On Target?

There's a movement to do away with the black silhouette paper targets that are used at shooting ranges and police training academies because of perceived "trigger bias."  

Studies conducted at the University of Illinois on this "trigger bias" found that when shown a realistic human target, shooters were more likely to pull the trigger when the target was black.  Shooters weren't just faster to shoot at black targets, there were also said to be more likely to fire at a black target.  

The #NoMoreBlackTargets campaign has a simple goal:  to eliminate the use of human targets for people learning to shoot--in police academies, on shooting ranges, or anywhere someone is learning to use a firearm. 

The movement is trying to reinvent targets through art and creativity.  What do you think of this study and the concept of changing the targets?

Back to Nashville

The long-awaited return of the TV series "Nashville" was last night; now on CMT, instead of ABC.  It was a seamless return, picking up right where it left off oh-so-long-ago. In true television fashion, the most remarkable things happen that force a suspension of disbelief, like Juliette Barnes being the sole survivor of a horrific plane crash that was the cliffhanger before ABC dumped the show.  

I don't know about you, but if I'm ever in a plane crash, I hope that I am laid out on the ground in my airplane seat looking as lovely as Juliette.  We should all be so lucky to look so good with our head split open from debris, but I can forgive the cheesy staging in order to enjoy the fun romp that is "Nashville."  It wasn't too hard to let it go, because Juliette is by far one of the best character actresses on the show.  She can make you want to string her up by her thong panties one minute, and give her a hug the next.  

I'm torn a bit on how Juliette is so hung up on the prospect of possibly being a paraplegic, as if it's a cruel joke that God has played on her, rather than seeing that surviving and living after such an accident should give her hope for the future and feeling as if there is a real purpose for her.  Fortunately, she was told that very thing when she met with the pastor of the church where the "angel" who saved her after the plane crash is a choir member.  I'm hopeful that the mysterious angel will become a regular role in the show and play the guide to goodness for Juliette.  Seriously, if Juliette goes off the deep end again and neglects her adorable daughter, I will have a HUGE issue with it.  But I must confess, I do enjoy her bitchy side from time to time, so I don't want her to become "too good," if you know what I mean.

It's also good to see Juliette and Avery back together, even though she's seemingly trying to do everything to tear it apart.  I'm praying for them.

Gunner and Scarlett are also back together (THANKFULLY) again and seem to be on the rise with their career again as the "Exes," despite them being "Lovers," although that doesn't quite have the same ring for a band name.  I have to say the music on Nashville is so incredibly good.  Maybe it's because they incorporate so much sweet harmony, which I love--but it's still some amazing song writing and melodies.

Even Maddie and Daphne (Rayna James' girls) seem to have upped their game as well in the singing and performing department.  I saw those two live at the CMA Music Festival a couple of times.  They are the real deal, so I'm glad that they are continuing to sing together, after it was starting to look like Maddie was going to be a real bitch of a sister and not allow that to happen early on in the series premiere.  It would appear the two are destined to collaborate together on song writing, which is good because I think their mother is going to need them as her cash cow with her record label, Highway 65--but more on that later.

Rayna had a gig out in Silicon Valley for an uber rich tech guy who is very young, but a "huge fan boy" of her, because he grew up listening to her on his mother's cassettes.  Ain't that sweet?  I had to stifle my pouting when I realized that I was from the cassette generation and this was insinuating that I am "old" like Rayna is supposed to be... only I don't have the body that Rayna has, or the money, so that depressed me a little more.  Thanks, Nashville writers.

Rayna was freaked out about flying and had a panic attack on the way out to California. She claimed it was not because of Juliette's accident, and in the end she opted to drive home to Nashville, rather than use the flight that she already had.  And she wonders why her Highway 65 record label is in such financial trouble?  Paying for a rental car one-way is NOT cheap.  Trust me, I know.  Especially a snazzy convertible like she was driving.

Regardless, there was homage paid to Bluegrass legend, Bill Monroe and his song, "Wayfaring Stranger," which played a role in Rayna's journey--both mentally and literally back home.  That was the song being played by an old, blind man at a full service gas station out in the middle of no where on her trip home.  It was the key to her realizing the path she needs to take, which ended up leading her to want to record a concept album with everybody's favorite guy to eat crackers in your bed--Deacon.  The plan is to tell their love story through the album.  Sounds good to me; I'd buy it.

I think it's pretty obvious that Zach the rich, young, tech guy from Silicon Valley will eventually be financially backing Rayna's Highway 65 Label, which is apparently in financial trouble.  We know this because it was mentioned numerous times by both her and her trusty guy, Bucky.  But yet, they hired a social media guy to take care of that for the label.  And they made him a stereotypical "nerd," which was worthy of an eye-roll.  And guess what?  He was also a young fan boy of Rayna!  All I will say is if the social media "nerd" ends up being the stalker that was watching Rayna through the cracked windshield at the end, I'm going to be angry.

That was the cliffhanger at the end of this 2-hour premiere.  Somebody was watching Rayna walk into her Highway 65 offices through a terribly cracked windshield.  Call me weird, but I couldn't stop pondering why this person hasn't contacted their insurance agency to get it fixed.  I mean, it's on the driver's side for crying out loud!

I don't care how cheesy the show can get from time to time; I love it--particularly the music.  I will always be a loyal viewer of the show, even if I can't control my snarky comments.  How about you?

 

 

The Force Fades in a Butt Hurt World

What a bizarre turn of events with Debbie Reynolds passing one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher.  They were an incredibly close mother-daughter pair.  What's even more bizarre is all of the backlash that comedian/actor/musician Steve Martin has been subjected to for a seemingly heartfelt tweet he put out on Twitter after Carrie Fisher's death.

Apparently, New York Magazine didn't feel the same way and writer Claire Landsbaum took Martin to task for "sexualizing" Fisher, who spoke out against that for much of her career.  While I can see a VERY narrow margin of validity to this stream of thought, overall I don't get it.  Do you?  Are you offended by what Steve Martin wrote in his tweet?

Maybe I'm just a big oaf and failed to see the negativity in Steve Martin's short and sweet tribute to Carrie Fisher.  I mean, it's Twitter--where you're relegated to putting your thoughts into only 140 characters.  Eloquence is not easy to convey in that short burst.  I hardly think it was intended to be offensive, yet there's always someone out there who wants to try to make an issue out of something seemingly innocuous.  This society is filled with easily offended people, and sometimes they just crave attention, which is exactly what Ms. Landsbaum is getting over her witch hunt on Martin--who ultimately deleted his tweet.

So much for expressing your appreciation of someone who has died--and being able to speak freely and grieve.  Thanks to political correctness, we all live in fear of offending... unless you decide to give the collective middle finger to the whole movement.  I really wish Steve Martin had not deleted his tweet, caving into the ridiculous accusations.  It was a heartfelt expression; to think otherwise is just heinous.

It WAS an Epic 50th Annual CMA Awards

Randy TravisWe all knew that the 50th annual CMA Awards were going to be huge, and it did not disappoint.  As promised, the opening 8-10 minutes were epic.  It was a sprinkling of all of your favorites of days gone by, and heavy hitters from today.  My absolute favorite moment of the entire show had to be when all of those who were participating in the opening gathered around Randy Travis, and sang his "Forever & Ever, Amen," song--but turned the final "Amen" over to him--and he nailed it!  I know I wasn't alone with tears rolling down my face on that.  It absolutely was the best moment of the entire show.

In case you missed that part, you can view it here.

Collaborations seemed to be a magical part of the mix for the program.  Garth Brooks and his wife, Trisha Yearwood did not disappoint either with their medley of country classics.  I rather enjoyed during the entire night how photos from CMA Awards of the past were flashed up on the big screens throughout performances.  It was a beautiful way to tie the past 50 years together.  When Brad Paisley performed his new tune, "Today," with photos scrolling behind him, it was a heartfelt tribute too.  And by the way, if that performance doesn't remind everyone that he is more than worthy of being nominated again for more awards himself, then I don't know what would.  It frosts me every year to see that he is not nominated for anything.  NOTHING!  He's an amazing musician, who can pierce your heart with his lyrics and make tears of joy or heartache flow.  Hopefully, this will be rectified in the near future of voting on this award show.

My favorite winners of the night had to be Brothers Osborne.  I am a member of the CMA, so I was able to vote.  You bet your butt I voted for them to win "VocalBros Osborne Duo of the Year," but like the brothers, I too was shocked and surprised to see them finally unseat Florida-Georgia Line for the honor.  I was cheering loud and proud in my living room for them.  I'm so glad we were able to bring them in to perform at the Cavalier Theater last year.  It was a fantastic night, and made their victory last night even sweeter.  

I LOVED that Carrie Underwood had an all-female band performing with her for "Dirty Laundry."  I was feeling rather empowered while watching that, and while it was probably not my favorite performance of hers--mostly because it's not my favorite song, she still showcased her amazing pipes... and legs.  It's hard NOT to like Carrie.  She's definitely a true gem for our format.

I have to admit that I never realized prior to Tim McGraw winning Song of the Year with "Humble & Kind," that songwriter, Lori McKenna actually wrote the majority of the lyrics intended as a prayer for five kids.  You can read more on how the song came together here.

The collaboration between Alan Jackson and George Strait was fantastic.  I loved the way that they melded Alan's "Remember When," with George's "Troubadour."  It was a great nod to where we've come and how lucky we are to have artists that we love from years ago still cranking out music that moves us. I'm sure some new artists are hoping to have that kind of staying power in their own careers.  If I'm still alive in 50 years, it will be interesting to see the 100th annual CMA awards and see what kind of production they do to honor the artist from today.

Probably the most divisive moment of the show was the performance of pop artist, Beyonce with the Dixie Chicks.  First--I have to say it was brilliant to pair them up.  Purists were already railing against having Queen B on the program, but then when she was paired up with the Dixie Chicks, you would think that there was a satanic ritual going on, based upon the vitriol being spewed on social media.  If you were one of those who was downright pissed over that performance, I must ask you to step back and take a moment to understand that you're not going to love EVERYTHING in life.  That's part of what makes this big, old, goofy world spin.  I would recommend that if you are still bitter about the Dixie Chicks and their statements made way back when about George W. Bush, you might want to try something that I do.  I'll admit that I was not happy when they said what they did all of those years ago, but this isn't about politics.  It's about music, and I haveBeyonce Dixie Chicks always enjoyed the Dixie Chicks' harmonies and musicianship.  Much like I do on social media, when I see something that I disagree with, rather than start a bitter war with a friend that I adore for reasons beyond politics, I ignore whatever her opinion is on that particular thing.  Her friendship means way more to me than one thing that we disagree upon.  This world is filled with far too many easily butt-hurt people.  Don't be one of those overly sensitive types; you're better than that, and you'll miss out on a lot of really neat things by limiting your view or circle of friends. 

There were plenty of people who actually enjoyed the performance, and you while you're entitled to your opinion--you don't need to crucify those who disagree with you.  Quite frankly, we have enough of that going on with this political season.  So you didn't care for Beyonce's outfit.  I hear ya.  It's not exactly something that I would've chosen to wear, even if I was rail thin.  But are you blind to not see that there have always been racy outfits even on the CMA awards by those who are in the format?  Even last night--Kacey Musgraves had on a very deep v-necked and SHORT dress (see photo below with Dolly Parton).  Or Taylor Swift when she came out to present the Entertainer of the Year award.  Skin to win has always been an issue in recent history, and you are absolutely entitled to be appalled at it, but please don't act like Beyonce is the first performer to ever show more boob than you've ever seen on national television.  Taste and modesty have been endangered species for quite some time now.

Onto other collaborations... thoroughly enjoyed the Chris Stapleton and Dwight Yoakam duet on the Willie Nelson and Ray Charles "Seven Spanish Angels".  That was probably the most soulful performance of the night, and it definitely proved why Stapleton picked up the Male Vocalist of the Year award.Dolly

Loved seeing Vince Gill present the Female Vocalist award to Carrie Underwood--and to be honest, I was thrilled to see Carrie win it.  Vince Gill makes me happy, because his voice; whether he's singing or just talking, it melts my heart.  He's another jewel of country music, and I expect that we will be seeing him honored in the future, much as we did Dolly Parton last night with the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award.  

Which by the way, that tribute to Dolly prior to her being presented with the award was amazing and her acceptance speech (as expected) did not disappoint.  The only thing that would've made it better was to give her all of the time she needed to make her speech.  It would've been golden.  Shame on the CMAs for not building in enough time to allow her to say it as she intended.

Garth_CMAGarth Brooks winning the Entertainer of the Year was a perfect ending to the 50th annual CMA Awards.  The biggest artist from the 90s taking home the biggest hardware of the night in 2016 shows that both the industry and the fan base are craving what made the 90s so spectacular for country music.  Combine that with a resurgence in the throw-back sound that is Chris Stapleton and Maren Morris, I think our format is poised to make a sweeping change in a direction that is bound to please everyone.  At least we can hope.  

Parents of Kids Who Bully to Face Fines

In Shawano, WI a new ordinance allows police to fine parents $366 if they've been informed their child is bullying and they do nothing about it.  

Bullying is being defined as including actions of physical, verbal, and/or cyberbullying in this new move, which went into effect the last week of April.  Parents of the "offending" children who are caught bullying are going to be given 90-days to take steps to stop the bad behavior of their children.  If they fail to correct the behavior, the $366 fine will be imposed.  If there's a second offense within a year, the fine increases to $681.

I'm on the fence about this, as on one hand, bullying--particularly the cyberbullying variety through social media can be quite vicious, because those doing the bullying are able to hide behind the computer.  But at the same time, I'd like to think that if given the proper instruction, a child could effectively ignore, or more effectively put a bully in his or her place eloquently.  What I mean by that is, my parents taught us to be ourselves and if others didn't like us for who we were, we didn't need that kind of negativity in our lives, so we basically avoided dealing with those people, or let their mean comments roll off of our backs.

I may be oversimplifying this, but I distinctly remember as a kid playing outside with my brother one summer afternoon, and one of the neighbors, an unruly boy hollered over to us in a sing-song manner, "We have peanut butter sandwiches, and you guys don't!"

This may seem ridiculous, but it's true.  I almost responded, but my brother held up his hand and told me to just stay quiet.  

The neighbor kid yelled it again, "We have peanut butter sandwiches, and you guys don't!"

A snarky grin covered my brother's face, as he hollered back, "What?"

The neighbor boy, with a little more volume cried out again, "We have peanut butter sandwiches, and you guys don't!"

Again, my brother bellowed back, "What?!"

This went on for about two minutes, with my brother only forcing the neighbor boy to screech his taunting so loud that eventually, he shouted back, "Never mind!"

And my brother turned to me with a big smile and a wink.

It was a classic lesson for me on how to deal with bullies for the rest of my life.  But today, we're at a point where now the police have to get involved and shut down the behavior for a number of reasons it would seem.  First and foremost, there are parents who are not fully engaged with their children and don't recognize the offending behavior in their children, or they don't want to believe that it exists, so they live in denial about it; allowing the behavior to fester and morph into a more serious problem down the road.  Secondly, technology today, as mentioned earlier makes bullying too easy to do for some kids, allowing them to remain anonymous. 

I don't know what the right answer is, but I'm not sure if fining parents for their children's bullying is going to fix the problem.  What do you think?

Bodily Distractions

I'll admit it.  I'm a fan of the reality TV talent show, "The Voice."  Part of the allure for me is the whole blind audition thing, as it takes looks out of the equation, and gives true talent a chance to shine in this superficial world we live in.  Don't get me wrong; there are still some "lookers" as contestants, as coach Pharrell pointed out last night, with one of Blake Shelton's team members, Mary Sarah, who is quite the country crooner.  

Mary Sarah did a great rendition of Heidi Newfield's "Johnny & June," which by the way I found cute that Blake was the only coach who had ever heard the song, when they all give him grief for the occasional pop song that he's not familiar with some nights.  At any rate, when Pharrell gave his feedback on Mary Sarah's song, he said that he meant this in a very favorable way, but he found her dress pleasantly "distracting."

One can only imagine that if Mary Sarah's dress was distracting to Pharrell, then he surely was feeling downright ADHD with Christina Aguilera's massive boobs hanging out next to him.

Boobs and distraction aside, there were some fantastic performances last night, and I can't even begin to guess who will be eliminated tonight.  What I do know is that Thomas Rhett will be performing his hit, "T-Shirt" on the show tonight, and that is something of a distraction that I welcome!

Caricature Country

I'm thrilled that more and more celebrities are wanting to be affiliated with country music.  I think it bodes well for our genre.  The music is after all, probably more relatable than any other form of music, due to the storytelling nature of it. 

What I am repulsed by is the caricature that some of these celebrities feel the need to dress like; I'm assuming in an attempt to "fit into" the culture.  Honestly, they need to quit trying so hard.  Just be you.  No one else can do you.  Quit listening to your harebrained stylist, who thinks it would be "edgy" to dress like this.  You look like a clown, and it smacks of making fun of country music, in my opinion.

Case in point--both football great, Von Miller and pop icon, Katy Perry both donned some interesting outfits for the ACM Awards last night.  

Von's duds weren't that bad.  Yes, it was not a "normal" look for him, but the jacket was kind of cool.  However, someone should have told him to NOT tuck his pant legs into his cowboy boots.  He looked ridiculous.

Katy looked like a cheap, plastic hooker.  Sorry, I'm not sorry.  I think even Dolly didn't know what to think of the getup Katy was wearing.  Someone needs to alert stylists who outfit their clients who are crossing into the country world, that we actually can be edgy, and look stylish, not like heinous caricatures.

 

 

Inhaling "House of Cards"

I blew through the entire new season of “House of Cards” on Netflix over the weekend.  Did you drink it in too?  This season is once again, an intense roller coaster of political warfare.

I’m thrilled that Robin Wright’s character, Claire Underwood is getting more screen time, and we’re seeing more layers of her character.  It’s added another dimension to the show for me, and I find myself vacillating back and forth between rooting for her, the power couple that is her and Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), and wanting to throat punch them both.  That’s some great acting, in my opinion, to get that kind of emotion swings out of viewers.

I can’t help but enjoy the parallels between scandals on the show and the real life political foibles that we see in our real headlines.  More so in this season than any other previously.

I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, but suffice it to say, there are some new characters that have been introduced and are sure to provide some stellar storylines into the future.

The show is honestly a sales pitch AGAINST any good-intentioned person to avoid entering the world of politics.  It’s such a murky, cesspool of depravity and soul-sucking backstabbers.  But yet, we can’t stop watching the show.  

And now I have to wait another year for more. 

Pace yourselves.  It will be more enjoyable.  

 

ROCKin' the Oscars

Admittedly, the Oscars are a lot of fluff and super elitist snobs, but that was exactly the reason why I wanted to watch at the very least, the opening monologue with comedian, Chris Rock to hear his commentary on the #OscarsTooWhite controversy, with no black actors being nominated in any of the major categories.  He delivered in a big way, in my opinion, with these two gems being my favorites:

– “Everybody went mad [this year] … Jada [Pinkett Smith] got mad. Jada said she’s not coming. Isn’t she on a TV show? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.”

– “I understand you’re mad. I’m not hating. … Jada’s mad her man Will [Smith] was not nominated for Concussion. I get it … It’s not fair that Will was this good and didn’t get nominated. You’re right. It’s also not fair that Will was paid $20 million for Wild Wild West, okay?”

Another amusing moment for me was when Chris Rock brought out a slew of Girl Scouts to sell cookies to the folks in the auditorium, which made me laugh so hard, as who hasn't had a co-worker's kid hit you up to buy something for fundraising?  It was hysterical to me to see that tradition of helping one's kids sell stuff in the workplace carried over into a hoity-toity "workplace."  They allegedly raised over $65,000 from the attendees for the Girl Scout cookies.

Seeing Hollywood starlets shovel Peanut Butter Patties in their mouth, made that bit even more enjoyable.

What was your favorite moment?  Drop us an email:  phil@kq98.com or jacklyn@kq98.com.

2016 ACM Awards Nominees

The first round of performers for the 51st Academy Of Country Music Awards were revealed yesterday (2/25) with the announcement that Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Keith UrbanFlorida Georgia Line and Cam will be taking the ACM stage. Additional performers and presenters at the show will be revealed in the coming weeks. Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley will co-host the 51st Annual ACM Awards, which will be broadcast live on CBS at 7:00 PM CST on April 3.

In addition to his ACM Awards performance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 3, Kenny will also appear at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds where he is headlining the last night of the 4th ACM Party for a Cause Festival. Underwood will also perform during the 3-day ACM Party For A Cause Festival, headlining the all-female "ACM Women of Country Night" show on Friday, April 1.

Here are the list of nominees for the awards: 

 

Entertainer of the Year

Jason Aldean

Garth Brooks

Luke Bryan

Eric Church

Miranda Lambert

 

Male Vocalist of the year

Jason Aldean

Dierks Bentley

Eric Church

Brett Eldredge

Chris Stapleton

 

Female Vocalist of the year

 Kelsea Ballerini

Jana Kramer

Miranda Lambert

Kacey Musgraves

Carrie Underwood

 

Vocal Duo of the year

Brothers Osborne

Dan + Shay

Florida Georgia Line

Joey + Rory

Maddie & Tae

 

Vocal Group OF THE YEAR

Eli Young Band

Little Big Town

Old Dominion

Rascal Flatts

Zac Brown Band

 

NEW MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

Brett Eldredge

Chris Janson

Thomas Rhett

Chase Rice

Chris Stapleton

 

NEW FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

Kelsea Ballerini

Cam

Mickey Guyton

RaeLynn

 

NEW VOCAL DUO OR GROUP OF THE YEAR

A Thousand Horses

Brothers Osborne

Maddie & Tae

Old Dominion

Parmalee

 

ALBUM OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]

I’m Comin’ Over– Chris Young

Producers: Corey Crowder, Chris Young

Record Label: RCA Records


Montevallo– Sam Hunt

Producers: Zach Crowell, Shane McAnally

Record Label: MCA Nashville

 

Mr. Misunderstood– Eric Church

Producer: Jay Joyce

Record Label: EMI Records Nashville

 

Tangled Up – Thomas Rhett

Producers: Dann Huff, Jesse Frasure, Chris DeStefano, Joe London

Record Label: The Valory Music Co.

 

Traveller– Chris Stapleton

Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton

Record Label: Mercury Records

 

Single Record of the Year [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]

Burning House– Cam

Producers: Jeff Bhasker, Tyler Johnson, Camaron Ochs

Record Labels: Arista Nashville, RCA Records, Kravenworks

     

Buy Me A Boat– Chris Janson

Producers: Brent Anderson, Chris DuBois, Chris Janson

Record Label: Warner Music Nashville

 

Die A Happy Man– Thomas Rhett

Producers: Dann Huff, Jesse Frasure

Record Label: The Valory Music Co.

 

Girl Crush– Little Big Town

Producer: Jay Joyce

Record Label: Capitol Records Nashville

 

I’m Comin’ Over– Chris Young

Producers: Corey Crowder, Chris Young

Record Label: RCA Nashville

 

Take Your Time– Sam Hunt

Producers: Zach Crowell, Shane McAnally

Record Label: MCA Nashville

 

Video of the Year [Awarded to Producer(s)/Director(s)/Artist(s)] *(Off Camera Award)

Biscuits– Kacey Musgraves

Director: Mark Klasfeld

Producer: Nicole Acacio

 

Burning House– Cam

Director: Trey Fanjoy

Producer: Trent Hardville

 

Girl Crush– Little Big Town

Directors: Karla Welch, Matthew Welch

Producer: Amanda Prunesti

 

Mr. Misunderstood– Eric Church

Directors: Reid Long, John Peets

Producer: Megan Smith

 

Riser– Dierks Bentley

Director: Wes Edwards

Producer: Jennifer Rothlein

 

Vocal Event of the Year [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]*(Off Camera Award)

Hangover Tonight– Gary Allan Featuring Chris Stapleton

Producers: Gary Allan, Greg Droman
Record Label: MCA Nashville

 

Home Alone Tonight– Luke Bryan Featuring Karen Fairchild

Producers: Jeff Stevens, Jody Stevens

Record Label: Capitol Nashville

 

Raise ‘Em Up– Keith Urban Featuring Eric Church

Producers: Nathan Chapman, Keith Urban

Record Labels: Hit Red Records, Capitol Nashville

 

Smokin’ And Drinkin’– Miranda Lambert Featuring Little Big Town

Producers: Frank Liddell, Chuck Ainlay, Glenn Worf

Record Label: RCA Nashville

 

Wild Child– Kenny Chesney With Grace Potter

Producers: Buddy Cannon, Kenny Chesney

Record Labels: Blue Chair Records, Columbia Nashville


The 51st Academy of Country Music Awards will be hosted by Dierks Bentley and reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan. The will be broadcast live on CBS from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 3, 2016 at 7:00 PM, CST.

8-Year-Old Burns Lids

We had my husband’s grandchildren at the house over the Christmas weekend.  Well, technically, they’re my grandchildren too, through marriage, so we’ll go with “our” grandchildren.  Anyway, Trinity is the precocious one, who likes to do things for others… on her own. 

This is not surprising, as she and her older sister have been doing their own laundry since they were six or so, and they have a big hand in the chores around their farm; feeding animals, and cleaning the poo out of stalls.  Work is not a four-letter word to them, by any means.

I had been told that Trinity, while only 8, enjoys cooking and has some experience doing that already, so when she asked to make us breakfast in bed, I was hesitant, but open to give her the ability to grow her confidence.  So, I just bit my lip and nervously listened to her clatter around out in the kitchen.  

She came rushing into the bedroom and whispered… well, it’s a Trinity whisper, so I could actually hear it quite clearly on the other side of the bed… 

She “whispered” into my husband’s ear, “Do you have to remove the lids before you turn it on?”

As I took a moment to ponder, what the “lids” were that she was referring to; my husband leapt out of the bed, as apparently his brain was functioning much better than mine was.

I finally realized what she was talking about and joined them out in the kitchen to find this:

Yes, Trinity.  You DO have to remove the “lids” before you turn the stove on to cook.  LOL!

In the end, the damage was only minimal, and the breakfast was actually quite good, once you got past the smell of burning metal that hung in the air.  

Honestly, it could’ve been MUCH worse, so there was no sense in getting angry about it.  The fact that Trinity took action and got us involved before it became worse, helped to avoid a huge disaster.  

We'll just remember this story and file it away to tell on her wedding day to her future husband!

 

What Does Christmas Mean to You?

What makes Christmas “Christmas” for you?  I got to thinking about this, because we’ve been pretty low on the snow, and I’m starting to grapple with the prospect that it’s going to be a brown Christmas.  Technically, it will be patchy green, as with all of the rain we’ve had, our lawn has seen a revival of epic proportions, but that’s another story. 

Does snow make it truly feel like Christmas for you?  I have to admit, it sort of does for me.  Lord knows my husband is chomping at the bit to get on his snowmobile and tear it up in the yard and on the trails, but snow isn’t the only thing that’s lacking for the vibe I’m missing this time of year.

I miss making the long trek from northern Illinois to Hokah to visit our relatives.  We would drive our dad absolutely nuts when we reached La Crescent, as it would be pitch-black dark, and we would begin to holler out the letters as they lit up on the Standard Oil sign.  S-T-A-N-D-A-R-D.  STANDARD!  STANDARD!  It was always the little things that we were amused by on that trip, but the sign signaled that we were almost to our grandparent's home in Hokah; a place where oodles of great memories were created.

I miss my grandma, Helen Hoskins.  I miss that she made awesome cutout cookies that were slathered with the icing that melted in your mouth and lovingly settled right onto your hips.  I miss that she baked an upright lamb cake to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  I miss that she always offered the neighbor kids, who were being raised Jehovah’s Witnesses, a slice of Jesus’ birthday cake with an encouraging smile.  

I miss that anticipation we had as kids to rip open our presents, which was always made more agonizing because we had to kneel on the hardwood floor in front of the nativity and pray the rosary first.  

I miss the music that filled the entire house, as every family member would add to the mix, with either with their voice, or with one or two instruments that they packed to bring home for the Hoskins Christmas celebration.  

I miss the scurrying around to get ready for Midnight Mass at St. Peter’s in Hokah.  I miss the energy and awe one felt sitting in the old wooden pews, gazing at the deep red poinsettias peppered around the front of the church, with the voices of the choir soaring high in harmony.  

I will always hold every choir to the St. Peter’s standard on Christmas.  Every former resident of Hokah that came home to be with their family would find their way up the creaky steps to take their old spot in the choir loft.  No one could hold a candle to the St. Peter’s bunch when they were at full force. 

Many of those members of the choir that I remember have passed on now, which gives me pangs of sadness, but at the same time, I can’t help but think that they are still there at Christmas, enjoying the music, and the families tucked together in the pews.

The wheels of time continue to turn, and things change.  What was once a normal experience has now become a memory that I cling to tightly, which brings me back to my initial question:  “What makes Christmas, “Christmas?”  

I think the answer is not snow.  It’s not someone who is no longer here.  It’s not watching Jehovah Witness children gobble down a slice of Jesus’ birthday cake.

It’s the memories that we have and the stories told about them that keep that spirit of Christmas alive.  Christmas is family, friends, and the journey of life so far.  

This is why at Christmas time; I tend to be fairly quiet, with my ears wide open, drinking in every story those who are older than me have to share.  I hope to retain those tales, and continue to share them with others when I’m that old person at the table, snarfing cookies mid-sentence.  

So don’t lament the lack of snow this Christmas, and don’t roll your eyes when your great uncle plunks down at the table with a frothy Tom & Jerry in hand, and proceeds to tell stories again.  Instead, pull up a chair and listen.  You could be creating some of the best memories you’ve ever had at Christmas.  

 

30 Highest Paid Musicians

According to Forbes, these are the Top 30 Highest Paid Musicians of 2015.  You can flip through the pages on Forbes' website HERE, if you want the nuts & bots on each of them.  Not surprisingly, Garth is the top country artist on the list.

Are you surprised by any on this list, or any that didn't make the list?  Seven and a half country artists made the list of 30... I say "half," since Taylor Swift has switched her focus away from country, for now.  Eight and a half, if we count the Eagles.  

Some on the list are obviously more flash and performance than legitimate "musicians," but I digress...

 1. Katy Perry – $135 million
 2. One Direction – $130 million
 3. Garth Brooks – $90 million
 4. Taylor Swift – $80 million
 5. The Eagles – $73.5 million
 6. Calvin Harris – $66 million
 7. Justin Timberlake – $63.5 million
 8. Diddy – $60 million
 9. Fleetwood Mac – $59.5 million
10. Lady Gaga – $59 million
11. The Rolling Stones – $57.5 million
12. Ed Sheeran – $57 million
13. Jay Z – $56 million
14. Beyoncé – $54.5 million
15. Elton John – $53.5 million
16. Toby Keith – $53 million
17. Paul McCartney – $51.5 million
18. Michael Buble – $45.5 million
19. Jason Aldean – $43.5 million
20. Luke Bryan – $42.5 million
21. Kenny Chesney – $42 million
22. Bruno Mars – $40 million
23. Drake – $39.5 million
24. Foo Fighters – $38 million
25. Tim McGraw – $38 million
26. David Guetta – $37 million
27. Florida Georgia Line – $36.5 million
28. Jimmy Buffett – $36 million
29. Tiesto – $36 million
30. Maroon 5 – $33 million (tie)
30. Dr. Dre – $33 million (tie)

 

 

Space Rocket Debris

 A large chunk of an American space rocket believed to be from the SpaceX Falcon 9 which exploded after take-off in Florida in June, has been found in the sea off the Isles of Scilly.

The section measures about 32 ft by 13ft. Because of its size and marking, some astronomers think it could be from a different mission.

Joseph Thomas, from Tresco Boat Services, found the section of rocket while going around the north end of the island. He thought at first it was a dead whale that gulls were feeding off of. When he got closer to it, he realized his mistake and attempted to drag it to the shore, but they couldn’t do so because it was so heavy.

Thomas said the piece was covered in goose barnacles and at first it was very hard to determine what it was. He initially thought it was part of a plane, but after scraping off some of the barnacles he saw that it was part of a rocket.

The group that thinks it is not from the June mission have determined that the piece does not appear to be from a rocket that exploded, but normal space junk. Further investigation will determine what it really is from.  Either way, it's still kind of cool to see, and crazy lucky that it didn't fall from the sky and kill anyone.  Can you imagine?

Phil tells me that there's a stretch of land over the panhandle of Idaho, where planes notoriously dump the waste tank, leaving incredible streaks of poo in the woodlands.  I don't know about you, but that disgusts me, and it sounds very illegal.  But if I had to pick, I'd rather get beaned by a frozen turd falling from the sky, over a chunk of a space rocket.

The Cost of Celebrating the Tradition

I'm not sure why, but if someone wanted to go out and buy all the gifts mentioned in the popular Christmas song “The 12 Days of Christmas,” you’d be paying a little more than you would have for the same gifts last year.  The partridge, the pear tree, and the leaping lords took a bump in price, driving the cost up this year by $197.77.

 PNC Wealth Management follows what the items in this song would cost a Christmas shopper every year, and this is what they found for 2015:

The combination of the first day, featuring a Partridge, now $25 (up from $20 last year) and the Pear tree, now $189.99 (up from $187.68) so...

  • A partridge in a pear tree: $214.99 (up from $207.68)
  • Two turtle doves: $290 (up from $260)
  • Three french hens: $181.50 (same in 2014)
  • Four calling birds: $599.96 (same)
  • Five gold rings: $750.00 (same)
  • Six geese-a-laying $360 (same)
  • Seven swans-a-swimming $13,125 (same)
  • Eight maids-a-milking: $58 (same)
  • Nine ladies dancing: $7,552.84 (same)
  • Ten lords-a-leaping: $5,508.70 (up from $5,348.24 last year)
  • Eleven pipers piping: $2,635.20 (same)
  • Twelve drummers drumming: $2,854.80 (same)

The grand total?  $34,130.99, up from $33,933.22 in 2014. It would cost $155,407.18 to buy the presents every time they are repeated in the song (364 gifts). That’s up from $154,508.08 last year.

 

 

Am I a Hoarder?

I think we can all admit to blowing money on some stupid things.  I'd like to think that I can learn from mistakes, but apparently that is not the case; at least when it comes to lipstick.  I hope I'm not alone; I mean I can't believe I am.

I have wasted TONS of money on lipstick, that appeared to be a nice shade in the store, only to make my lips look like they would enter the room first.  Nasty.

But yet, I hang onto these offending tubes.  I have a little basket in a drawer in my bathroom filled with rejected shades.  I'm not sure if I'm keeping them, to justify spending the money on them, or if I am exhibiting the early symptoms that will land me on the show about chronic hoarders. 

It's not like the shade will eventually work on me, like I hope the closet full of smaller-sized clothes will eventually fit again. *sigh.

I can't believe I'm confessing this stupidity.  Somebody please tell me I'm not alone!  Do other women do this too?

Treats of a Different Variety

Despite the overwhelming amount of candy in the aisles of every store this time of year, I have yet to break down and purchase any Halloween candy yet.  I know myself way too well.  I've eaten entire bags of candy.  I mean, they were "Fun Size" after all, so I felt obligated to see just how much fun they were.  My mouth delighted in that brand of fun.  My waistline and butt... not so much.

I'm intrigued by the new movement for Halloween Trick or Treaters--called "The Teal Pumpkin Project."  It would seem that it would serve dual purpose for someone like me who struggles to shut up bags of candy from calling me to eat them. 

First and foremost, the Teal Pumpkin Project is a movement to provide safe treats to kids who may have food allergies.  It makes sense, as it would seem there are increasingly more and more kids with peanut allergies, or other allergies that can be life-threatening. 

The gist of the project is that you paint a pumpkin teal and leave it on your front steps as decoration, signifying that you are handing out non-candy treats--things that will be safe for kids with food allergies.  It's a cool idea, and it makes it a lot easier for parents to not have to crush the fun of Trick or Treating for their kids who have food allergies, by having to remove the offending candy from the haul. 

But let's be honest here.  Parents steal kids' candy all the time after Halloween.  Dad "having" to eat a Payday candy bar out of his kids bucket, might be a real treat for Dad, and not just a life-saving measure for his kid with peanut allergies. 

At any rate, the Teal Pumpkin Project is a cool idea.  I may end up participating, not just to help parents with kids who have food allergies, but to prevent myself from devouring bags of Halloween candy before the day even gets here.