There's a snake in the toilet...

OK...so it can happen.
I'll never look at a toilet the same way again.

True story. A man in St. Petersburg, Florida lassoed a snake that was poking its head out from his toilet. It turned out that the snake was a six-foot-long African rock python. >>Read more.


French Quarter FUN!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the French Quarter Cafe last night to hear Dawn, Melissa and me. We had a blast! AND, Johnny the Clock and Kiwamu kicked booty backin' me up as well. It was GREAT FUN. Can't wait to do it again.

Be sure to put Friday, 4/29 at 7:30 p.m. on you calendar as well. Jack Scott asked me to perform an entire set at the French Quarter that night... so... I'm puttin' together a band for the occasion. Right now, it will be Steve C (guitar), Kiwamu (guitar), JTC and a bass player yet to be named. It should be a RIOT. We're going to funk out brothers and sistahhhhhs. ; )


PS: I'm tryin' to think of a cool band name and need some ideas. Hit me with some good ones!

World's highest tennis match

In preparation for the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open, tennis legend, Andre Agassi and the world No. 1, Roger Federer, couldn’t resist the temptation to have a friendly knock about on the world’s highest tennis court, the helipad of Burj Al Arab, the world’s most luxurious hotel.

Hope they don't forget themselves and dive for a stray ball.


Close Call in Flight for Many Nashville Biggies

Sunday, an American Airlines plane flying out of St. Martin in the Caribbean to Miami nearly crashed. Flight 2160 was carrying many Nashville singers and songwriters who'd just played the "Country in the Caribbean" benefit on the Isle of Anguilla. On the plane were Billy Ray Cyrus, Shannon Brown and her husband, video director Shaun Silva, songwriters Chuck Cannon, Jeffrey Steele, Scotty Emerick, James Slater, Bob DiPiero, Kylie Sackley, GAC's Storme Warren and Brett Johnson, and Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, twin sons of the late Ricky Nelson.

The 757 jet liner experienced an electrical failure that completely shut down engines, forcing a rapid descent into San Juan, Puerto Rico for an emergency landing. "All I kept thinking was, man, nobody's gonna get a chance to hear all the songs we just wrote," said Cannon. "I had an eerie feeling when I got on this flight," added Matthew Nelson. "I saw half of Nashville's music community on board and I just got an eerie vibe." Published on: 02/22/2005



CMT Crossroads

If you haven't had a chance to catch the newest CMT Crossroads, I recommend you check it out. It is Keith Urban and John Fogerty...and I think it is one of the best ones yet. Looks like it airs again tonight (Wednesday, 2/23) at 8 p.m. (central time).

If you get a chance to check it out, you'll also see some of the musicians we get to see play around Nashville all the time. (Chris McQue plays drums with Keith. Bob Brit and Billy Burnett are playing guitar in John Fogerty's band. And, Delbert McClinton's former bass player is also in the JF mix...but his name is escaping me right now.)

Song Camp 101 Overview

Wow. I spent the last three days (2/20 - 22) at NSAI's Song Camp 101 here in Nashville. It was overwhelmingly excellent. So good, I'm not even sure I can explain how good it was right now.

There are so many ideas and foundational songwriting things floating around in my head, it is hard to focus on anything else. I've got some songs to re-write...but for the most part am ready to just start writing new songs using all the great tools I learned at Song Camp.

Song Camp faculty included:

Tim Johnson:
"Thank God For Believers" (Mark Chestnutt) and "Someone You Used To Know" (Collin Raye)

Hugh Prestwood:
"The Song Remembers When" (Trisha Yearwood), "On The Verge" (Collin Raye)

James Dean Hicks:
"The Hole" (Randy Travis), "Jesus and Mama" (Confederate Railroad)

Ralph Murphy:
"He Got You" (Ronnie Milsap), "Half The Way" (Crystal Gayle)

Rick Beresford:
"If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me" (George Jones)

Angela Kaset:
"Something In Red" (Lorrie Morgan), "What If It's Me" (Jennifer Day)

Each person brought a unique perspective and advice, but, there was also a lot of very consistent information provided as well. When I come down from the experience a little, I'll tell you more about it.

In the meantime...I'll be catching up at work and writing more songs!


Dusty computer screen?

Click here if you need to clean the inside of your computer screen.
(Be patient...it may take a little bit for this to download.)

Girls with Guitars

Yesterday was a crazy day. First...well...I worked. Then, I helped serve the Lenten supper at CLC and put up signs for our vision team stuff.

From there, I skipped-out on choir to see Micol and Ricky Davis ( BMT) play with Girls with Guitars at Douglas Corner. Well, Ricky technically backed Micol-up...since he's not a girl and all.

It was a GREAT night of incredible performers. Micol, of course, blew everyone away once again. I think eight women performed over the course of the night and Micol was the only one that the crowd demanded sing an extra song at the end of her set. (No surprise here!)

One of my new favorite Nashville chick writers was hosting the night, Cindy Kalmenson . She's an incredible writer, singer and person. I've only just met her but hope to get to know her better. She's got a GREAT spirit.

Another cool aspect of the night was getting to see Mindy Smith who came out to see Micol perform. (Micol and she are good friends.) She's taking a little break from the road to write. Mindy also just finished shooting a video that I'm sure we'll all be seeing soon on CMT...I think she said the video is for the song "One Moment More" but I can't remember for sure. She's good stuff and if you haven't checked out her album...it's definitely a keeper.


Internet serves as proving ground

By Peter Johnson
USA Today
Many observers view the resignation of veteran CNN executive Eason Jordan, after a drumbeat of Internet criticism over his remarks about journalists being targeted by the U.S. military in Iraq, as evidence of Web bloggers' increasing clout. >>Read more at USAToday.com


Defending Anheuser-Busch's 'Applause' Spot

Super Bowl Ad Commentary by Hoag Levins

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Since the Super Bowl there has been a good deal of debate about Anheuser-Busch's "Applause" spot, with some European pundits even suggesting the third-quarter commercial was a marketing blunder.

They're wrong.

Emotional impact
As the author of AdAge.com's weekly TV Spots of The Week column, where I rated it my favorite Super Bowl ad, and also as a Vietnam veteran, I found that "Applause" touched into that 5,000-volt area of feelings about war and honor and death and duty in a way that brought tears to my eyes. It was a common reaction to an ad that physically extended beyond the TV screen. At last week's iMedia Summit in Bonita Springs, Fla., attendees began to spontaneously applaud as they watched the commercial -- literally becoming part of the airport terminal crowd in the spot.

In terms of a brand's need to emotionally connect with the true and most important feelings of its audience, this ad achieved a rare level of success. In terms of contrary international reaction, it is not surprising that many of the world's factions would find the ad as exactly repugnant as we find Osama bin Laden's video manifestos.

2000 'Respect'
In the end, "Applause," created by Omnicom's DDB, Chicago, was a work as brilliant as it was powerful. It will ultimately be as well-remembered as Anheuser-Busch's 2002 Super Bowl "Respect" spot that had the Clydesdales genuflecting in homage before the crater where the World Trade Center once stood.
~ ~ ~
Hoag Levins is the editor of AdAge.com.


Nashville Blogger Meet-up

On Saturday, I attended a "Nashville Blogger Meet-up" with Lindadblu and Bruce LeRoy. There were probably 20 or 25 people there. It was great to meet some of the people behind the blogs and get to say hello to old friends as well. Hammock-man was there with his son Knight...who got to help sign-off the AM newscast. Pretty cool.

The most interesting part of it for me was just stepping foot into News 2 for the first time in almost two years. Despite my initial apprehension about this, it went well. Saw some old friends and got to see some things that have happened since I left.

While the tone of the meet-up was up and positive. I must say, red flags went up in my head...only because I know that for the most part the station (management) is long on talk and short on action. News 2 says they are going to "collaborate with bloggers" and Sechrist gave the bloggers present at the meet-up an outline of how they plan to do this. My hope is that there is really a plan...an that they will follow-through. Keep your fingers crossed that it wasn't just a bunch of hot air.

Funeral of a friend's daughter.

After my meet-up on Saturday, I attended and sang at the funeral of Manny and Pat Buzell's daughter. A severe asthma attack took Jackie's life last Monday. She was only 43.

The whole thing really hit me when I saw Manny & Pat give her one last kiss goodbye. It took everything I had not to cry while I was singing...I was shaking.

Then her husband spoke about her...and I cried giant crocodile tears. They were a team and he was lost without her.

While the whole experience was so sad...it also caused me to take stock in my life (as these events often do). It made me appreciate my wonderful husband more than ever. John is my better half and the thought of living in a world without him...well...I don't want to think about it.

It also made me think hard about our families and friends. They're literally a thousand miles away. I've got to get better at keeping in touch and letting them know that I do think about them all the time. Sometimes it's just too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day. Time passes way too quickly. I don't ever want to wish that I'd called or visited more often...because at some point...it will be too late.

Anyway...blah blah blah....
Love you guys.


NSAI Song Camp 101

I'm thinking about attending NSAI's Song Camp 101...but am not sure whether I should bite the bullet or not ($395).

Leaning toward doing it... partly because the camp includes some huge songwriters that I could learn from / network with AND partly because it falls over our President's holiday at work and I'll only have to take one vacation day to make it work.

What do you think?
Should I go for it?

UPDATE: OK...I'm goin' for it. Droppin' off my tape and (gulp) check 2/16. I'll let you know how it goes!

TONIGHT at 6:15!!!

Just wanted to give you a quick reminder that I'm playing tonight at the French Quarter Cafe in East Nashville. Joining me are Kiwamu Stewart (guitar) and Johnnny the Clock (percussion). They'll be kickin' in the grooves and makin' things feel good.

If you're not sure where to find the French Quarter, below is the address and a link to Mapquest so you can find your way from where you are...and then there you are...will be...? Well...you get my drift. ;)

French Quarter Cafe
823 Woodland Street
Phone : 615-227-3100

Mapquest driving directions link:

Hopefully, I'll see some of you tonight!

UPDATE: Saw TONS OF YOU at the gig Thursday night (2/10). THANK YOU so much for coming out to support my music habit. Lindadblu, Daisy, Betty, Patricia, Tim, Donna, Bill, Rick, Rollie, Rosemary, Gary, Marilyn, Frank, Beth, Mike, Bob, Jenny, Julia & friend, Dawn, Melissa, Kiwamu and JTC...y'all ROCK.

NEXT GIG: French Quarter; 2/24 at 7 p.m.


NBC's Go-To Guy

While Fox News Channel remains the favorite network of Republican lawmakers, NBC's new anchor, Brian Williams, is the one turning GOP heads. Message guru and former MSNBC contributor Frank Luntz says in a confidential memo to Hill leaders that Williams has emerged as the "go-to network anchor" because of his brains and "lack of detectable ideological bias." Luntz credits NBC Executive Producer Steve Capus for "a flawless transition to a new generation of news anchor." Still, Fox and CNN lead the nets when it comes to GOP loyalty. (US News & World Report)

Objectivity and non-bias in the news...what a concept?!
Go Brian Williams!



Super Bowl Ads

Of course, JTC and I watched the Super Bowl. Well...JTC watched the game and I watched a movie on my computer. When the ads came on, I paused the movie to watch the ads. And, let me say, it was pretty much a wasted effort. This year's effort was mediocre at best. My favorite was the Ameriquest "Cat Killer" spot. John and I almost peed in our pants over it.

Anyway, CLICK HERE if you didn't get to see them all...or want to watch them again.


Search ads fastest-growing category in advertising

Super Bowl viewers who go online during the game are as likely to find modest text ads promoting the same products as the $80,000-per-second in-game advertising. "You're seeing advertising move into advertising that people can seek out, and moving away from mass advertising," said Peter Sealey, a former Coca-Cola marketing executive and business school professor. The New York Times (free registration) (2/4)

Peanuts' philosophy.

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip.

You don't have to actually answer the questions.
Just read it straight through.
You'll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winner for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz.
See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.


The lesson:

The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

~ ~ ~
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today.
It's already tomorrow in Australia."

-Charles Schultz


Rodney Not Available

Even in death, Rodney Dangerfield gets no respect. The late comedy legend's longtime publicist, Kevin Sasaki, got a call from a booker at CNN last week asking him if "Rodney would be available to share his comments on the passing and legacy of Johnny Carson." Sasaki replied that unless CNN had a new way of linking up to the afterlife via satellite, that would be impossible. Dangerfield, of course, passed away last October. Ironically, his new DVD set, "Rodney Dangerfield - The Ultimate No Respect Collection," was posthumously released last month, and includes clips culled from his more than 70 appearances on "The Tonight Show." (PAGE SIX - NY Post)