, Pitino and leave Beale Street?

Bruce Pearl: Forget it. Good coach, but too Orange.

Mike Anderson: Forget it. Good coach, but too close to Nolan Richardson, and Kentucky fans don't forget.

Jamie Dixon: Interesting. Good coach, too.

Mark Few: Got it made in the Pacific Northwest,therefore tough to lure.

John Pelphrey: LOVED in Kentucky, but only won 2 games in the SEC last year. Strong resemblance to Ichabod Crane, but has shown potential.

Sean Miller: Interesting, but not quite big time enough.

Jay Wright: Interesting, but also not big time enough, yet.

Rick Pitino: Forget it. Been there. Done That.

Travis Ford: He's the one if Donovan turns it down. Kentucky boy, Kentucky connections, AAU connections, understands what is expected in Kentucky besides winning the National Championship every year and everywhere he's been, he improved. Young, but driven. He made me a believer, from Eastern Kentucky to U Mass to Oklahoma State. I think he'll be the one at the end of the day.

Personally, I think UK already had someone in mind and had at least "feelers" out to gauge their interest weeks ago, just in case the Wildcats didn't make the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. Not being mentioned among the elite programs in the nation is unacceptable to the Big Blue Nation.

That's the same reason Pat Summitt got her team off the bus and put them though a grueling practice hours after losing in the Women's NCAA Tournament. She won't stand for losing. On second thought....maybe Kentucky should think about hiring her! On third thought, maybe that's not such a good idea. She'd be too tough on the boys.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One Liners on a Wednesday

Lunch at Broussard's today in Cape Girardeau and it was awesome and I'd love to play there someday.

I think Dickie Nutt will do a great job at SEMO and it's great to have a Nutt back in the area.

I still watch American Idol and I hope Lil Rounds wins.

I think Billy Gillespie is realizing he's not at Texas A&M anymore because at A&M his success was measured on how many games he won while at Kentucky it's measured on how few you lose.

I think the Memphis-Missouri sweet sixteen game is gonna be fun to watch.

I think Jay Cutler's 2 greatest weapons are his arm, which works for him and his brain, which works against him.

I think Kentucky's raising it's tax on cigarettes is sadly, another tax on the poor.

I think Layne Kiffin needs to win big early at Tennessee to back up his mouth.

I think Union's winning the NAIA Nat'l Women's championship is great, although I miss coaches Dr. David Blackstock and Lisa Caudill-Hutchens.

I'm amazed at my dad and his recovery and can't wait to go crappie fishing with him.

I'm saddened PATS didn't get the AQS Show and pray everything goes smoothly.

I love Elixir strings although I wish they didn't cost so much.

I wish Paul Reed Smith would endorese me cause I'd love to proudly play one of their guitars.

I still love it when people e-mail me for my forecast and take on upcoming weather events.

I gotta work out more and more and more and I guess that's getting older.

My brain is creating so much energy, it's killing my hair folicles and that's tragic, especially when it's cold.

I'm glad the Titans didn't try to get Terrell Owens, but I wouldn't mind Tory Holt.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Back to the Bars Again

Playing in bars is often entertaining for us pickers. Playing in bars is sometimes irritating for us pickers. Playing in bars is ALWAYS hard work for us pickers (equipment is HEAVY and for some terrible reason...the heavier it is...the better it sounds). Playing in bars makes us "tight" as a band. Every time we think we've "seen it all" playing in a bar, something happens we've never seen before.

I don't "hang out" in bars very often, unless I'm playing myself or seeing someone else I like play. Sometimes bars are entertaining for us, though. Like the time I saw the condom machine in the bathroom with the homemade note, "Save $400 a month, Pay the 75 cents!" I guess I'm attracted to playing in bars for several reasons: I can stretch out a little more and play a few songs that I would never play at a festival. I can interact with the audience a little more. I have the time to play a wide range of things. We NEVER work off a "set list" as it kills spontaneity.

When you see us play in a bar, we play our stuff, but we also play things you want! It may be "Mustang Sally" but it might also be Led Zeppelin or Johnny Cash....done our way, of course. We always come back to the blues, but we might swerve a little. If you come to see us at a bar and you request my got it. If you request others.....if we know it, we'll play it. If we don't know it....we might try to play it anyway. Sometimes, it's magical. Sometimes it's a train wreck. That's the fun of it all. At a festival, it's the blues, and mostly our originals. Folks who come to see us at festivals usually come to hear us specifically, so we try to please. They came to hear the blues, nothing but the blues and lot's of times, songs of ours they heard on XM Radio. At're usually talking about a 5 hour job. They get it ALL!

What are the most requested songs/covers in bars? (for us)
Brown Eyed Girl
Mustang Sally
Play That Funky Music
Old Time Rock n Roll
Keep Your Hands To Yourself
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Sweet Home Chicago
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Jimi Hendrix

What are the weirdest requests we gotten?
"Incense and Peppermints"
"Walk Like an Egyptian"
"Bohemian Rhapsody"
Psychedelic Furs
*we didn't even try any of these

You won't see me drink much in a bar. Like I told Glenn at Fat Moe's once, "I'm not here to get drunk or get women. I'm here to do a show for you and them, and get paid. I'm here to do a job. A FUN job.....but a job, and I DO have fun." I love playing in bars. Now excuse me.....I need to learn "Funky Cold Medina" and "Baby Got Back."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Ides of March Madness

I'm not a big fan of winter, but one of the highlights for me is the NCAA Tournament! I always look forward to it. Although I don't pay all that much attention to the regular season, I love the tournament. I fill out my bracket and try to watch every game. I love pulling for my favorite teams and the underdogs! Bridget gets in on the fun too. If not for Mario Chalmers, she would have won her bracket last year!

I'm sad UT Martin didn't make it into the tournament. It would have been great letting the entire nation see just what a talent Lester Hudson is.

I'm keeping an eye on Memphis, Bridget's alma mater. Although many pooh-pooh their record because they play in the weak Conference USA, I keep seeing their opponents held to 30 and 40 points, and defense wins championships. We'll also be pulling for Bridget's other alma mater, Syracuse! My alma mater, Middle Tennessee didn't make it again this year. My "internet" alma mater, Mississippi State, might have a shot to get in. We'll see.

Louisville plays great defense too, and look to be peaking. North Carolina has great talent and if they can focus, they'll be hard to beat. I think U Conn would have a better showing if one of their best players hadn't gotten injured. Of course, I'll also be pulling for Tennessee. I'd like to see them have a nice run, although I think they had a much better shot last year.

It really does seem to be wide open this year for many teams. We'll just have to see how the basketball bounces.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Back To The Bars

Friday night the band played at Willy Jak's in Metropolis. We had a great time! Bridget and I used to go to the place a lot when I lived in Paducah because the atmosphere was nice and laid back and the food was great, especially the delicious jumbo shrimp and half pound hamburgers that were fantastic! It's still great! A good time was had by all.

Musically, more and more bands, which have thrived on the festival and casino circuits for the past decade or more, are headed back to the bars. It's the economy. I was talking to a friend of mine recently who's played and toured full time all his life and he was lamenting how his band had such a hard time last year. The worst ever. It doesn't look like it'll get better any time soon. Festivals are cutting back. Casino's are cutting back too. Gamblers don't have as much money to lose as they did a year or two ago! Many bars are still doing good though. Maybe more people are saving money by dropping $5 for some good live entertainment locally, than spending ten times that or more to hear bigger name entertainers. You best believe, many of those bigger name entertainers are feeling the slowdown too.

I've noticed in Paducah, more and more of the bands playing in the local clubs are from Nashville, TN. That's how bad the musical economy is now in the Music City. My buddy was telling me about the scores of Nashville cats (guitarists, bassists, etc) who used to tour with mid to upper-level country artist are now calling him, begging for gigs. Those with the big dreams are still coming to Nashville from around the country to be discovered, but to make enough money to cover a few meals, they're easing out of town by one to two hundred miles.

Most of them are really good, while others are not so good. I hope it doesn't get to the point that they're taking away gigs from our local bands, many of whom are also very good, very talented, very unique and very dedicated to our local clubs and audience.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pardon Us, For Crying "Wolf"

It might be frustrating for many of us meteorologist, but a new study finds more people are taking severe weather warnings less seriously.

Part of this, I think, lies in perception and part of it in how it's communicated. When we forecast the possibility of severe weather, we're, in essence, telling people that indeed it's a possibility, not a certainty. We should convey the seriousness according to our confidence. While advances in technology have made us more accurate, it's still difficult to make precise predictions on the micro-scale. There are just too many variables than cannot be precisely measured from afar. That's why I used to joke that sometimes, I'm more of a "weather-handicapper" than a weather forecaster at times. Many viewers, on the other hand, demand perfection at all times, in all communities. That's tough to do, even though studies have shown our accuracy in forecasting continues to get better. Try this, so see who has the more accurate forecast in your area!

On the other hand, there is intense demand for viewers among broadcast outlets. This can be accomplished in several ways.

1. Establish a reputation for accuracy and integrity over a number of years and explain the forecast in a way the average viewer can understand. Simply tell viewers the truth.

2. Create a sense of urgency or danger, so viewers, fearful for their lives, will tune in.

3. Hype, over and over, the times you were right and leave out the times you were wrong.

It's a fine line to toe! I've heard from viewers who told me they avoid TV meteorologists who constantly predict "worst case scenarios" and avoid stations who over-hype severe weather, but let's face it, if it didn't work, they wouldn't do it!

I always presented the weather with a simple credo: Work hard at the nuts and bolts forecasting, tell the truth, be honest and own up to a blown forecast, although TELL them WHY I was wrong.........on those rare occasions :o).

And on days when there is NO severe weather in the forecast? Make an accurate forecast and make 'em smile. Life's tough enough!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bob is home!

Bob is home now. He came home last week. He was a little feeble at first, but is growing stronger everyday. He's supposed to get physical therapy, but he doesn't need it that much. Nothing can keep him down! He's already discarded his walker and is walking and talking up a storm. Today, he walked almost a half mile. He's determined to get back to his old self physically and he will. In fact, he'll be better. Mentally, he only remembers the last few days in the hospital, after a 6 week stay, most of it in the recovery room, surgery and ICU. He asked me to fill in the gaps and tell him what he missed. I told him, "not much, just the Super Bowl (which he doesn't care that much for) and the Ice Storm. Outside of that, he's back to the same ole Bob: not wanting anyone to make a fuss over him and rearing to get back to fishing at Reelfoot Lake. I heard the crappie they were catching were huge. He can't wait to reel in a few himself. It's good to have him back!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I Was Supposed To Go

I was supposed to go to Nashville today to sit with dad, Bob, at the hospital, but my little sister, Dr. Amy Jetton, decided to sit with him another night. He's making some progress and we hope to have him home within 2 weeks. After so many weeks in ICU though, it's tough to get reoriented to night and day, sleep and awake, while trying to recover from the complications of his heart surgery a month and a half ago. He is making progress though and looking and sounding better every day. We pray it continues. I did get him walking with a walker Thursday and he got a much appreciated shower and shave. I think the biggest boost for him was yesterday, when my mom took one of his beloved "puppy-dogs" to visit. Funny how our animals can help us so much, without doing anything except loving us.

I was supposed to go the UT Martin game Saturday night and watch them clinch their first ever OVC regular season championship. It was a great moment for the Skyhawks! However, heavy snow throughout the area last night nixed those plans. Hopefully, I can go to their first round tournament game Tuesday night. At least, I'm supposed to go.

We wound up with between 4 an 5 inches at my house. I used to hate snow, but now MUCH prefer it to freezing rain and ice storms! It was actually very pretty and while road conditions on Saturday night were terrible, it quickly melted Sunday and was no problem.

I was supposed to go through Trimble, TN the other week on the way to Dyersburg, but I'm glad I didn't go. Turns out there was a killer-turkey on the loose! He might have heard about how much I love cooking turkeys on my smoker. In that case, I would have been a goner.