News From The Woods.26


By Bob Ketchum

Originally Published December 28, 1998

"December... ALREADY ????"

WHAT!?? December, Already !????? No WAY!!

Let me look here in my month-at-a-glance book...... yep!

12 Dirty Diapers
11 CD's burning
10 talks with Lucas
9 loads of firewood
8 rental movies
7 trips to WalMart
6 software updates
4 depositions
3 December weddings
2 recording sessions
and a contest that I didn't win!

Yep. It must be the end of December.

The "Blues Cruisers' from Fayetteville made a "return engagement" here to Cedar Crest. We did 9 cover tunes for a demo in 14 hours. Not a bad schedule considering! Scott Hardy brought along his "personal favorite" Leslie and, armed with soldering gun, wired that puppy right into Mom's Hammond M-100. I call it "Mom's Hammond" because it was used and belonged to my mother. After she passed away, we moved the Hammond downstairs to the studio to get THE "official" Hammond sound. Her Model 143 Leslie has only the bottom rotating drum, however, and lacks the top rotating horn, which gives the "sweetness" to the organ sound on tape. Scott & Co. did a fine job of some classic R&B cover tunes, including a good rendition of David McKnight's "Tumbleweed" which recently appeared on Coco Montoya's latest CD. Years ago David visited the studio at Butch Stone's bidding to do some demo recordings in consideration for publishing royalties to be shared with my Dime-A-Dozen Music publishing company. Of course, considering that I never got proper written agreements signed on the "deal", you can imagine how much I benefited from that one! I hold no animosity towards David in this matter. For the most part we had a great time and I think he is an exceptional songwriter and singer (not to mention a pretty damned good drummer). That was one of the reasons I decided to offer my studio time and expertise to the project, because I believed in David and his material. However, this is proof (ONCE AGAIN) to NEVER do anything unless you have it signed, sealed, and delivered. 'Nuff said.

I have to tell you about the retirement party I was hired to videotape. The gentleman retiring from this company told his associates that he knew what he was getting for his retirement. A Rolex watch. They said "What would you do if it WASN'T a Rolex"? He replied something like "I'll carry a sign saying 'I WAS WRONG' and stand on the highway and sing 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas'. (well, you KNOW what's coming, right?) Sure enough, when it came time at the party to open his present, it was indeed a Rolex (well, it SAID Rolex on it)..... but it was a good COPY of a Rolex watch. So a bit later in the program his fellow workers held a mock "trial" of his wrongdoings throughout the operation of the company he founded. Finally, after much roasting, he was pronounced GUILTY by all in attendance and sentenced to he hanged. As the strains of "Hang 'Em High" emanated from the DJ's speakers, a black hood was placed of the hapless victim's head and a noose was placed around his neck. They led him outside into the parking lot and removed the hood............. And there sat a black 1957 T-Bird with removable hardtop and porthole windows (red & white leather interior) !!!! GIVE ME A BREAK!!! Talk about a surprise... this guy almost fainted, and then they produced a VERY large sign saying "I WAS WRONG".... You guessed it...... out to the main street he marched and stood in traffic for five minutes singing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" as cars and trucks passed (very) close by honking and yelling (some comments were not so "jolly"). He was certainly a good sport, but then, who WOULDN'T be for a '57 cherry Bird!

And finally, there was the RealVideo Contest! It was called "Get A Life" and the idea was to send in a (not more than) 4 minute video clip explaining WHY a film crew should come to your town and video your life. I thought "Cool". NOBODY is as lucky as me when it comes to what I do and where I live. So I assembled some home movie video showing me fishing, working, and playing music on the ferry barge with friends. I took clips of Robert playing the drums and his little keyboard. I got shots of "my" eagles flying by and fog lifting off the lake early in the morning. Then I taped an opening about "How great it is to live and work here in the beautiful Ozarks" and a closing comment inviting everyone to come visit me here in Arkansas and I sent it to Real Networks according to their rules. I won't carry on here, but suffice to say that in the week I was competing against 7 other contestants, I was voted #1 by all the visitors to the site during that time period. To our amazement however, the judges completely passed me by and voted for a more "politically correct" choice. Other contestants sent in commercials for their businesses, complete with logos and hammering home their own agendas, as well as some completely STUPID videos that served no other purpose than to sell themselves and their weird lifestyles. I didn't once mention the name of my business or even spend any time on "the glorification of me". I tried to send in an intelligent and kind of humorous look at my life (maybe that was my FIRST mistake)

Y'know.... It really wasn't the money I could have won. It wasn't even the promise of a film crew visiting me (it WOULD have been good PR for the studio). It was the judges' blatent dissregard for me because I wasn't a special interest group or minority. Yes, there were a lot of GOOD videos submitted by very talented and special persons, but the ones that won....... ????? Well, never mind. It was only a contest. All I can say to Real Networks is "GET A LIFE!!" That will be my last waste of time for the year.

Not to end this on a sad note however - - - - We had a GREAT Christmas! Jeremy was home from college for the holidays, and there were LOTS of presents under the tree (which Lucas and I "liberated" from a nearby cedar filled lot) and I even decorated the outside of the house with those "icicle lights" that have become so popular. I imagine my neighbors have all gone into shock since I have never decorated the outside for Christmas. There's nothing like having a new arrival to a family to bring out the old Christmas Spirit! Robert instinctively knew who SANTA was. We have a Santa cookie jar that my Grandmother made herself many years ago, and whenever we would say to Robert, "Where's Santa?", he would point to the cookie jar and say (in a little high-pitched voice) "ho - ho -ho".

I am truly thankful to the Lord for giving me such a wonderful and blessed life, and for allowing me the joy of my own son to share this spirit with him, and to raise him to be thankful for all the wonderful things in life He has given to us. We must remember "the reason for the season" and not let commercialism tarnish the original spirit of this wonderful season. God bless you all and have a safe and happy holiday season.

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