Thursday, November 15, 2018

Your 2018 CMA Awards recap: Nashville's love of the deep v-neck continues

Dear 2018 CMA Awards, 

They say there is no better cure for sadness then laughter. For the past week, we who call Butte County home have experienced our fair share of the latter. With this in mind, myself and this bottle of wine sitting in front of me (thank you to the monks at New Clairvaux Winery for this years sponsorship), would like to present to you the 7th or 8th annual review of the CMA Awards.

  1. Luke Bryan opens the show talking about what “makes you country”. Apparently skinny jeans is still the ticket in Nashville. 
  2. The big guy from Blues Traveler joins him on stage minus his harmonica. 
  3. Lindsey Ell takes part in this ensemble. I take back everything I have said to this point. 
  4. Carrie Underwood and my baby look amazing. 
  5. Do you think Brad Paisley’s hat looks at other cowboy hats and sheds a tear? 
  6. Note to kids…Drop out of school, find a Walmart and start yodeling. You will be far better off. 
  7. Chris Stapleton takes the stage in fringe and a cowboy hat that would make Sam Elliot smile. My conscious is telling me to turn the TV off and go to bed, you have reached the pinnacle of the show. 
  8. They have found a way to make a Jason Aldean performance tolerable. Include Miranda Lambert in it. 
  9. Apparently the guy from Blues Traveler’s real name is Luke Combs. He just won new artist of the year. Can you please play Hook? 
  10. Currently Rhett Akins has that, “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” look on his face during his sons performance. 
  11. Dan and Shay identify as country musicians. 
  12. Chris Stapleton collects his second award of the night. Hopefully this is the start of a Joe DiMaggio like streak. 
  13. The camera pans to Lionel Ritchie sitting in the audience. It is there way of reminding us that this is Country Music Awards show all night long. (see what I did there) 
  14. Add Lauren Alaina to the list of women who can make Nashville great again. 
  15. I feel like Old Dominion should be serving me lattes and pour overs not singing about hotel keys. 
  16. Carrie, don’t worry, I have plenty of crackers on the night stand for you and the baby. 
  17. Brett Young is currently singing “Mercy”. My current thoughts concerning this show. 
  18. Did they really pull Ricky Skaggs out of the county fair and tribal casino lineup? 
  19. Those outfits and that sound, Midland is what is right with country music. More of them and less of everything else is a good thing. 
  20. Great to see Carrot Top is still shining as a blonde. 
  21. Kacey Musgraves wins Album of the Year. The “me too” movement looks good on Nashville Country. 
  22. I am glad to see Florida Georgia Line in all white. When I tell them there’s leather bracelets scattered across a busy freeway it will then not be considered a hate crime. 
  23. Seven or eight years of doing this and Bon Jovi still hasn't sang Bad Medicine. 
  24. Garth is the Sheriff Honea of country music. Legend. 
  25. But I’m speaking for us all when I think it’s time for that Chris Gaines comeback tour. 
  26. Luke Combs is the one who is stealing food off of Tim McGraw’s plate. 
  27. Miranda is the Tapatio of country music. She makes everything better. 
  28. Chris, Maren, Mavis, The Scarf and Mrs. Stapleton, just set down the mic and walk away. Simply amazing. 
  29. Dierks, hell week isn't till the end of the semester. Take off that white t-shirt and those dirty jeans before we lose our chapter! 
  30. Chris Stapleton: Male Vocalist of the Year. Maybe you are finally listening Nashville. 
  31. Close your eyes and just listen to Kasey Musgraves. It will take you back to that twang that made Nashville great.  
  32. Speaking of that, get Jon Pardi on that stage! 
  33. Eric Church’s sound continues to drift towards that of Sturgill Simpson. This is a good thing. 
  34. Carrie Underwood wins female vocalist of the year. Get that girl a drink. Wait…..
  35. “Kangaroos, wallabies, boomerang, ya ya ya, no no no, ya, Johnny worked on the docks,  koala bears, damn yankees, veggie mite, beet on hamburgers, beers, mate this and mate that, suck it Tom Cruise, bad medicine is what I need, thank you.” Keith Urban’s acceptance speech for Entertainer of the Year. 

Three hours and two bottle of wine lighter and that’s a wrap. The take home from the night is that more Chris Stapleton and artists like him and the numerous woman who continue to dominate the airwaves is what Nashville needs. Somewhere Reba is smiling really fancy….

Ps. Happy Pre-Friday on this smoked filled day in Northern California. We have been hit with a lot up here over the last week and with it have seen a community come together like never before. Thank you to all who have helped and those who continue too, you are what makes this nation great and remember….Sheriff Hoena is the reason you don't hear Chuck Norris jokes anymore. Butte County Strong….


#CMAawards #nashville #countrymusic #campfire #buttecountystrong #empireliving 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Tenured should not mean security in higher education




(PLEASE SEE ARTICLE BELOW) 

Dear Fresno State President Joseph Castro and USU Chancellor Tim White, 
I have no problem with Randa Jarrar's remarks concerning the late Mrs. Bush and the hate she has towards the Bush family. It is her right as a citizen of this nation to speak freely, no matter how asinine or appalling it maybe. 
My issue is with the comment, "I work as a tenured professor. I make $100K a year doing that. I will never be fired." 
Your pompous attitude and general disregard to the taxpayers who provide you with this generous salary and a forum to push your views on the youth of this nation instead of providing them with the tools as an educator to make there own thought provoking decisions is an example of what is wrong with higher education in this country. 
Contrary to what you believe, you're a public employee that can be reprimanded and/or terminated for misconduct and lack of job performance at anytime. 
There are countless professors across the UC and CSU system who kill it everyday in order to provide this state’s future with the education and unbiased knowledge it deserves, yet are not compensated at a fitting level while others continue to collect a paycheck in the name of “tenure” while providing nothing of substance to the student. 
Fresno State President Joseph Castro and CSU Chancellor Timothy White, I ask as one of the millions of tax payers in this state to make an example of Randa Jarrar and others like her in public education. Our future depends on it. God Bless and please share. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

When a conversation touches your soul

Dear Christmas Spirit, 

Yesterday while enjoying a burger and fries courtesy of In-n-Out, an older lady asked if she minded if she and her friend could sit next to me. My reply was, “No ma’am” with a smile. We chatted for a bit about Christmas and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season before she made her way to the counter to pick up her order. 

As she was leaving, her friend made her way to the table to join us. The lady was in her 60’s and appeared to be mentally disabled, possibly Down Syndrome. I ask her how she was and how her day was going and she replied, “Hi! my name is Gayle. My day has been really good!” I laughed and smiled at the enthusiasm that was in here voice. We chatted about Christmas, the beauty of an In-n-Out fry and other things having to do with the holidays. 

This led into some intimate details about her life. She explained she wasn't that into the Christmas spirit as much since she lost her husband of forty years recently. Gayle then proceeded to reveal more about herself and the life she has lived. 

She informed me that when she was 7 years old her mom decided that she couldn't raise a child with a disability and wanted to put her in a home. It is what here mother said to her next and Gayle’s response is what made me want to cry, show anger and smile all at the same time. 

Her mother said…..”You are retarded, and I don't want you” to which Gayle responded…”You’re the one who is retarded for wanting to give up on your child.” 

Think about it….How evil must one be to say that to someone they are suppose to love and nurture? Especially to not only a child, but one with a disability. Insert anger and sadness here. 

It was her response to such a heinous act by a parent that was both remarkable and inspirational, especially for a child at such a young age. True grit in the face of adversity. 

As I continued to process what she had just told me, she proceeded to let me know that she was then raised by other family members and always remembered the words her mother uttered to her when she found herself experiencing hardship in her life as motivation. Insert smile here. 

Gayle, thank you for both the conversation and putting a smile on my face. It was a gift that didn't need to be bought and wrapped, only the ability to open up and share a life changing story with a neighbor. You have reminded me that there is still hope for humanity in this world. God Bless and Merry Christmas… 

Ps. Happy holiday peeps! May you find yourself surrounded by family and loved ones this weekend and remember…..The world needs more stories like the one above, and less of everything else. Heard that. 


#Christmas #inspiration #holiday #season #innout #gayle #thankyou #empireliving

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The 2017 CMA Awards: Your guide to all that isn't country

Dear 2017 CMA Awards, 

Hello their friends! It’s been quite a while since we have had the pleasure of getting together but as November begins it brings with it the awards show that country music fans love and well, I really loathe due to the fact that I must sit through three hours of what Nashville loosely describes as “country” music in order to bring you the most comprehensive and more importantly honest recap of the nights entertainment. Please sit back and enjoy the 6th or 7th annual review of the CMA Awards once again brought to you by Tito’s vodka…. (remember, I do it all for you the fans) 

  1. Show starts of with Eric Church performing Amazing Grace. Their is a smile on my face. My better judgment says I should shut off the TV and go to bed happy 
  2. I decide against this and am now subjected to Hootie. You win again Nashville. 
  3. Kix Brooks, it’s November 8th, you can take the Halloween mask off. 
  4. Do you think God looks down on Carrie Underwood’s legs and smiles knowing he just got it right? 
  5. Brad Paisley at the hat store: “Make me look like an idiot.” Hat store employee: “Say no more.” 
  6. Just saw Pink in the crowd. It has nothing to do with country but then again neither does this show. 
  7. Bon Jovi wins the first award of the night. I can’t recall hearing the song “Blue” on the Bad Medicine album. 
  8. Staying with the theme of the night, Taylor Swift wins song of the year. 
  9. It is currently 8:30pm on Wednesday and I’m laying on my couch taking notes. I am not on stage dressed in a Batman shirt purchased at the Baby Gap and pleather camouflage jacket claiming to be a country musician. Just stating facts. 
  10. The current crop of female artist such as Kelsea Ballerinai may just give Nashville a glimmer of hope. 
  11. Reba is like fine wine, she still got it. 
  12. During the commercial break I learn that Luke Bryan is now on American Idol. Somewhere Randy Jackson is shaking his head and saying, “That’s a NO for me dawg.”  
  13. Miranda….Stunning simply does not do you justice tonight. 
  14. Jon Pardi wins New Artist of the Year. Makes that Northern Comfort t-shirt hanging in my closet that much more special. As one of those fans who saw you in those backyards and dive bars from Chico to Winters….Congrats buddy. 
  15. Garth just wakes up and pisses excellence. 
  16. I still miss Chris Gaines though. 
  17. Brothers Osborne, dressing as Tom Brady doesn't allow me to go home to Giselle just as dressing like Chris Stapleton does not afford you talent. 
  18. Don Williams and Jason Boland are the only two people allowed to sing “Tulsa Time”. One is dead and the other isn't on stage. 
  19. Charlie Pride was just mentioned. A smile comes across my face. 
  20. Chris Stapleton: Album of the Year. Please refer to the above mentioned statement. 
  21. People, for just 10 cents a day we can feed Tim McGraw. 
  22. Faith, there’s some old crackers on my nightstand if you're interested. 
  23. It was just announced that Pink was going to make country’s biggest night, bigger. Makes total sense. 
  24. Pink is on stage. Carson Daly and the rest of the TRL crew are standing by waiting to take your calls. 
  25. You can dye your hair blonde and start a group called Little Big Town but I still know it’s you Carrot Top. 
  26. I still have no idea what a Brothers Osborne is but because of you there is no more Florida or Georgia or Line. You have a fan for life. 
  27. If Chris Stapleton just performed this whole show I wouldn't be mad. 
  28. Maren Morris is pure gypsy couture and that’s a good thing. 
  29. Carrie Underwood, their will always be a fresh box of crackers next to my bed for you. This is a lifetime offer. 
  30. Carrot Top’s rise to fame in the country music business is complete. Vocal Group of the Year. 
  31. At no time during a country music song should you be waving your hands in there air like you just don't care. 
  32. Jon Pardi, please just play the DUI song and let the world experience your first real #1 hit. 
  33. Donald Trump, can you build a wall between us and Australia to keep Keith Urban out? 
  34. See that…Miranda just winked at me in her acceptance speech. Love ya babe. 
  35. Eric Church would be a country music star in any generation. 
  36. With every Chris Stapleton win, it little by little restores my faith in Nashville. 
  37. Garth wins Entertainer of the Year. This coupled with Luke Bryan taking home no trophy’s made the night not a total loss. 

Three hours and a lighter bottle of Tito’s later and Nashville still doesn't get it. The greatest performance of the night could be found outside the arena where Sturgill Simpson performed for 45 minutes on the sidewalk. Don’t know who he is???….Look him up, I promise you won’t be disappointed. It’s artist like him that will truly make Nashville Great Again. God Bless….

Ps. Happy Pre-Friday peeps on this cold and wet morning in God’s country. I miss y'all and hope to be writing more soon, Enjoy your day and remember….If the love doesn't feel like 90’s R&B, you don't want it. 


#CMA’s #Nashville #Countrymusic #realcountry #makenashvillegreatagain #empireliving 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

There is no apartheid in a foxhole

Dear Charlottesville, 

When will we learn as a country that the complexion of your skin doesn't define a person?

241 years,  a civil war and numerous other transgressions later and we still haven't figured out as a nation that there are only three colors that matter….Red, white and blue. Until we do, we the people are doomed to fail.

Citizens are granted freedoms in the United States that people in other countries die for trying to obtain everyday. We continue to morally decline when it comes to them. As the events in Virginia unfolded over the weekend the hate that we have towards one another brought light to this situation. In 2017, swastika flags and the KKK shouldn't be front page news, yet there they were on full display for the world to see. The first amendment gives people of this nation the right to free speech, it doesn't however grant them tact and class. We as a country need to take a step back and realize right from wrong. For example: 

Wrong: 

1. If you wave a Nazi flag in America you are by any definition an idiot. The reason why your first language isn't German today is because the greatest generation this country has seen defeated the hate associated with it. 

2. Wearing a hood and chanting racial slurs doesn't make you tough, it mean you are a coward who is afraid of the consequences of your actions. 

3. Vandalizing and illegally tearing down historic statues doesn't change the past. They are part of history and we are meant to learn from the accomplishment and mistakes of those who came before us. 

4. Hating a person based on skin color, race, religion, etc. We have had a lifetime to learn this lesson, yet a select few still fail at it everyday. 

Right: 

1. Not doing any of the above mentioned transgressions. 

See how easy that is? Common sense continues to be at a loss in our current society. 

Leadership in the highest office continues to fail is when it comes to racial tension. I have never had a problem with someone taking the time to get the facts right before making a statement based solely on a political agenda, but Donald, if you see someone with a Nazi flag in their hand throwing up the Hitler salute you should have immediately been in front of a camera addressing the nation and denouncing this heinous conduct. You’re the President of the United States, act like it. 

You can portray yourselves as white nationalist, alt right, black lives matter, new black panthers or any other organization that puts an emphasis on ones skin tone and spew resentment towards another. You are a hate group plain and simple, and this country has no need for you or your cause. 

One of my favorite movie lines is “There’s no apartheid in a foxhole.” We wake up and battle everyday at this game called life, and I like to know that the people I choose to go through it with have my back no matter what the color of mine or there skin is. We are one nation and until we figure that out as a whole, the fraction will divide us and ultimately destroy what so many great people created, which is the United States. God Bless…..

PS. 

Happy hump day peeps on this mild August day. If you do one thing today, have the courage to make some smile and remember…..Take a look in the mirror, that’s your competition. 

#Charlottesville #Virginia #racism #trump #unitedstates #president #empireliving

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Russia made me write this post

Dear election interference by the Russians, 

Raise your hand if any actions by Russia influenced you to vote for President Trump in this past election. Anyone?… Anyone?….I am guessing that if you are reading this both hands are still being occupied by what they were previously doing. Why is it that nine months after the final ballot was cast and seven months since his inauguration, the media is still enamored with this issue? It’s quite, simple, they would rather see someone fail rather then succeed. It is what sells and is why we continue to suffer as a nation. 

The latest concerning this topic is that the President’s oldest son made contact with a Russian lawyer/movie star/chambermaid/Putin confidant prior to the election to dig up dirt on his father’s competition. GOD FORBID!!!! This my friends happens every day, not only in the world of politics, but in this game we call life. We as humans like to win, and will do anything possible to achieve our goals. It is in our nature, no matter how callow that sounds. There isn't a political figure past or present who has not utilized all their resources in order to get the desired results…Which is too WIN. Sometimes it might not be ethical in the way these conclusions are achieved, but if it is done in a legal manner, then what is the issue? 

We as a country try to influence leadership around the world on a daily basis. Whether we are supporting guerrillas in South America to helping an opposing party overthrow the current leadership in some Middle Eastern country, we have been guilty of this for years. It is what world powers do to gain leverage over their advisories and expand there empire. It doesn't matter if the person in office is conservative, liberal or middle of the road in their political views. They are looking for ways to expand the reach and importance of this nation. 

Russia didn't influence Americans to vote for Trump, the devastation that the previous regime did. Our country was split like no other time since the Civil War and we the people wanted change. Hillary Clinton provided another four years of what we had gone through the previous eight, and if you think that would have been good for the country, you are part of the problem. 

I am not saying that Trump was the right choice to fix this great nation, but he was an alternative that we had not seen yet, which to me was the best choice. This is why he was elected President of the United States. Not by Russia releasing information that we already knew about concerning his opponent, but by men and women of this country looking for change. 

Horses can only be beating so much. Think fake birth certificates, emails on private servers, Barry watching SportCenter on the reg, etc. Let us finally move on from this subject, and get back to making this country great. God Bless….

Ps. Happy Pre-Friday peeps on another hot day in the north state. May you find a cocktail in your hand later and remember….Don’t be eye candy. Be soul food. 


#America #trump #russia #putin #election #president #makeamericagreat #empireliving

Friday, June 30, 2017

The forgotting art of honesty

Dear Honesty,

What is our fascination as a society with dishonesty? To family, friends, co-workers and most importantly the people we love?

We like to say that we do this to protect and not hurt another but in reality, it does the exact opposite. Whether in business or your personal life, this can be a slippery slope and we have all been guilty of it.

People will often do it without realizing the consequences. It is a safety method that we use to protect ourselves and avoid conflict. This can be from discussing a business deal with a partner, choosing a place to eat with friends or making plans with your significant other. We sometimes feel that not saying anything is the best policy. Now this can be true on most occasions, there’s nothing wrong by going with the flow on simple matters, it’s the ones where more is at stake that this openness needs to be unveiled.

The most attractive quality a human being can display is honesty. Not just too the people around them but to themselves. The vulnerability that it presents is what makes it such a special trait. It is a conversation from the heart, and nothing is more extraordinary. Overcoming the fear of honestly opening up to another is one of the most satisfying things in life. What you have to say may hurt that person at that moment, but the pain is far greater to them if you withhold it. We can all speak from experience on this.

In this day and age of social media and round the clock news people are constantly trying to show the rest of us that they live in a perfect world when in reality it is quite the opposite. The majority of society is afraid of being judged and that includes myself. We tend to show and tell people what we want them to hear, and not the truth for all the above-mentioned reasons. All this gets us is a few likes on Facebook or Instagram and a continued emptiness inside. Life is far greater than this. With that statement, I would like to present to you this:

My name is Marc Breckenridge and I’m 41 years old (I know I look way younger). I was born and raised in Woodland, CA and now call Chico home. Agricultural is my career of choice. Farming brings a smile to my face. I have a black lab named Cosby who is my road dog in life. I enjoy an ice cold by any given body of water. Spontaneous travel is my jam. I have been in love. I pray every morning. I have made my fair share of mistakes. I do my best to recognize these and work constantly to improve myself. I have a hard time putting what I mean into words sometimes. My friends are the world to me and I can never thank them enough for letting me into their lives. I constantly am tearing down walls from past experiences. Opening up to people, even those close has always been hard for me. I have a big heart and wear it on my sleeve for the people I love and care about. I’m pretty awesome (Well, at least for the most part).

See how easy that was? Put yourself on that ledge and try it sometime, you may never know who you will make smile because of it, and this my friends is priceless….

PS. Happy Friday peeps on my favorite holiday weekend! May you all get the chance to celebrate this great nation’s birthday and remember….We may have our differences but it is our flag that allows us these. God Bless.


#honesty #openess #family #friends #lovedones #america #4thofjuly #empireliving