Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The state of mainstream country music: 2014 edition

Dear CMA Awards,

Hello everybody and I would like to welcome you my 3rd annual review of the CMA Awards show. Yes, it’s that time of year again when I settle on the couch with a bottle of vodka in one hand and optimism in the other to give you my thoughts on the state of mainstream country music today.

1.       Good start to the show. The producers must have read my review last year because they are trying to throw me off by attacking my weakness…Hot blonde women. Well played Nashville.
2.       Taylor Swift is seated next to the King George Strait. 15 minutes into the show and my TV has its first near death experience.
3.       48 other states are glad they are not associated with the Buckle commercial that is masquerading as a country music duet that is currently on stage.
4.       Taking scissors to a Garth Brooks t-shirt for reasons other than dressing a wound is punishable by death in most regions of the country.
5.       I’m currently accepting donations on Brad Paisley’s part to fund the purchase and shaping of a new hat.
6.       365 days later and I am still trying to find a reason to hate Blake Shelton. Still, no closer to this goal.
7.       Nashville, do you see that…Jeans, boots and a cowboy hat. No frills. His name is George Strait and he has once again saved my TV from certain doom.
8.       Lee Brice, are you capable of singing about anything that isn’t automobile related?
9.       If they gave Guy Fieri a guitar, his look could pass as a country act in Nashville.
10.   Eric Church, when you decide to look like a Beatle at least chose one with talent.
11.   The rip in the skinny jean is a new touch to the Nashville starter kit.
12.   Once again there attempt at trickery to cloud my judgment has no bounds. The use of a hot Columbian blonde is criminal.
13.   I see Taylor Swift hasn’t taken my advice to play in a busy street.
14.   Is Prince Harry Florida or Georgia?
15.   I would have preferred “Bad Medicine” over that song that Jon Bon Jovi just preformed…Wait, you’re telling me that’s Keith Urban???
16.   Hootie just flashed across the screen. It’s time remove the remote from the equation.  
17.   “Call me elf one more time….” –Justin Moore
18.   Finally, tight jeans on a woman.
19.   Tim and Faith. Class and elegance at its finest.
20.   Carrie Underwood, there is a box of crackers on my nightstand with your name on it.
21.   Jason Aldean, a silk scarf cancels out all “bad ass” you were trying to achieve with that black ensemble.
22.   Remember when Toby Keith was relevant?
23.   Leather bracelets are the Swatch Watches of Nashville country music.
24.   2 ½ hours in and the Taylor Swift sightings are minimal. I inch myself closer to the remote.
25.   Spoke to soon. Hootie you now owe me a new flat screen TV. Moving to bedroom to finish the review.
26.   Kacey Musgraves, the box of crackers on the other side of the bed is yours.
27.   Merle, George and Garth. Nashville, you see what’s presently on stage…That’s country.
28.   For the record, I’m currently in Chico, CA so the guy on stage in Vegas singing lead vocals for Rascal Flats cannot be me.
29.   3 hours, a half a bottle of vodka and many drunk texts (sorry ladies) later you finally get something right. There is a reason why he’s been cranking out #1’s in your genera for over 30 years. The old adage if it ain’t broken can be applied here.

Skinny jeans, deep V-necks, leather bracelets, hair gel and cookie cutter boy band looks have replaced what we all knew as country music growing up. Congratulations hipsters, your takeover of Nashville is complete….You still owe me a television Hootie.

PS. Happy hump day peeps. The weather is warming up which means the tractors will be kicking up dust soon so enjoy yourself and remember…..The difference between being romantic and creepy is how attractive the other person finds you. Now that’s sage advice.

#ACMA’s #Nashville #countrymusic #empireliving 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Farmers Markets: Another piece of the agricultural puzzle

Dear Farmers Markets,

Welcome to my latest installment on the diversification of agriculture in society. The topic this week is farmers markets. Agriculture wears many hats and none can be seen more prevalent than the markets that dot downtowns, parking lots and business at numerous times during the week across America. Farmers markets are another piece of the food puzzle provided to you by the farmers and ranchers who produce the cheapest and safest food supply in the world. Contrary to popular belief they are not just frequented by hippies and yuppies purchasing goods from backyard organic hobby farmers trying to do what is “right”. On any giving Thursday night or Saturday morning in Chico I can walk through our local markets and count numerous large scale farmers along with their wives and children browsing through the latest offerings in produce, meats, cheeses, flowers and numerous other agricultural related commodities. They are not just buying these products from the aforementioned “backyard organic hobby farmer” they are buying from other growers just like themselves who see the benefit and added business and income that these markets bring. Just as farmers markets can help larger growers with business and expose the local community to their operation it can be a lucrative endeavor for smaller growers. Smaller scale operations have the ability to produce many different crops over a multiple of growing seasons that are sought at by a large number of consumers. Most venders just don’t participate at one farmers market they take part in numerous markets across there given region. As I’ve continued to stress to you my audience, agriculture is often seen by the outside world with blinders on because of our own doing.  Those of us involved in the process that bring the food to your table’s everyday come from all walks of life and are as diversified as the choices we bring you. The one common factor that we share is agriculture. Farmers markets along with grocery stores large and small, CSA’s and people who raise their own food for personal consumption are all part of the complex puzzle that makes up our food basket in this country. Supporting one over the other doesn’t make you a good or bad person it makes you a consumer who is blessed with choices that most of the world doesn’t have when it comes to the food they eat. So tomorrow morning whether you head downtown to a farmers market to purchase some fresh flowers and some early spring greens or head to the grocery store to pick up a steak and some bananas, know that you are supporting all of agriculture and providing jobs and income to your community both large and small…. Enjoy!

PS. Cheers on this rainy Friday peeps. Enjoy your weekend and remember….If you’re reading this you are a fan and I am blessed because of it.

#farmersmarket #agriculture #food #empireliving

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Caesar Chavez Day through the eyes of Chico

Dear Caesar Chavez Day (Chico edition),

What do these Chico traditions all have in common?
1.       Pioneer Days
2.       Greek Week
3.       Halloween
4.       St. Patty’s Day
5.       Labor Day

If you answered “I can’t remember” it’s probably because you have partaking in one of the aforementioned events at some point and time in your life. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of calling Chico home or visiting our community these are all celebrations that the city along with the past Presidents and current of Chico State have either stopped or attempted to curb from happening over the last 27 years. From former Chico State President Robin Wilson proclaiming that he took Pioneer Days “Out back and shot it in the head” to current President Paul Zingg attempt to kill St. Patty’s Day by having Spring Break coincide with the celebration of all things green. With each effort to squash a celebration or tradition another emerges. Take away Pioneer Days which dates back to 1917 and it is replaced by Greek Week. Remove Labor Day and the party moves to Memorial Day. Attempt to control the residents and the revelry of Halloween or St. Patty’s day and they will find another holiday to make their own. This evolution has now brought us the new “It” holiday in Chico….Caesar Chavez Day! Yes, Chico State is not called the “Harvard of the West” because someone thought it would look good on a bumper sticker. The past and current student body are always progressing and staying one step ahead of the establishment. Take away our costumes and green beer and we will replace it with sombreros and bad tequila! The drive downtown on Sunday afternoon and again on Monday resembled something out of an ill-advised trip to Juarez for Spring Break. You know what though…I like it. Sidewalks and yards were dotted with revelers in their best interpretation of traditional Mexican attire which usually amounted to Chevy’s issued head wear, a blanket with a hole in it that passed as a poncho, a shot glass bandoleer and a fake stash that would make Tom Selleck proud. The only thing it lacked was the constant pestering of the purchase of some “chicla” and a zebra that looks suspiciously like a donkey. The only bad decisions that were being made were there consumption of Keystone Light and cheap tequila. The best part is that as much as Paul Zingg and campus groups like to point out the racism associated with the celebratory activities taking place on the holiday, white, black and brown all shared in this attire. You see, the Chico party spirit sees no colors, only fun. The essence of Chico, the locals and students who call it home is its ability to adapt to whatever it encounters. This town is what Robert Earl Keen was singing about when he dropped the words “The road goes on forever but the party never ends.” If they succeed in their attempt to kill Caesar Chavez Day I’m looking forward to what holiday is chosen next. My vote is for Boxer Day, now that is something I can get behind eh…..

PS. Happy hump day peeps on this first Wednesday in April and remember….If Canada wasn’t our hat we would have to comb our hair more often.

#caesarchavezday #chicostate #paulzingg #empireliving