Old News 2012
Not just a name... it's a contradiction in terms!

December 24th, 2012...

From all of us at The Best Nest in the West™, may you and yours have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. - Jerry.

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
A STRANGE NIGHT ON INTERSTATE NINETY. It had been a sunny winter day, about 34 degrees in the Dakotas. Snow from the night before had partially melted, wetting the road surface of Interstate Ninety. It was late afternoon and we were behind a tractor-trailer. Then the sun dropped below the horizon and the temperature fell, turning the asphalt into a glassy ice-skating rink. All traffic on the road lost traction, and slowed to three miles per hour, trying to maintain control. The roadway was crowned and vehicles were sliding slowly off the shoulder into the deep ditch and settling on their side, where the passengers could freeze to death during the night. Somehow I kept our motor home on the road, but I could feel the pull toward the ditch. Then the eighteen-wheeler ahead of us began to turn, like a slow-motion ballet, until the truck driver was looking directly at me from his windshield, about ten feet away. Then the big rig coasted sleepily off the shoulder and settled into the snowy ravine, facing backward. I was amazingly alert at that point, hands tightly on the wheel and foot carefully off the brake. Misty shouted, "There's an exit and a KOA sign! Try to get off!" I said, "Okay, but all the campgrounds are closed up here in the winter." She said, "At least we'll be off this nightmare." With some careful sliding around and correcting, I managed the exit ramp and found the RV park. I couldn't believe it! They were open! I have never found another northern campground open this time of year, because the water freezes up. We went inside the lighted building, and they told us that they had ice-breakers on their water lines on each site. The ice-breaker looked like a pump handle. You lift it up and force it down and it cracks the underground ice, and the water comes out. We hooked up our water and electricity, and Misty had a good idea. She wrapped an electric blanket around our water hose and plugged it in, and it kept the hose from freezing up during the night. We could see the flashing lights out on the Interstate, where rescue vehicles were getting people out of their cars and trucks, and taking them to shelter, some to the heated KOA building, where they were given hot drinks and food. There was not enough traction to pull the vehicles out of the ditch, so they were saving the people, and would get the cars and trucks the next day, if the ice melted. Misty and I had food and everything we needed in the motor home, but we went inside to be with the rescued people, and talk about the ordeal we'd just been through. The television news reported that hundreds of travelers were being rescued from their stranded vehicles. Inside the campground building it was like an impromptu winter party, with strangers in the fellowship of being unexpectedly alive. Copyright © December 24, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
December 18th, 2012... Catching up on recent stuff I missed... YFNW™, Jerry. December 16th, 2012... So now I'm a co-writer. :-) "THE GOODBYE SONG." I wrote the words only as part of a funny story some years ago. Michael Warner put it to music and sent it to me today. You never know what's gonna happen. Click on the picture for the video: For slower connections listen to the audio here: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=12057503
December 14th, 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
THE PEE ROOM IN THE ATTIC. Harry was thirty years old, and still didn't know what he wanted to be when he grew up. He was tall and good looking, with blue eyes and blond curly hair, but nobody was impressed. He liked drinking beer and watching judge programs on TV, but it didn't pay anything, so he lived in his mothers attic like a hunchback bell ringer. There was no bathroom in the attic, so late at night he peed out the window, killing the lilacs around the front of the house, and confusing the neighbors' dog who was down below doing the same thing. One morning he said to his mother "Maybe I should be born again." She said "No thanks. It was painful enough the first time, and you were a lot smaller." "Our lilacs aren't doing too well this year", she added. He said "It's that mutt next door." Then one night Harry's life was changed by a dream. In the dream, a wise man appeared. Harry said "Aren't there supposed to be three of you guys?" The wise man said "They have other idiots to visit tonight. I got you." The wise man smiled at his own clever sarcasm, and then became serious as Moses on skates. He was about to impart the Secret of Life to this jerk. A halo-like glow formed around him, and a tympani drum rolled. Harry said "Who's blowin' drums, man?" In a large echo, the mysterious figure shouted "GO FORTH AND FIND THYSELF. GO FORTH." But Harry went fifth, because it took him a while to pack. Harry looked for himself in Akron, and then in Fort Wayne, but he was not there. He looked in Waycross and Vicksburg with no luck, but he found himself in Nashville, and he was a her. Her name was Holly. She was tall and good looking, with blond curly eyes and blue hair, and was singing in a club downtown. The music stopped in the middle of a song, while they stared at each other, crossing their eyes with passion. He jumped up on the stage and sang a rousing duet with her. He couldn't carry a tune, but everybody clapped and cheered anyway. They were all drunk. When the band played "The Tennessee Waltz", they leaped from the stage, and whirled around the dance floor in each others arms. He cracked his funny bone on a chair, but kept smiling, as the crowd circled around them just like in the movies. They went up to her apartment and did what young lovers do... They drank beer and watched Judge Judy. That night they wrote a song together... "Let's Pee on that Doggie Out the Window", and they knew it was a smash. It hit the Country Chart at Number One, and sold millions, but they never got paid by the record company or anybody else. Holly blamed Harry. She shouted "If you hadn't been too stupid to hire a notary public, we'd be rich!" Harry yelled "Oh yeah?!" Touching the tip of his forefinger to the tip of his thumb, making a little circle, he said "Jump through this!" Neither one of them knew what that meant. In the following years they lost track of each other, and Harry went back to his pee room in the attic. Sometimes you can be too perfect for each other. Copyright © 2007, revisions © 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
December 11th, 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
YULE REVISITED. Some years ago Misty and I took a holiday season job in a Miami department store in a poor neighborhood. She was the photographer who snapped and sold the pictures of the children on Santa's lap. I was Santa. The Santa suit and the whiskers were hot, but it was an unforgettable experience. Little poor kids would tell their dreams, dreams which I knew could not come true for them, at least this year. They had faith in Santa and even a "maybe" from me made their eyes sparkle, but somehow, I felt guilty. One little boy asked me "How come Santa Claus is white?". I told him I hoped he wouldn't hold that against me, and he assured me he wouldn't. There were always a few raggedy strays wandering around the toy department, giggling and touching all the magical things that would soon belong to someone else. Some of them laughed and pointed at me, but never came too close. Others showed off to their pals by climbing right up on my lap, like they weren't scared at all. One little girl, dressed in filthy rags, was too small to climb up on my knee, so I lifted her up. She weighed nothing. I wondered if she was old enough to talk, as she just smiled at me, wide-eyed. Obviously, she was alone and uncared for. I asked her where her mommy and daddy were and she said, "Drunk". Then she confessed her true love for me. I asked her what she really wanted most for Christmas, and she lisped, "New shoes". She wasn't wearing any this winter. "Merry Christmas! Ho -Ho -Ho", I choked, as she climbed down to be replaced by the next in line. When business tapered off a little later, I searched the whole store for the little girl, to buy her a pair of new shoes. I was too late. she had disappeared, and I never saw her again, except in my mind every Christmas. Christmas is a time of sad happiness. We can purify ourselves by condemning those who commercialize it, but if the stores were closed it would take away much of the fun. Bar rooms are lined with the lonely, clinging to each other. Bartenders are Parent Images. Displaced Yankees dream of gently falling snow, that never turns to slush; and wandering Romeos often return, temporarily, to the family fold. Telephone wires hum with long distance calls between people who care about each other in December, which is better than not caring at all. After shave lotion is unwrapped with oohs(!) and ahs(!); toys are getting ready to be broken, and puppies inhabit stockings. Trees are always the "most beautiful ever", if you just turn the bare side to the wall, and eggs flow like nog. Roaring hearths and good fellowship are for the extremely fortunate, but some will settle for a bag of groceries. For certain people, this will be the first Christmas; for others, the last. "Merry Christmas" will be said in shacks, castles, prisons, airplanes, battlefronts, and churches. No matter what we say is wrong with it, Christmas is a time when many people are a little nicer... and that's something. Copyright © 2011 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
December 11th, 2012... R.I.P. Dave Brubeck. A musical genius. We loved ya. This bothers me more than most. To Misty and me, Dave Brubeck was a big part of our lives, especially when we were new together. His loss leaves a scar. We're losing too many greats from my generation, if I have one. Misty often plays his 3/4 time jazz piece "A Raggy Waltz". I'll ask her to play it today. I'm going to have to stop now, and take five. Jack
December 9th, 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
A MEDICAL MYSTERY. (I wrote this in 2008. It seems funnier now that it did when it was happening.) I'm home from the hospital...at least for now, thanks to some cool little pain pills. I'm sitting at my computer, trying to keep my legs moving to prevent blood clots. This goes against my very nature. It's been my lifelong practice to never move a muscle without first thinking it over carefully. I have no involuntary movements except maybe breathing. Anyway, here's a weird little episode from a couple of days ago at the hospital: I was told not to eat or drink anything for twelve hours before checking in. After checking in there was a six hour delay before my surgery, and then more hours of no eating or drinking during surgery, and after it was over. I woke up starving and thirsty, but there was a sign on my room door that said "NPO". NPO is an abbreviation of the Latin "Non per os" or "Nothing by mouth". This is like the Catholics calling the Bingo numbers in Latin so the Protestants can't win. I had a new nurse who was friendly enough, but not the type who would sneak you stuff. She said I would probably get food and drink soon, but not to have anything until she found out for sure.. A few minutes later, a tray of beautiful food was wheeled in and presented to me. I thought that maybe the nurse had worked it out for me, but I also thought that it might be a mistake. I put that out of my mind and began eating. Just then the nurse walked in and said "Who gave you that food?" Between gulps I said "Didn't you order it?" She raised her voice and said" And I gave you specific orders not to eat..." I started eating faster. She was getting louder when I noticed a huge cherry cobbler on the far side of the tray, and went for it. She yelled and I ate at full speed ahead. She threw up her hands and stormed out of the room. Speaking of "threw up", later that night I barfed up something that appeared to be extra-terrestrial, and the whole hospital went into red alert. They rushed samples of my output to the lab, and somebody  thought I was poisoned. Someone else mentioned carbolic acid, and others suspected internal bleeding. I had a crowd around my bed and staff members running in and out of the room. Then the news came back from the laboratory: "No sign of poison, blood or anything harmful." I guess the lab technicians weren't looking for cherry cobbler. Copyright © 2008, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
December 4th, 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
A COLUMN TO CHEER YOU UP. I'm still thinking about the girls in my high school. They're thinking about Bingo. When the club gets too smoky, we ask the audience to inhale deeply, then walk outside and exhale. I must be getting old. I attempted a double entendre and couldn't straighten up for weeks. Announcement from the stage: "Do any of you sing, dance, or play the spoons? We'd like to round up all the talent here tonight and ask them to leave." On a slow night in a night club, we say: "I don't know why business is so slow. We've got a full page ad in Watchtower." I saw a sign that said "THINK." I wrote under it "OR THWIM." I'm still mad about things that happened 50 years ago. I'd like to go back and knock those old jerks off their barstools. Is this too much to ask? A guy once called us from Nashville, said he was an agent, and wanted to drive to Orlando to meet us. Our car had a hubcap missing. We were broke, but we bought a hub cap to make a good impression. We met him in the parking lot of a bar, and his junker didn't have ANY hubcaps. When an audience gives us a big ovation I say, "Thank you. I'm touched. I always have been." Misty bought a fruitcake last night. We can't decide whether to take it back or put it on Antiques Roadshow. During the Holiday shopping season, Misty says she's going to carry a huge white purse with a dollar sign on it, and carry her money in her shoe. I just asked Misty what we're going to have for supper, and she said "Something weird." When we had colds my grandmother gave us laxatives. We were afraid to cough. I do a lot of record promotion. I even call DJ's and threaten their families, but it doesn't seem to help. I said to the bartender, "I didn't come here to be insulted." He said, "Where do you usually go?" Somebody stole our TV remote. Now they keep driving by changing the channels. The best way to die is to be shot by Clint Eastwood and have it narrated by Morgan Freeman. The worst way is to fall out of an airplane and hit the ground three feet from a trampoline. In the sequel to "it's A Wonderful Life" George Bailey has old man Potter whacked. When I was a 3rd grader a 4th grader named Red Webster picked on me for several years. As a 7th grader I beat the crap out of him. Then we became friends, but occasionally I would still pick on him. Computers are keeping a lot of us weirdos off the streets. Copyright © December 3, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
November 29th, 2012... Hi, folks. YFNW™ Jerry here. Jack recently brought to my attention the fact that our guestbooks are down. Turns out they've been that way since April 1st, when Tripod discontinued their HTMLGear service. The least they could have done was send me an e-mail or something a month or two in advance so we could have prepared for this. But they didn't even have the common courtesy to do that! Needless to say, I'm highly disappointed in our web host right now. What this means, unfortunately, is that all the guestbook entries up to April 1 are now ancient history, and will never be recovered. If any friends and fans out there can recommend a good, reliable free guestbook service, we're all ears. Send me an email at "sheplives@hotmail.com" with the subject heading "Guestbook", and I'll look into it. Again, all I can do is apologize. Jerry.
November 18th, 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
HARD TIMES IN HOUSTON. Just a short time before this true story starts we were performing concerts with major stars, such as Merla Haggard, Jerry Reed, B.J. Thomas, Tom T. Hall, Faron Young, Charlie Pride, Boots Randolph, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, and others. We were never anybody's opening act, but either "stars" or "special guest stars". The agents' contracts called it "100% billing". We also did television with Jackie Gleason, Dick Clark, Carol Channing, Mama Cass Elliot, and on and on. This was in the 1970s. Then things changed. UPSTATE NEW YORK: In the 1980s we were doing a few country shows, but mostly booking our trio in jazz and light jazz lounges in the North East, and just about breaking even. When we were playing at a Hyatt hotel on the New York State Thruway a man approached us with an offer of sixteen weeks in Houston, Texas. We were relatively happy where we were, but a sixteen week contract is more security... we thought. HOUSTON: First of all, two thirds of the audience hated us because we weren't a cover band, as they were used to. One woman yelled out at the end of our set, "They didn't play ONE SONG I know!" We had our handful of fans so we worked to them, but it was a rough start and turned out to be a bad omen. The temperature was 105 and humid. We were living in our motor home on a gravel site behind an RV parts store, the T-pipe on our sewer broke and there was nobody to fix it but me. It had to be done. so I slid under the rig on the gravel and some weeds I didn't recognize as poison ivy. It was a Sunday and the parts store was closed, but Misty saw a couple of guys in there and banged on the door. They refused to sell her anything, but she found the part, threw the money on the counter and left. That evening I wound up in the hospital with the worst case of Poison Ivy they'd ever seen. Then I got a phone call from my sister Val that our mother had just died. I went to work the next night anyway. We had a drummer that was an 18 year old spoiled brat, but was a passable jazz player for our New York State gigs. He was also a jazz snob and hated country. He said things like "Jack, you can't pay me enough to play that." He was rude to us, and I started to drink from all the pressure. Before then I had never used alcohol while working. We'd rented a junk heap from the Rent-a-Wreck Company... On a Sunday we decided to get away by taking a drive to Galveston. First we got arrested. The cop said that if we worked in Texas for more than a few weeks we had to have a Texas driver's license. Also we were charged with having an outdated license tag. We had assumed that a good license plate came with the rented car. We finally got to Galveston and the car died forever. There were no cell phones then, so I found a pay phone and called Rent-a-Wreck. No answer. It was Sunday. We somehow got a bus back to Houston, and called them the next day to pick up the car and give us a replacement. Then the floods came. It rained continuously for many days and people were driving under railroad overpasses, getting into deep water, and drowning. Misty couldn't get to our jalopy from the Walmart door, and asked a nice elderly lady to take her to our car. Misty felt guilty when the high water ruined the lady's carpeting. Time ground on. Every night on stage was torture, and the finance company was looking for our motor home. We were several months behind on payments. and trying to catch up. They knew we were in Texas from a check we'd sent. One night I drank too much and said some insulting things about the house band. They were a really fine group that played opposite us, and I was wrong. Everybody liked them, and I'd made our situation worse, if possible. When we finished our contract there, we sent the drummer home to annoy his parents, and headed for the Louisiana border to throw GE Finance off our trail. VINTON, LOUISIANA: Just across the line there was a KOA campground outside of Vinton where we were stranded for over a month. From the campground, Misty would ride her fold-up bicycle into town to get groceries. Our only company there was a big family of Gypsies that we seemed to meet all over the country. A job in Arkansas and a stop at a pawn shop got us out of there, but trouble came with us. HOME: It got better in the 1990s, and much better after that. I never had a drinking problem again. I think it was just an ordeal we had to go through. If there's an afterlife, somebody owes us an explanation. We're still doing our music, just recorded a new CD album, and life is looking good. Copyright © November 18, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
November 16th, 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
NASHVILLE IN THE STONE AGE. The idea that it was easy to become a successful recording artist in the 1970's is a myth. A lot of potentially great artists were passed by even back then, in the Stone Age. When I arrived in Nashville as a writer and independent producer, the first words I heard from the "big" people were these" "You're too late to make it here, Jack. The business has changed. If you'd been here a few years ago you'd have had a shot. I don't mean to discourage you but you'd be smart to go home and try something else." I heard that in so many words from famous names, names you would know. Sure, it knocked some of the wind out of me, but I always had the feeling that Misty and I had something unstoppable. That conceit may be what got us through. When we started to catch on and get some records out, I heard rumors that we were hard to work with. Translated, that means they couldn't make us do what they wanted. We always fought for artistic control of our sessions, and we knew that if we bombed, there was nobody to blame but us. We quit Mercury Records because they insisted on putting a house producer in charge. Producing our own music from the ground up was how we achieved the sound we're known for. A house producer would have changed that. We would never have had "Somewhere in Virginia in the Rain", "There Must Be More to Life (than Growin' Old)", and a hundred others. We were in trouble for a couple of years after we left Mercury, but in the long run, it was worth it. But back to the legend of how easy it was in the old days. Not the old days I saw. I walked the streets around Music Row, trying to get our career going for six or seven years before we caught on. I rode from Miami to Nashville in freezing weather in cars with no heaters. The Interstates weren't complete then, so it was a hard trek. I know the business keeps changing for the worse, and it is tougher now, but I just want you to know this: It was no damn picnic back then. To young artists and those who are striving at any age... Believe in yourself and your music. There's nobody exactly like you. Copyright © November 15, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
November 12th, 2012... We're observing Veteran's Day today, and as always, a reminder (as if you needed one): Be sure to thank a Veteran for all they've done for you. (I can't stress that enough.) Now, on to the news...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
BOB HITLER. Good bands with normal guys are hard to keep together. This is especially true when they aren't getting paid enough. We had lots of trouble with our road bands in the early 1970's. I think it all started like this.... We were a seasoned and polished nightclub act, with comedy, stories, and original songs, when we got the number one country record "Tennessee Bird Walk". One of our first bookings off that hit was as Special Guests of Jimmy Dean, doing theater-in-the-round in Salt Lake City. Jimmy roamed the revolving stage doing jokes and singing with his big pit orchestra backing him in symphonic style. When it was our turn, we had to run on with all our electric instruments and amps, including a full size Lowrey organ. A bunch of roadies (Misty calls them "roadents.) ran on with us. Everybody carried a bunch of wires, plugs, and equipment, and frantically attempted to set up our show, while the audience waited in silence. Nobody had offered to let us sing with the pit orchestra, or we'd have brought sheet music charts and made it easy on ourselves. The audience stared in silence while we labored frantically. It got uncomfortable, so trying to fill the space, I grabbed a mike and said "Isn't Jimmy Dean great?" The audience came to life and applauded while our guys looked for missing wires. My little comment was a mistake. Dean's manager later yelled at me about it: He said this: "You should never say a word before you play a song! They don't know you! You made it look like YOUR show! It's NOT your show! Blah, blah, blah!" I wondered who made all these rules. I should mention that Jimmy Dean is friendly and witty. Then we noticed that he and his manager had a good cop/bad cop arrangement. I can't remember the manager's name, so let's call him "Bob Hitler". Anyway, the audience liked us a lot and gave us an enthusiastic ovation, which probably gave Jimmy's manager more heartburn. Misty had taken off a boot to play the organ pedals and was carrying it in one hand as she limped around trying to find where to get off the stage. Did I mention that the stage went around slowly? The next day the show was reviewed in the morning paper. The critic thought that Jimmy Dean should have sung more and talked less. We liked Jimmy's act and disagreed with that statement. Then came the killing stroke that changed our life. The reviewer said this: "We would like to have seen more of Jack and Misty." First, Bob Hitler cut our act time to 12 minutes. Then he called our manager and told him that we were green and needed a lot of experience. Our idiot manager believed it and told our agent to cut our price and book us A LOT. For the next year we ran all over the map, playing big and little shows for low money, even though we were number one in the world. We hardly had time to get from one town to another. It was like sending us to boot camp. We had good musicians but we couldn't pay them what the other stars paid their bands. This led to a lot of tension, unrest and eventually outright revolt. When you're a thousand miles from home with the only musicians who know your songs, they have the upper hand. We replaced them all several times, but breaking in new guys hurt our show. Each night Misty and I would count out the cash on a motel bed, and after paying the band and expenses we were usually in the hole. The constant traveling wore out and damaged our vehicles and equipment, not to mention us. It all started when I said "Isn't Jimmy Dean Great?". I never said it again. Bob Hitler may have died since then, so revenge is probably not an option. If he did die, maybe we should send a thank-you note. Copyright © November 12, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
October 26th, 2012...
Get ready for a reading experience like no other... Pre-order at: http://www.amazon.com/In-Harmony-Biography-Blanchard-Morgan/dp/1780884206

November 1st, 2012... Well, it took some doing (but not much), but I finally got around to the "Old News 2011" page. Still got a bit of tweaking to do to it (correcting the font and format, replacing the occasional missing graphics and so forth), but at least it's out of the way now. You can find it here, or just punch the button on the Old News page. Meanwhile, back in 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
ELMER'S CABULANCE. Many years ago in the cities of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda NY, they didn't have a real ambulance. They had Elmer's Cabulance. Elmer drove it as a taxi or an ambulance. He was a conscientious, if rather slow man, and not a medic as they have today. There was no medical equipment in the Cabulance. It just got you to the hospital. It was actually a Cadillac hearse, converted and painted white. Elmer tried. Misty just came in all out of breath. She said she pulled up to the dumpster and the black bear was inside it, looking over the side right at her, from about five feet. She backed up halfway home. She said it looked cute, and like it was grinning at her. I hope she doesn't bring one home. TOM T. HALL wrote this for the cover of our biography: "I am looking forward to reading the adventures of Jack and Misty. Wonderful friends who have made the world a better place with their music. If their biography is like their lives, which I’m sure it is, we’re in for a helluva ride." Tom T. Hall: The Storyteller / songwriter, Nashville, Tennessee. (The book, "In Harmony" by Moragh Carter is now up on Amazon, available for pre-order.) Old people look younger to me than they used to. When I was a kid we didn't have fast food. Just slow food. We didn't know we were supposed to have lifestyles. Somehow I came through it unscathed. Well, maybe a little scathed. A good way to get new song ideas is from old songs. I was thinking of "They tried to Tell Us We're Too Young", and I got "They tried to sell us Egg Foo Young." Misty and I never follow the Fat Lady on shows, because when she sings, it's over. HALLOWEEN SONG: "If I knew you were comin' I'd have baked a cat." DAVID LETTERMAN did shows this week with no audience because of the big storm. I've done a couple of those myself. The druggist gave us our flu shots before our trip. I said "I'm legally old enough to get the extra strong shot." He said, "Nah, you don't need that. You're in great shape." So I got the slightly weaker shot and then I got a slightly weaker case of the flu. This is true. I used to play the flute and thought I was pretty good at it. When it was stolen from our car, Misty said "Let it go." I think the greatest invention of the past century is the spork. Half spoon, half fork. What more could you want? I carry one in case of a bear attack. I'll spork the crap out of him. The main funeral home chain in Buffalo was "Bury Funeral Homes". A family name, I guess, but still a little creepy. They had blue lights in the windows at night. I would cross the street. This from MAYF NUTTER: "I had to clear out my closet so my mother-in-law would have a place to hang upside-down and sleep." Copyright © October 31, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
Four more recent entrees... um... for more recent entries... scroll down...

Hey, gang! If you want to get Jack and Misty's new CD "TRAVELING MUSIC" from
our new friends at CD Baby,
either as CD or downloadable mp3's, click here!
Ain't technology grand? Jerry.
And now, here's our very own Soundclick™ player to while away the days of catching up
with over 80 Jack and Misty songs and productions (and one essay): Neat, huh?

Check this space for all the news from 2011. 
Oh, and if you're wondering where the news from last year went,
click here!

YFNW™, Jerry

If you want to see more Jack and Misty stuff than we have here, right click on the image below and open in a new window:
STOP THE PRESSES!! Jack and Misty have announced the recent opening of a second Facebook fan page, and you can get to it from here:

Speaking of Jack and Misty stuff, isn't this the sort of track listing that just makes you want to get an album? Hmm? We kind of thought so. :) (And we've got at least 9 more, if you're curious.) Browse through our full JACK BLANCHARD & MISTY MORGAN CD CATALOG here:


Then... Click here for quick easy ordering:

MORE RECENT ENTRIES... October 29th, 2012... Sorry this entry is a few days late, folks. (Your webmeister has been really, really fatigued lately, that's all. Old age will do that to you. I hear.) With that lead-plated introduction out of the way, here's Jack...

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HOME FROM OUR 3,000 MILE ROAD TOUR. NOTES FROM THE ROAD THAT NEVER GOT SENT. "The Autumn leaves are beautiful. We've been in Buffalo for three days now, both down with bad colds. Been in bed most of the time. I hope we shape up for the big BMHOF Gala Thursday night. Misty looks pretty good this morning. I look like Death eating a cracker." "We're in Nashville, taking a day of rest and restoration before we start making the rounds of our friends, relatives, and business associates. Feeling good but tired. Misty is going to hose me down to remove the road dust." "To all the folks we missed seeing in Buffalo and Nashville, we apologize. It was a hectic schedule and time ran out. Also, I caught a cold and was confined to a motel room for several days, attempting to cough up Linda Blair." "I've gained weight on this trip, eating motel breakfasts and stuff out of rest area machines. When we get home I'll have to do a sit-up." We're back home now and recuperating. *************************************************************************** My kids want me to be cremated. I'm trying to get them to wait. Since the dental surgery I've been sleeping sitting up in a Lazy-Boy chair, in the dark. I'm worried that I might scare an innocent burglar to death. If somebody steals my identity, who am I gonna be? It's a clue that your career is not going well when you get a stalker and you worry on days that he doesn't call. We used to have a hair gel they called "wave set". A rock could drop on your head and not hurt you. The guy across the street is a talker. Never shuts up. You can't get a word in edgewise. He works in a slaughterhouse talking the heads off chickens. I saw this on the men's room wall at a biker bar in Key West... Somebody wrote "I LIKE GRILS." and then corrected it by drawing a line through "GRILS" and changing it to"GIRLS". Somebody after that wrote: "WHAT ABOUT US GRILS?" The cowboy said: "That's the ugliest, filthiest, stupidest looking beast I've ever seen." The buffalo said: "I think I just heard a discouraging word." Copyright © October 23, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
October 22nd, 2012... Well, Jack and Misty are back, the Giants gave the Cardinals a game 7, 9-0 shellackin', and all is right with the world. (Sort of.) Speaking of our heroes, they have a question... At THE BUFFALO MUSIC HALL OF FAME, October 4th, 2012. Can you find us among the former inductees on stage?
We'll have more stuff shortly...
Told you we'd have more stuff shortly! TOM T. HALL wrote this on the cover of our biography: "I am looking forward to reading the adventures of Jack and Misty. Wonderful friends who have made the world a better place with their music. If their biography is like their lives, which I’m sure it is, we’re in for a helluva ride." Tom T. Hall: The Storyteller / songwriter, Nashville, Tennessee. The book, "In Harmony", by Moragh Carter should be out in a few weeks. -- Jack and Misty.
Hi, everybody. We are leaving Thursday, September 27th for a 3,000 mile tour, and will be back on October 18th. So, if we don't reply to your email, playlists, etc., this is why. Also, there are some CDs we promised to send. We'll take care of all these things as soon as we get back. Your friends, Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan
OF POSSIBLE INTEREST... In the early 1960s I wrote the music for a Government film about The Everglades. I've accidentally found it on the web. They wanted basic country music, which I had never done before. I had to time the music to the scenes, and direct the recording while watching the film. There are five minutes of library music before my country stuff. I saw my name in the credits! I enjoyed that more than the music. Million Acre Playground. Full-length version (Around 15 minutes.): http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/232446 Jack September 24th, 2012...

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THE NOTORIOUS KIDNEY STONE CAPER. We were standing in line for the CMA Awards Show in about 1973 or '74, and talking to friends waiting with us. Faron Young was right in front of us, and he gave Misty a big kiss and hug. I didn't get one. He had recently been in a car crash, and I asked him how he was doing. He said that he'd split his tongue. I said, "Can you do any birdcalls?" We all laughed. That's what we all do when we're not winning the awards that year. We stand in line and make each other laugh. George Morgan was just behind us, and we got talking to him. Somehow my kidney stone problem was brought up. I had been to a doctor because of an abdominal pain, and he told me what it was, and that I would have a lot of them. I never did...just that one, but it was a lot of fun. George told me not to have surgery... just to buy a case of beer and drink one after the other. It made a weird kind of sense because beer is a diuretic and a sedative. I should have gone home and followed his instructions that minute. "Home" was our motorhome parked in The Music City Campground, in LaVergne, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville. After the awards we went home to bed and forgot to buy the beer. I woke up in agony around 2 AM. If you're a guy who's never had the thrill of a kidney stone, it's a lot like giving birth to a porcupine. I asked Misty to kill me or get me to a hospital. She chose the latter, and took off for the Murfreesboro Hospital at about 60 miles an hour, with cans and dishes flying out of the cupboards, and the TV antenna still up. I was moaning on the floor in a fetal position, hoping to be struck by lightning. We got to the Murfreesboro city limits, when we realized something... We had no idea where the hospital was. Just then a cop pulled us over. He said, "Follow me", and shot away like a bullet. Misty tried to keep up, but we lost him. Somehow, we eventually found the hospital and the nurses put me on a cot in the emergency room, and went to the Bahamas. A month passed. Well, maybe an hour, and no doctor came to see me. I would have welcomed Kavorkian. Misty stormed down the hall, saw a guy with a stethoscope around his neck, and asked him if there was a doctor employed there. He was miffed that she didn't recognize him as a doctor, with his new stethoscope and all. He said these exact words: "I'm not going to give drugs to every hippie that comes in off the street." They weren't used to my haircut in those days. She assaulted him verbally for a few minutes, and then dragged him out to look at our motorhome, which had our names and "Columbia/Epic Records" written on it. He made a couple of phone calls and verified our identity, and suddenly became a bowing headwaiter. He quickly gave me a shot and some pain pills, and put me up for the rest of the night in the children's section. I don't know why. I woke up at 7 AM to a room with Donald Duck wallpaper, and cartoons blaring on the TV. It wasn't the kids running the television, but another full-grown idiot in the next bed. I got up, walked out to the parking lot in my gown, and woke Misty up to go find my clothes. She'd had a bit of wine after the ordeal, and neither of us felt great. We left the Murfreesboro Hospital in our dust, and vowed to never pay them. The pain pills ran out the next evening, and we got the case of beer George Morgan had prescribed. I took it like a good boy. I'd finished twelve or so bottles, and was still feeling some pain, but I didn't much care. I went into the bathroom, and in the silence Misty heard "PING!" And she heard me say "AHA!" She said "Let the man who is without sin pass the first stone." Copyright © September 23, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
September 18th, 2012...

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A LITTLE MIRACLE IN ASHFORD, ALABAMA. When you're hitch-hiking cross country you usually wind up taking circuitous routes, and getting stranded in places you never knew existed, and meeting people who are surprised that you exist. We were once detained as suspected chain gang escapees, which is where this story will eventually arrive. You may be trying to go north, but find yourself heading east or west, and happy to get a ride, to get off the side of a long and often creepy road. When hitching you see the roads differently. You notice the gum wrappers, cracks, puddles, weeds and insects on the shoulders. You get to know them well, sometimes being there for many hours. A bend in the highway that cars disappear around in seconds, is a mystery to you. Maybe there's a town up there, or an old gas station where you might get water, or a lucky ride, or more endless miles of nothing, Hitch-hiking to a place a thousand miles from where you start can easily cover almost double the AAA route, moving laterally as often as forward. And you can plan on a number of extra days in the burning sun or cold rain. This isn't all bad. Looking back on it It's an adventure. At the time it seemed like punishment. Bob Egan and I were trying to get back to Buffalo from Florida, and got dropped off at nightfall in a tiny southern town, by a bakery truck driver going in for the night. The two-lane county road traffic amounted to a vehicle an hour, it was dark and getting chilly, we hadn't eaten, and were practically broke. We were in Ashford, Alabama, at the intersection of US84 (now called "Old US 84"), and the road going northward was the narrow County Road 55. There was a streetlight on the corner, so we stood under it, trying to look wholesome and non-threatening. Kids from the village came around to watch us stand there. We were the biggest thing going on in town. They were just a few feet from us, but we couldn't understand a single word they said. We were from another planet. After an hour or maybe three, a dump truck rumbled toward us from the wrong direction. Shovels were hanging on its sides and clanging. It stopped and large elderly man in a plaid shirt got out. He was the sheriff or maybe the chief constable. The big man was friendly, but said he had to take us in because we fitted the description of two chain gang escapees... two young Yankee fellas, one dark-haired and one blond. We tried to tell him how innocent and nice we were, but the report said that they were smooth talkers, and not to believe anything they said. We climbed up into the truck cab and he drove us about two blocks to the police station, where we sat and were given coffee and a sandwich, while the sheriff made some phone calls. The police station was on Main, which in my memory was an unpaved dirt street. After a while he said "We don't have a regular jail here, but we've got a place for you to stay until court in the morning." Then he drove us to a big wooden house of indeterminate color, and introduced us to a matronly lady who was the proprietor of this rooming house. She was as friendly as he was, but we were surely headed for life on the chain gang, and that took a little edge off the fun. We did get some needed sleep and some breakfast in the morning. The rugged old cop picked us up and said we had been cleared of all suspicions. He drove us to the county line. Like an idiot I said "Good luck catching those guys." He waved out the truck window and headed back to town. It only took a few decades for me to figure out what really happened. He knew we would be stuck all night on that corner. He could see that we were tired and probably hungry, and he made the phone call to the boarding house lady to put us up for the night. There were no escaped convicts. Just two youthful strangers who needed some help. I have a warm spot in my heart for Ashford, Alabama, and those good people Copyright © September 17, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
September 16th, 2012... STOP THE PRESSES! The wait is over! Have your first look at Jack and Misty's BRAND NEW album...
Price: $16.95 plus shipping & handling*. See the On-Line Order Form for full details. (This news is so hot, I'm still updating it as I type!) *-$3.95. For our overseas customers, that amounts to $5.95
September 11th, 2012... Sorry this one is late... the traffic on the information superhighway was impossible! Anyway...

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TRUE FACTS AND SOME LIES. TRUE FACT: "You can not sneeze with your eyes open." One of nature's little miracles that keeps our eyeballs from flying out. TRUE FACT: "If the population of China walked past you in single line, the line would never end because of the rate of reproduction." And that's not easy while you're walking. TRUE FACT: "Every human spent about half an hour as a single cell." I did mine this morning before coffee. TRUE FACT: "There are more chickens than people in the world." I hope they don't get the vote. TRUE FACT: '"I am." is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.' No. TRUE FACT: "Leonardo da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time." Yeah, sure. And that's why Mona Lisa has no eyebrows. A husband and wife, friends of ours, are voting for Romney. Misty and I are voting for Obama to cancel theirs out. My psychic tells me that nobody will win the election, and, by an obscure constitutional loophole, Peewee Herman will become President. We have our Obama/Biden bumper sticker, but we're not going to put it on the car. It's like a "Kick me" sign around here. I may wear it around the house. What's all this talk about the Middle Class? I'm still trying to work my way UP to the Middle Class! Whenever I need a shower, I go out in the yard and have Misty hose me down. In China a woman has a baby every three seconds. Our job is to stop her! What if a hooker comes to your door and says "Trick or treat"? We went to Steak & Shake yesterday. They have inches on the side of the door to check your height. I'm getting shorter as I'm getting older. The penultimate insult. I'm going to have to get my cowboy boots out. I'm no longer as tall as my drivers license says. Am I in trouble? Are they coming to get me? I'm still as heavy as my drivers license. We got flu shots last night. The doctor said I look 45, only shorter. I used to be nearly six feet tall in cowboy boots. Now I'm going to be wearing those boots to bed. Crap! I may even sleep in a cowboy hat with a high crown. A twenty-gallon hat. Misty Has dinner on the table. I'd better go wash my hands. You never know where they've been. Copyright © Sept. 10, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
September 6th, 2012... This just came in from Gary Bradshaw at WHP Records... Wow! 2 weeks on the chart and STILL #1! Way to go, Jack and Misty!
On a much more somber note, sadly, I learned earlier from co-webmeister Lee that Joe South passed away yesterday from heart failure. He was 72. Joe's songs were a staple of radio when we were growing up in the 60s and early 70s: "Games People Play", "Birds Of A Feather" (covered by The Raiders), "Down In The Boondocks" (Billy Joe Royal), "Hush" (Billy Joe Royal, and much more famously by Deep Purple!), "These Are Not My People" (Johnny Rivers), "Children", "Rose Garden" (Lynn Anderson), and "Don't It Make You Wanna Go Home" (covered by none other than Jack and Misty on their "Two Sides" album) are just a few of his memorable tracks. Rest in peace, Joe. We'll miss you. - Jerry
August 29th, 2012...

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NO SPRING CHICKEN. I called my oral surgeon's office yesterday to ask if it was normal to still have pain a week after a wisdom tooth was extracted. His assistant, who was very nice, said "Well, Jack, it's the biggest tooth we've ever taken out, and you're no spring chicken." I didn't even know chickens had teeth. Then she said I was bound to have some "discomfort". Medical people call it discomfort. We call it pain. Since the dental surgery I've been sleeping sitting up in a Lazy-Boy chair, in the dark. I'm worried that I might scare an innocent burglar to death. It would be terrible if a hurricane spoiled a political convention! We'd never know who's running for office! What would we do then?! For the conventions we have to pretend we don't know who they'll nominate, and pretend to be excited about it. It's the worst reality show on TV. I think the losers should drop through a trap door. Or maybe the winners. Every speaker, when introduced, should get a pie in the face. We can spice this thing up. I get hundreds of political emails asking me to chip in $3. I answer them politely... "Sorry I can only give moral support... The recession, you know. Thank you again for thinking of me. Jack Blanchard" In 1970 we were in L.A. to be on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. I had heard the legends about The Hollywood Plaza Hotel. and we booked reservations against our agent's advice. The old hotel had become a residence for older actors and many familiar faces sat around the lobby playing cards and reading. Our room AC quit, we called the desk, and Maxie Rosenbloom came up and fixed it. In the 1920s through the 1940s this was the hangout for major movie stars and other celebrities. We got there too late for that, but we got there. We drove by Janis Joplin's house, and later that day we heard the news that she had just died. When I was a teen, my girlfriend's phone number was 297J. That's it. Three numbers and a letter. It was a small town. A lot like Mayberry, only evil. I liked dial phones. I never really learned how to work touch-tones. Misty and I watched Allen Toussaint on Austin City Limits last night. He was just too damn good. He closed with his song Southern Nights. He has produced most of the hit records out of New Orleans. I have a weakness. Great music makes me cry. Misty was channel surfing on TV today. She said "There's nothing on. They're all playing basketball, or mothball, or something." She's running the vacuum cleaner around my desk. How come I'm afraid of it? The sailor said "Captain, should I go downstairs and mop the floor?" The captain said "You mean 'go below and swab the deck!'. If you don't learn to talk like a sailor I'm going to throw you out that little round window!" “Some of the worst things in my life never happened.” — Mark Twain Copyright © August 25, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
August 19th, 2012... But first, a few words from our favorite disc spinner... A note from Dan Michel, Program Director WKRV/WPMB Vandalia, Illinois.. Jack and Misty, "Don't It Look Like Georgia" sounds like a classic... Well it should be a classic!...It has that timeless sound... The song's bluesy melody features the bluesiest vocals Jack and Misty have ever put on record... This song is about a feeling that so many can relate too... Missing home while stuck somewhere else in the world... To me this song reminds me of after work on a hot day toward the end of summer... Which makes it perfect to listen to right now... Get that homesick feeling with Jack and Misty... And wherever you are...Wherever you're from...It'll feel like Georgia. That's how I'm feeling about this one... A really nice record that should get plenty of attention. Dan Please give it a listen here: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11753308 or here: http://www.airplaydirect.com/music/whpcompilationvol135/ and let us know if you'd like an MP3. Thanks. Your friends in music, Jack & Misty And now, (in the words of The Old Philosopher, Eddie Lawrence) with the whole world singing the same happy song, 'Merrily We Go Down Together', here's Jack...

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THINGS WE LEARNED THAT HELPED US. Yesterday Misty was sorting through things piled in the shed and the utility room, and found an old appointment book dated 1982. In the back of it I had scribbled down a lot of little life tips that I'd learned over the years from various sources and personal experience. Misty and I tried to practice them, and we think they helped us, so I pass them on to you in case you find them useful. I offer these bits and pieces below with little attempt to sort them out. Be careful of other people's pride, even when they are acting stupid. Give them a graceful way out. Let them save face. They could turn out to be friends if you get past the first collision. ON STAGE: Never audition for an audience. Don't put yourself on trial. Be in gentle control. Confidence without arrogance. Hold some of yourself back. Let your talent come as a surprise. Be unpredictable. Cue the audience as to what they like. Laugh tracks do this on TV. Bring them into the process. Tell them the story behind the song, or something about your life. Speak more slowly that you may be used to. Avoid precise speech. Maybe slur a little. Appear relaxed. Don't come off as hip or intellectual. Don't be slick. Don't be a threat. Be likable, pleasant, earthy. Be loose. Look like you belong wherever you are. Good posture and walk. Natural gestures. Develop style... the recognition factor. Desperation shows. Inflate the audience. Make them feel good about themselves. No inside jokes or private laughs with the band. Do it all over the microphone. Don't leave them out. LIFE IN GENERAL: Don't let the competition see you as a rival. Learn from the past but don't feel guilty about it. Think about your goals all the time. Picture them. In a negotiation, the first one to mention money loses. Experiments have proven that children learn better and faster surrounded by mirrors and pictures of themselves. Many entertainers and musicians practice in front of a mirror. Sometimes it helps to pose your material as socially relevant. Everybody who ever does anything makes mistakes. Stupidity is no reason not to be a success. Everybody has it. If you believe in God, trust your God. Life is no rehearsal. This is it... today... this minute. Look at it. Smell it. Feel it. Listen to it. Live it. It's all you really have. Naturally, we couldn't think of all these things at any one time, but we drilled them into our brains until it became automatic. There are lots more of the little suggestions in the back of the old book, but I'll save them for later. Copyright August 18, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
August 16th, 2012...

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THE AKRON MICE. Before we ever had any Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan records out, we were working hotels and lounges over the eastern states, booked by the ABC agency. The four week gig at Nick Yanko’s Greek restaurant in Akron was one of the worst. Nick loved the belly dancer, but treated our trio with no respect at all. He didn’t like us or our music because we were different… too original. At first we tried to please, but after a while we didn’t care, and stopped taking crap from Yanko and his headwaiter. It was a rough month. On the winter day we arrived in Akron, as always, we looked for a place to live. We finally rented a flat in an old two story house. Not a nice place. To get the dump we had lie to the landlady, saying that we would be there for a long time. When you’re in deep trouble there is no friend like a good lie. Our dog Brubeck was with us on the road. He was a sweetheart, and we trusted him alone while we were at work. Brubeck is one of the main animals in this true story. Back at the club, the belly dancer would dance over to the cocktail drums I was playing on that job, and play my bongos with her chest. Misty hated it, and got into a row with the owner who told her she was just a peon and the dancer was the star. We had driven hundreds of miles to get there and couldn’t quit because we had very little money and a guitar player to pay. The next job in Albany, New York, was four weeks away. We just sucked it up and played our sets. The one friend we made in Akron on that trip was a tall, handsome, dignified man who could have played a movie senator. He thought our music was great, and showed us all around town. It turned out he was a bookie. To make matters worse, I had to have two molars extracted by a dentist played by Boris Karloff. It turned into a nightmare he called “dry sockets”, and I overdosed on pain medication. Misty had to walk me around in the snow for hours that night to keep me from passing out, and maybe dying. When things are really bad, a little light entertainment can mean a lot. The house had registers in the floors for the furnace to send up warmth, and one night we noticed Brubeck sitting, staring intently down into a register, like the RCA dog looking into the Victrola horn. It was like he was watching TV. On closer inspection we heard little peeping sounds from down in the pipe system. Mice. Then, during the day, Misty opened a kitchen drawer of pots and pans we didn’t use, and saw two little rear ends scurrying to hide… a skinny one and a fat one. The fat one was running behind, slipping around, not used to the exercise. We decided that we liked them. After all, we didn’t have a lot of friends in Akron. Misty started putting out a little dish of ice cream for them at night. It was always gone in the morning. Sometimes you need pets. A few years later, when we had hit records, Akron was one of our strongest places for fans and airplay. We met a lot of nice people there, and had fun. But on this earlier Akron adventure we had a bookie and two mice. Copyright © August 16, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
August 5th, 2012... Hey, folks. Your slightly woozy webmeister recovering from the heat (if that's at all even possible!), and ready to catch up on the last few days. Here's a column from Jack...

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RUSTY DIAMOND: A TRUE STORY. Rusty Diamond was a Country recording artist, with releases on Starday and Stop records, but his main talent was getting money from rich girls. One of these angels, a very sweet buxom blonde from Chicago, bought into Rusty's career to the tune of $48,000 in one week. He hired me as his producer and we flew to Nashville to record some hits. Rusty passed out $50 tips to waitresses, porters, and anyone who had his hand out. To Rusty the important thing was the public gesture. In Nashville, he called up one of the finest men's stores and had them bring a truckload of assorted clothes to our motel. We selected a few thousand dollars worth, and he paid the driver in cash. Returning to Miami, a crowd awaited us at the airport. Women stood in line to kiss Rusty while photographers flashed pictures. Police directed traffic as we pulled away in a new rented Lincoln limo. I found out later that Rusty had hired the whole crowd, photographers, cops and all. Rusty moved into an oceanfront suite and hired a valet/bodyguard, for about two grand a week... a tough guy about six foot eight. About this time, the blonde's father heard about her business venture and hopped a plane for Miami, hopping mad. He threatened everybody in sight with jail sentences, if he couldn't arrange for the guillotine. Rusty not only calmed the old man, but hit him for another forty grand. The last I heard of Rusty he was broke and running from his bodyguard, whom he had neglected to pay. When Rusty Diamond had a buck he made Howard Hughes look like a bum. He never realized that just being himself would have been good enough. Once, when we were alone, I saw him in tears, saying that nobody really cared for him. But he had set it up that way by acting the bigshot, and trying to buy admiration and loyalty. We're still getting little royalties from his old records. Here's one of my funniest songs, recorded by Rusty Diamond... http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11172961 And we'd like to see him again, even if he's broke. Copyright © August 3, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
July 30th, 2012... Hey, folks. Time for some more missives from Jack... so here they are...

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PICTURE AT A RAILROAD STATION. The cavernous old Railroad Station was dimly lit, or seems that way in my memory. My parents, my sisters, and I headed toward the big doors that led to the platform where the trains chugged and waited. It was the end of an era. One of us wasn't coming back...ever. We had never been your average family. My mother had been an artist and a model. My father was a flamboyant jack-of-all-trades: A stock broker at times, head of an oil company, owner of a gambling ship that never sailed, a mortgage broker, an aviator and author of a course on aeronautics. He was a party thrower and the life of every one, he made every holiday a festival. He was rich one year and broke the next. As a young man he was a boxer and a daredevil. During World War Two, he was drafted to be General Manager of the Bell Aircraft plant, at the same time there were rumors of his involvement with the black market. I came home from school one afternoon and couldn't get the front door open. It was stuck against silver fox furs. The whole house was knee deep in them. I don't know where he got them, but wasn't too surprised. We all knew him, and were ready for anything. There was a distinguished couple in the living room, browsing through the pelts. They were a New York State Supreme Court justice and his wife. My dad always started at the top. He was brilliant in an off-beat way, and an adventure as a father. Then he got sick. His disease had symptoms similar to Alzheimer's, and the smart, witty man of the world became like a child. He couldn't work. He tried. My mother submitted a resume for him, and got him a job on his track record as a mechanical engineer. She dressed him in a suit and tie and took him to the job. He called a few hours later to be picked up. He had ordered his crew to put way too much pressure on a ship's drive shaft they were working on, and blew it through the factory roof. The family was broke and had to split up. My father was to live with his sister in Ohio, "just until things get better". The rest of us were to sell all the furniture and belongings, and move in with my mother's parents in Florida. Certain memories stick in my mind like clear snapshots and never go away. One of those is the night at the railroad station when we kissed my father goodbye, and lied to each other that it was just temporary. I remember pushing through giant swinging doors that led to the train platform. The steam from the idling engine puffed out across my knees. The ceiling was dark and high with sooty light bulbs in it. And that's all I remember! The rest is gone. I do recall seeing him one more time several years later. I was hitchhiking from Florida or somewhere and I stopped in Miamisburg to see how he was. He opened the door, and after a minute he recognized me. I didn't think he would. He grabbed me in his strong arms and hugged tight. One moment in time again... like a photo... and everything after is blank. I don't have any memory of hearing of his death, or a funeral. I have a thing about funerals: People tell me I was there, but I have no memories of them. All in all, he was the tailor made father for me. We had so many good times, it's funny that this railroad station picture surfaces so often. There was a lot more happy than sad in our lives. Copyright © 2006, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.

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MORE BRAIN STATIC. It's probably a character defect, but the Summer Olympics are incredibly boring to me. I'd rather watch infomercials or eat glass. When does the hop scotch event come on? Do they play it in the water now? I used to play water polo, but my horse drowned. I was listening to the sound on the TV news. I panicked when they said we're having an invasion of midgets! Turned out they were midges. My apologies to vertically challenged people. Phrases that work for me: You must be present to win; If you don't ask, the answer is always no; When faced with a scary problem, jump in; The easiest and safest thing for a record executive to say is "No"; If they don't like you, they don't care if your music is good. One possible shortcut to success in music is to associate your music or yourself with a popular cause, political position, religion, or social movement. I'll bet you can think of a few entertainers who made it that way. It helps to be good too. Baptisms do make sense. Nothing can change a man's opinions like holding him under water. Arkansas Red writes... "Beaver lake is real low. So are the streams and rivers. In fact, one year Beaver Lake got so low that you could see what was left of the houses of the communities in the White River valley that were flooded over when Beaver Dam was built." More from Arkansas Red... "They've played the flatbed trucks at the county fairs in 105 degree heat on an afternoon with no shade, and if they were lucky got their money before the promoter skipped out. They've worked the high schools and the pie suppers, and the goat ropin's, etc.. They loved what they did, and even though sometimes there were few or no groceries on the table and the landlord was stood off for another month or so, they wouldn't change what they did. These are the real "heroes" of country music who should have a special Hall of Fame. There's still some of them out there, but they're hard to find." I used to eat in a greasy spoon diner every night after working in the paper mill. I had a weekly meal ticket to save a few bucks, and stayed in a room upstairs in an old hotel by the week. I guess I've done it all. Most of the homes around here are empty, and will be until autumn, when the snowbirds come back. Weekends are as much fun as a colonoscopy in the rain. If you're a guy who's never had the thrill of a kidney stone, it's a lot like giving birth to a porcupine. Misty and I like some of all kinds of music, I think. We play mostly country, jazz, older pop, R&B, and rock & roll. We have played Latin gigs and ballroom standards. Folk, hip-hop, and Celtic music are down our list, but we've heard some of each that we like. Bring it on. We listen to everything. Except maybe sitar music. I have to take Dramamine to listen to a sitar. The Golden Rule of the Music Business: The less musicians get paid, the less respect they get. My ignorance concerning political parties is impressing. I've been asked to join The Donner Party. Do I get a Donner Party Hat? I loved my good old 1934 Rickenbacher Bakelite lap steel guitar. I played this on our recordings. Got broke one day and sold it to a Nashville music store for $100. It's worth a small fortune. Ya win some, ya lose some. I once lived with kerosene heaters for heat, light, and cooking for months after they shut my power off. I smelled like kerosene for six months after I moved out. Misty was a poor kid. She says "I played with other kids for their toys. And I'm still doing it." One more nice thing about being rich: When things go wrong, you can sit on your yacht and sulk. I'd show you a picture of our mansion, but our ex-manager's family is living in it, and they won't tell us where it is. Copyright © July 29, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
July 26th, 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
IT'S THE CONTRASTS. I was rereading a very complimentary review of one of our records. The reviewer said this: "It's one of the best songs Jack has written in his long career as a songwriter." I read the write-up about a dozen times due apparently to a self-esteem problem. Then I started to think "What's wrong? I should be happier than this." Digging through my cluttered ego, I think I found the problem. It was the phrase "his long career". That's it? That was the career? Somehow I've always thought of myself as an up-and-comer, expecting to break into a career at any moment. I didn't know I was actually having one... a long one. I guess any musician who gets through life without resorting to a day job, can call it a career. How could I have had this alleged long career when I still feel 27 years old inside? It must be insecurity when I take a compliment as an obituary. Peggy Lee sang a famous song titled "Is That All There Is?". I know the song is good, but I always avoided listening to it. When it comes on, I mentally cover my ears and sing Jingle Bells, fake a coughing fit, or just leave the room. Some songs cut too close to the truths we don't want to hear. I write sad songs about life and death, so who am I to talk? But if I'm in the later chapters of a long career, where's my mansion? My big bank account? Misty and I were never Nashville insiders, and we never got paid for most of our efforts, but for some reason we still love our work, and will never retire. We're waiting for some excitement... a tour... the Big Break. Retirement to me is like endless recess. We have too much left to do. We'd like to move to Cortland, New York. It's beautiful country, they have a Country Music Hall of Fame, and there's an apple named after the town. So why not? Or maybe Tennessee or California, Australia or Buffalo. Somewhere to see new or old things. Have an adventure. I know Misty and I have been doing this for a lot of years, and yet it seems like one year. We've had unbelievable fun, and some real hell along the way. The bad times made the good times taste better. It's the contrasts. We still want more. We're addicted to life and music. Is that all there is? Not if I can help it. Copyright © July 25, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
July 22nd, 2012... Everybody likes a good review... in fact, I think I see one coming in now... A note from Dan Michel, Program Director WKRV/WPMB Vandalia, Illinois... "'Just One More Song' by Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan is built on a classic country arrangement...That enhances...but does not get in the way of the vocals... The song explores a classic country music theme...It's a break up song!...But it's a break up song that describes a graceful exit...Two lovers that appreciate each other and will look back fondly on the good memories that they made...Both Jack and Misty are in great voice...Showing more depth than they did in younger years...Jack effortlessly hits some dramatically low notes...And Misty's voice has gained a more soulful and bluesy tone over the years...But the highlight is when they harmonize...The harmonies captured here are among the best they have put on record." Thanks again, Dan, for your insightful review. Jack & Misty "JUST ONE MORE SONG" is on WHP Records. Give it a listen here: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=10728822
July 11th, 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
THE COLUMN ABOUT NOTHING. We just recorded our first album in over ten years. I was surprised that I can still sing. We didn't do this one in Nashville, Muscle Shoals, or Miami. We went to Ozone Studios in Jacksonville, with five of the best musicians we've ever recorded with. The album won't be released for a few months because we still need album cover pictures taken, and CD pressing, but here's one preview song just for you... http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11753308 In the news... "Due to a short circuit, a planned 18 minute fireworks display went off all at once. No one was seriously injured, but several 4th of July celebrants were hospitalized with ice cream cones up their noses." Also in the news... "After being tazed THREE times, the naked suspect continued to sing show tunes." The big news recently was The Doomsday Virus, which was supposed to prevent thousands of people from accessing the internet today. I haven't found any news about it since. What happened? Everybody who is not here raise your hand. I read that the job creation percentage is not rising because the population is growing faster than the jobs. So... We either have to create jobs faster, or outlaw sex. They are already outlawing sex in some counties because it could lead to dancing. Due to excessive heat, the global warming will be postponed until further notice. People who deny global warming are taking all the fun out of Armageddon. I'm not ready for the end of the world. I'm booked. To learn what your stage name should be, Take the name of your first pet, and then the name of the first street you lived on. Mine is Topsy Delaware. I used to dance under that name. Coincidence? I think not. Misty told me I have OCO. "I said "What's that?" She said "Obsessive Compulsive Obsessing." I said "Really?" She said "I couldn't think of the last word." Because the polar ice cap is disappearing, we are taking up a collection to send rowboats for the stranded polar bears. I hate passive-aggressives. They smile calmly while they get smoke coming out of your skull. Somebody said "Patriotism means getting sentimental about real estate." Of course that's just an old joke and not meant literally. I try to look at America sensibly, and to me America has shown greatness and has the potential to show more. I support the troops, but not necessarily all the wars. I've lived here all my life and don't want to live anywhere else. Even with a lot of things wrong, it's still my favorite country and flag. My home. "On July 4th we celebrated the birth of our nation as well we should. But deep down say a silent prayer for the passing of the family gathering." Walt Johnson. There are so many pictures of hot women in bathing suits on my Facebook news page that it's forcing me to sit closer to my computer. I may have to get my eyes retreaded. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." Just try to analyze that one. The whole concept is a little creepy. Maybe Ben Franklin needed therapy. Paraphrasing Will Rogers... "Money doesn't trickle down, it trickles up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before dark." At least we get to touch it for a few minutes. The heat index here in Central Florida today is 106. I think I'll run down the street naked. Naw. Too hot. Maybe just a naked mosey. Maybe it'll catch on and everybody will be Naked Moseying... Like the Macarina. A line dance. If you give a man a fish he can eat for one day, but you can't teach a fish to sing Granada. Copyright © July 11, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
July 5th, 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
OUR DOG CHILDREN. Our first dog was Brubeck, when we lived in Miami, before we had any popular recordings. We named him for our favorite jazz pianist Dave Brubeck. He was a wonderful, intelligent, and faithful friend. Brubeck was killed by a car while we were doing a live radio broadcast. We got home and received the news and were devastated. A few months later we got a basset hound puppy, Cecil. Cecil was impossible to train and bit everyone in the family. We took him when we moved to Key West. He was destructive, so when we went to work we had to close him in the bathroom, which he completely destroyed. Cecil got something serious wrong with his throat and we took him to a vet, which we couldn't really afford. The doctor said it was from howling all night every night when we were at work. We asked around for someone to take him, and it was the Mayor of Key West. A woman, maybe the Mayor's wife or assistant picked him up and he went happily away without a look back at us. I don't think Cecil ever knew who we were, or cared. And I don't think the mayor got much sleep that night. Then Misty came home with a whippet, a miniature greyhound named Prince. He was so little and skinny and shaky, he was pathetic. I think he had been abused. He was a sweetheart, and slept tightly between us. But he was so insecure that he marked his new territory all over our home and furnishings. We had to go somewhere for a week or so and entrusted Prince with neighbors. A bad mistake. When we came back, he was hiding under their trailer, with burns from hot liquid all over him. Misty jumped out of the car, strode up to the place past dirty kids, garbage, and yard dogs, grabbed up Prince and we took off. We loved him, but we knew a very nice young woman who was thrilled to take him from us, and would give him a good home. Sadly he got killed by a car while she was walking him across Duval Street on a leash. Poor little Prince's story is like something out of Dickens. The ABC Talent Agency then booked our trio throughout the Eastern US. In Montgomery, Alabama we got Wolf 1, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Blanchard. If a dog can be a genius, that would describe Wolf. He was a comedian, knew lots of tricks, and how to manipulate people... a puffy silver beauty, and everybody loved him. He would carry his leash to us when he wanted to go out. My socks began to disappear. We found out Wolf was hoarding them under our bed. We tiptoed in and saw a sock being slowly drawn back under the bed. Very sneaky. Sometimes Wolf would get in a mood, wouldn't come when called, so we found a strategy.... We would ring the doorbell and shout "Who is it?" He would come running and barking, to see who dared to come to his door. As smart as he was, it worked every time. Wolf had some seizures which were frightening to see. He seemed exceptionally healthy, and we didn't know he was also diabetic. We had to go on a brief tour and boarded him at the highest rated kennel in Orlando. We called from a rest area on the road to see how he was doing. The jerk on the phone simply said. "Oh, that dog? It died." We were angry and in tears for days. Later we got another toy poodle at a Winter Park pet store. He was let out of the cage, made a beeline for Misty, and seemed to run right up her, into her arms. Love at first sight. Wolf 2 was the opposite of Wolf 1 in personality. He was quite serious and tried to be the best person he could be at all times. He took care of Camille, our little Lhasa Apso. throughout her life. And especially when she got old and blind. In Nashville, Wolf's hind legs suddenly became crippled and he couldn't walk. Half his body was numb from a spinal injury. Misty and I carried him around on a pillow even when people were telling us to have him put down. We were pretty low on money at the time, but out of desperation I called Information from a telephone booth to try to find a doctor. I happened to get a very friendly operator on the line who loved animals, and she was sympathetic. She put me in touch with a surgeon who operated on Wolf and did not charge us a cent. A miracle. Wolf 2 had to be catheterized regularly after surgery and Misty did it for several months... even between shows. He was struggling to walk, and one day Misty came in laughing and happy shouting. "He just peed on his own!" It was a big event to us. After that he always walked with a slight hind leg stiffness, but he could run perfectly. The hardest thing I have ever had to do was hold Wolf on the table while the doctor put him to sleep. He was looking into my eyes and trusting me. All these years later I still tear up when I think of it. Wolf 2 and his little partner Camille were like brother and sister and lived with us for about sixteen years. They were our family. We love and miss all of our canine family, even Cecil. Copyright © July 4, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
June 20th, 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
A GOLDEN OLDIE: THE JOKE STRETCHER. Singers have to say something between songs, and Misty and I like to make audiences laugh, but we avoid jokes, per se. We're partial to funny remarks and one-liners, but once in a while a hilarious joke comes along, and the joke-stretchers are waiting there to ruin it. Some jokesters get dangerous once they have the floor. They like being the center of attention, so they drag the joke on and on, stomping the life out of it. They think they're building suspense, but what they are actually doing is trying the crowd's patience. To illustrate, here's a good old joke... "A guy with no arms applied for a job as bell ringer in a church. The priest said, 'A person has to have arms to ring a church bell'. The guy said, 'My family is starving! I need the job!' So he got hired and was up in the bell tower on Sunday morning, worrying about how to ring the bell. People were coming to the church, and he had to do something, so he ran at the big bell and hit it with his forehead. He knocked himself out, and fell out of the tower onto the ground. One of the churchgoers said, 'My God! Who is that?' Another said, 'I don't know his name, but his face rings a bell.'" I heard a well-meaning idiot tell it as follows... "This Irishman had lost his arms in a card game in the Gulf War... the first Gulf War... when George senior was in office. Not the present war. The other one. When he came home his old job as a hen teaser was taken, and he had to support his wife and three kids... one of each...ha ha ha. "Anyhoo, after walking the streets all day with no luck he saw a priest and a rabbi walk into a bar, and thought "Is this some kind of a joke?" "He went up to the priest and asked him for a job in his church, because his wife was really sick with the screaming meemies, and his kids were eating pictures of food out of magazines. "The priest said, "We do need a bell ringer...but your arms... You don't seem to have any. Your sleeves are floppy and all." The armless guy insisted, "I can do it, I tell you”. The rabbi whispered, "He'll probably work cheap”. (At this point in the story, people were trampling each other to get out the door, and others were leaping from windows, but the jokester was in his glory, and didn't notice.) "The days went by and finally it was Sunday...Nine AM, The guy was up in the tower trying to figure out what to do. He couldn't pull the rope. It wouldn't do any good to wrap his legs around the bell. A loud gong could make him walk funny for life. "The townspeople were already coming to the church. He had to do something fast, so he ran at the gigantic bell and rammed it with his head. The bell rang, but it knocked him unconscious. He fell over the railing, out of the tower, and landed on the ground in front of the churchgoers. "An old lady wearing a hat with a chicken on it said "My goodness! Who is that?" The kindly old priest knelt down with tears in his eyes and said, "I don't know his name, but his face rings a bell”." When nobody laughed, the jokester looked around and found himself alone, except for one man. That was me. I loved it. Copyright © June 19, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
June 16th, 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
A COMMERCIAL FOR A NEW DRUG. First it shows a field of flowers, and butterflies on a sunny spring day. Then this overweight man comes jogging across the landscape, clutching his chest and swatting at a butterfly. The announcer says this: "Do you have high cholesterol and low self-esteem? Are you tired of getting CPR from strangers? Are coronaries making you late for work? Maybe it's time you tried Damitol. Ask your doctor, if he speaks English." The jogging man is shown swallowing a pill and smiling. Happy music comes up, and the man is shown prancing gleefully across the meadow, cavorting with the sheep. Note - Sheep cavorting is illegal in some states. The announcer continues: "Damitol is not for everybody." (Then in a speeded up voice) "If you are allergic to squirrels, Formica, or dental floss, you may become comatose. Common side effects are: upset stomach, conniption fits, walking funny, stroke, kidney failure, insanity, migraines, frequent urination and lisping, cradle cap, liver damage, athlete's foot, vampire breath, speaking like Porky Pig, acute asthma, a cute butt, and death, or running amok. Start your day with a big purple pill, and hang glide off the mountain of your choice! "Warning: Dangerous if taken with saliva." Copyright © June 16, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
HOW MEN AND WOMEN WATCH TV. He: “I hope this movie isn't a lavish Broadway musical. I'd rather watch milk sour.” She: “Better than those car chases”. He: “That guy's a hell of an actor.” She: “He's wearing a toupee.” He: “How do you know that?” She: “I can tell. He: You think everybody and his dog is wearing a hairpiece.” She: “Look at the lip job they did on Geena Davis.” He: “Aren't you interested in the story?” She: “Lips and boobs. Lips and boobs. Talent not required.” He: “Who's that guy?” She. “He reminds me of some old time actor. What was his name?” He: “He's got a gun! I think he's gonna kill that bank teller!” She: “Did his name start with a "B"? Or was it an "M"?” He: “Wow! He shot all of them, and he's getting away!” She: “Was it Marcus something? Or Morris?” He: “Please don't start going through the alphabet. There's a car chase coming up.” She: “Montgomery? No. That's not it.” He: “Mathew, Medford, Mildew, Moe, Munchausen...For God Sake!” She:” Murphy?” He: “Aaaargh!” She: “I like that song they’re playing in the background.” He: “Whoa! They're gonna hit that ambulance!” She: “That was a hit song. I wonder who's playing it?” He: “Randy Newman. He plays all movie songs. Can we PLEASE watch the movie?” She: (Silence). He: “What are you doing?” She: “Looking at the paper.” He: Your missing the best part! She: “I see it. I'm just reading this one page.” He: “Oh, crap. A love scene.” She: “Why did you turn the sound off?” He: “I can't listen to all the heavy breathing.” She: “You'd listen if you were doing it.” He: “Well, that's the end of the picture. Did they go to jail? I wonder why I can never keep up with the plot?” She: “Wait. I want to read the closing credits.” He: “Why?” She: “To see when the picture was made. The hairstyles looked like 1987.” He: “What's the difference? They were all wearing toupees, lip jobs, and breast implants. Even the dog.” She: “I enjoyed that movie.” He: “What's on next?” Copyright © June 16, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
June 13th, 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
LET'S HEAR THE LYRICS. I hear too many recordings where the lyrics are lost. In Rock and Pop it doesn't seem to matter so much, but in Country we want to hear the words. If you don't put the vocal up front, they'll think you're ashamed of it. If the words aren't audible there are several possible culprits. The singer may not be making them clear, or the producer and engineer aren't recording them right. Sometimes the singer tries too hard to sound Southern or Country, and it comes out slurred and run together. Here's a trick to get rig of Singer's Lockjaw: Pretend you're singing to a deaf person who is reading your lips. When Misty and I record vocalists (ourselves and other artists) we use a soft-knee compressor on the mike and maybe later in the mixdown. The compressor brings out the low notes, the soft words, and the nuances that give an artist identity. The compressor should be set conservatively at 2.5:1 or less. The compressor itself should be inaudible. Sometimes the voice needs presence, or edge. To add vocal presence we boost the frequency slightly at 5kHz, and maybe a touch at 2 and 4kHz. For an "airy" vocal sound, 10kHz works. Too much presence can make the voice brassy and thin. A little bit can make it sound good, and bring out the lyrics. Enhancers like Aphex and BBE can help with general clarity, and instrument/vocal separation, but they are based on phasing and can cause distortion if overdone. We try to get backup lead instruments to play in the cracks between the singer's phrases, not during, and we try not to have too much going on in the singer's frequency range during the vocals. Misty and I find it helpful to analyze the lyrics beforehand, marking on lyric sheets where we want to take breaths, and which words we want to punch. If a song is good enough to record the lyrics should be heard. Each of us has different methods and tastes. I'm sharing ours just in case it may help somebody. Copyright © June 13, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
June 7th, 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
SOME NEW AND OLD NEWS. A couple of weeks ago we recorded a new album of original songs. The musicians, backup singers, and engineer were as creative and professional as any we've ever recorded with. And it was done in Jacksonville, Florida. We're going back in a week or so to overdub some vocal spots. It's exciting to feel back in the game, after all this time. I read that Facebook will just shut down in July. Just disappear. I don't believe it. But if it happens to be true, millions of people will be staggering around with a blank look, bumping into trees. I hope not. I've invested several years in our Facebook page. I'll have to get a paper route. Do they still have paper routes? When I was a kid we didn't have fast food. We just had slow food. No video games or computers or Ethanol or lifestyles. We were lucky to have rocks. Somehow I came through it unscathed. Well, maybe a little scathed. People are swallowing pure cinnamon just to show they can stand it. It could get rid of a number of dumb people. Why not just take them up on the roof of a building, give them a cape, and tell them they can fly. Mayor Bloomberg of New York City put a ban on sugary soft drinks over 16 ounces. The New Yorkers were on the streets, angry , grumbling, and shaking their fists. And THEN they heard about the ban. My aunt once posed nude for a world famous photographer. But he never looked up from his newspaper, and she was barred for life from the lobby of the Biltmore Hotel. Head for the roundhouse. They can't corner you there. Copyright © June 6, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
May 28th, 2012...
Another milestone! :) Over 200,000 video views on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/jackandmisty!

May 26th, 2012...

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BEING OURSELVES. THE NEW RECORDINGS. We've been away from home and computers, recording a new album, and we returned to find nearly 3,000 emails. It will be a while before we catch up. The album will be titled "We Walked this Road Before". It was our first recording of new original songs in some years, but we think we did okay. STORY SONGS. I like story songs and write them when I can. Just describing a person or feeling is not a story. Something has to happen to make it a story... Some action resulting in a life change, a lesson, an epiphany, or maybe a surprise ending. I think the songwriter ought to feel it while creating it. To me it's like a screenplay, and I'm in it. Rhyming dictionaries and clever word play will get us by, but they seldom create a classic. Writing, singing, and performing are all creative efforts. Don't settle for polite applause. Go for the standing ovation every time. Leave them thinking about it after the last note fades away. BEING YOURSELF. Certain people say to me "Just be yourself." I say "Which self?" If I sometimes sit and sulk at home, I don't want to be that way on stage. Yet the guy I am onstage is also the real me. And I think I'm different with different people, according to what they bring out of me. I'm a different self now that I was as a child, or a teen. We all have many facets to our character, and the next time somebody tells me to be myself, I'll just say "Bite me." CARS. We had three big white station wagons in a row. Then we bought a mid-size blue station wagon. Misty was washing it when a passing neighbor called "I see you had your car painted." Misty said "Yes, we had it painted a smaller color." PETS. When a pet dies I feel terrible for years. I'm going to get a pet I don't like. If it croaks, who cares? GHOSTS. I said "Grandpa, why are you so mean and scary now that you're a ghost? You were so nice when you were alive!" He said "Yeah, but that was then. Bwahahahaha." POLITICS. Some people say "Throw them all out." That's easier than thinking. Let's check for ourselves and can see what's going on, and keep the good ones. I believe there are some good ones. Misty and I are Democrats, but we don't argue politics if there is an available escape route. Some of our closest friends are on the other side, but we still love each other. The secret is to stick to matters we all enjoy... like music, for instance. And we don't send out snippy stuff about Republican candidates. We'd like to, but we're too angelic. THESE FROM UNCLE WILL CAMPBELL. "Today is the day I quit worrying about what I don't have and start being grateful for all the wonderful things that I've managed to borrow and keep for my own. And I will sleep the sleep of a contented child, excited with expectation, because I know tomorrow is going to be the best day of my life, ever! But, I doubt It." "I'll go out of my way to perform an unexpected act of kindness for someone I don't even know, as long as there's something in it for me." Copyright © May 26, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
May 23rd, 2012... HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MISTY MORGAN!!! And here's a bit of history I didn't know about... We found this posted this on Youtube today: "On this day in 1970 {May 23rd} Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan performed this song on the late Dick Clark's American Bandstand... Four months earlier on January 28th it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100; eventually it peaked at #23 and spent 13 weeks in the Top 100... It reached #1 on both Billboard's Country 100 chart and the Canadian Country chart... The day they appeared on Bandstand was Ms. Morgan 25th birthday, she was born on May 23rd, 1945 in Buffalo, NY... R.I.P. Mr. Clark..." We had forgotten much of that history. Jack & Misty Watch our American Bandstand here: http://youtu.be/zNEqWn_m0uI Here's to many more! Jerry.
May 21st, 2012... A little heads-up for something to celebrate on Wednesday... Associated Press: Celebrity Birthdays for May 23rd 2012. Today's Birthdays: Bluegrass singer Mac Wiseman is 87. Actor Nigel Davenport is 84. Actress Barbara Barrie is 81. Actress Joan Collins is 79. Actor Charles Kimbrough is 76. Actress Lauren Chapin is 67. Country singer Misty Morgan is 67. Country singer Judy Rodman is 61. Singer Luka Bloom is 57. Actor-comedian Drew Carey is 54. Country singer Shelly West is 54. Actor Linden Ashby is 52. Actress-model Karen Duffy is 51. Actress Melissa McBride is 47. Rock musician Phil Selway (Radiohead) is 45. Actress Laurel Holloman is 44. Rock musician Matt Flynn (Maroon 5) is 42. Singer Lorenzo is 40. Country singer Brian McComas is 40. Singer Maxwell is 39. Singer Jewel is 38. Actor Lane Garrison is 32. Actor Adam Wylie is 28.
May 20th, 2012...

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A WEIRD LITTLE HOSPITAL EPISODE. Here's a weird little episode from my hospital stay in 2008. I was told not to eat or drink anything for twelve hours before checking in. After checking in there was a six hour delay before my surgery, and then more hours of no eating or drinking during surgery and after it was over. I woke up starving and thirsty, but there was a sign on my room door that said "NPO". NPO is an abbreviation of the Latin "Non per os" or "Nothing by mouth". This is like the Catholics calling the Bingo numbers in Latin so the Protestants can't win. I had a new nurse who was friendly enough, but not the type who would sneak you stuff. She said I would probably get food and drink soon, but not to have anything until she found out for sure.. A few minutes later a tray of beautiful food was wheeled in and presented to me. I thought that maybe the nurse had worked it out for me, but I also thought that it might be a mistake. I put that out of my mind and began eating. Just then the nurse walked in and said "Who gave you that food?" Between gulps I said "Didn't you order it?" She raised her voice and said" And I gave you specific orders not to eat..." I started eating faster. She was getting louder when I noticed a huge cherry cobbler on the far side of the tray, and went for it. She yelled and I ate at full speed ahead. She threw up her hands and stormed out of the room. Speaking of "threw up", later that night I barfed up something that appeared to be extra-terrestrial, and the whole hospital went into red alert. They rushed samples of my output to the lab, and somebody thought I was poisoned. Someone else mentioned carbolic acid, and others suspected internal bleeding. I had a crowd around my bed and staff members running in and out of the room. Then the news came back from the laboratory: "No sign of poison, blood or anything harmful." I guess the lab technicians weren't looking for cherry cobbler. Copyright © May 20, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
May 17th, 2012...

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WHY SUCCESS IS IMPOSSIBLE. A PEP TALK FOR MUSICIANS. When scientists discovered that much of what they thought was “reality” was made up of stuff they don't understand, they did what they do best... They gave it a fancy name: “The Chaos Factor”. The usual example of this is: A butterfly in Georgia flutters its wings, starting a snowball effect that winds up as a tornado in Montana, or a Walmart in Punxatawney. These things are unpredictable, which is weather forecasters' excuse for getting paid. (Are TV weather girls more pregnant than average humans?) The Chaos Factor is not really chaos at all. It’s just too many facts for our little brains to process. Data overload. Here's how The Chaos Factor can work in the Music Business: You've been striving all your life toward a career in the recording industry. You started playing guitar as a fetus. You wrote your first song when you were six months old... "Time for a Change, Mama". By the time you reach your teens you already have a recording contract. You write, produce, sing, and promote your records. A couple of decades go by and you're still trying, never giving up, and then you finally have a hit that climbs to #2 with a bullet in Billboard. You make a down payment on a guitar shaped Porsche. About this time a guy in Lake Monroe, Florida has just recorded "Dance of the Living Dead Chickens". He recorded it in an empty dumpster, with six bass drums and a police whistle. It debuts in Billboard at #1, and parks there for two months, killing your chances, and a number of your brain cells. Your family spends the next ten years trying to coax you out of your guitar case. Nothing happens for the next two or three decades, and then you get one more big break. Somebody has dug up and re-released your old recording, and it's all the way up to #2 again! But there's this guy in Outhouse, Ohio who is just now putting out a song called "Moon Me Again, Mrs. Mooney", and it looks like a hit. Success in music is really not impossible. Neither is winning the lottery, so, keep trying. It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. Copyright © May 16, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
May 16th, 2012... Hi. Sorry we haven't written. We've been away from home and computers, recording a new album, and we returned to find nearly 3,000 emails. There is still some post-production work to be done on the new tracks, so it will be a while before we catch up. Thanks for all the Happy Birthdays to Jack. :) (Misty's is coming up May 23rd..She would love to hear from you.) We think the new songs turned out fine... maybe even better than expected. The album will be titled "We Walked this Road Before", and should be ready in a couple of months. It was our first recording of new original songs in some years, but we think we did okay. Thanks for your patience. Your friends, Jack & Misty
May 4th, 2012...

April 30th, 2012... Well, folks, tomorrow being the first of May, it's officially Birthday Month here at The Best Nest in the West! We officially celebrate Birdwalk's 12th year on May 1, Misty's birthday a little later... did we forget anybody? Oh, yeah... right... THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS, MAY 8TH. May 8: Comedian Don Rickles is 86. Singer Toni Tennille is 72. Country singer Jack Blanchard is 70. Singer Gary Glitter is 68. Drummer Chris Frantz of Talking Heads and of Tom Tom Club is 61. Singer Philip Bailey (solo and with Earth, Wind and Fire) is 61. Country musician Billy Burnette is 59. Drummer Alex Van Halen of Van Halen is 59. Actor Stephen Furst ("St. Elsewhere," ''Animal House") is 58. Actor David Keith is 58. Actress Melissa Gilbert is 48. Drummer Dave Rowntree of Blur is 48. Drummer Del Gray of Little Texas is 44. Singer Darren Hayes (Savage Garden) is 40. Singer Enrique Iglesias is 37. Actress Julia Whelan ("Once and Again") is 28. Happy Birthday, Jack!!! (Even if it is a bit early.)

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SONGS FROM THE REMNANTS OF THE YEAR. I write more songs during the remnants of the year, when emotions are nearer to the surface, the past is just over our shoulder, and old voices whisper in our ear. Here’s one of those songs. When the Blues Come in from the Rain. When the river's runnin' gray, On a dark and cloudy day, And the winds that bring October Make the weeds and reeds and cattails sway... Thinking my life over, I see your face again, When the Blues Come In From the Rain When the leaves are coming down On the sidewalks wet and brown, And the cars all have their lights on As they make their way back home from town, Time may fade your picture, But it sure don't dull the pain, When the Blues Come In From the Rain. Don't get me wrong, I'm not sayin' I'm to blame Just the same, I've got an empty feeling inside. Sometimes I'd like to break right down and call your name, But all that I've got left now is my pride. When the Blues Come In From the Rain, And your face appears, The tears are only raindrops on my window pane. Still, if I could live life over, I'd go back the way we came... When the Blues Come In From the Rain ******************************************* Listen to the song here: http://tinyurl.com/35qnsz6 Copyright © April 30, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. "WHEN THE BLUES COME IN FROM THE RAIN": Words and music by Jack Blanchard. Copyright © Jack Blanchard Songs (BMI). All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.

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HOME IS A PLACE IN MY MIND. I wasn't raised around Country music, but I chose it as my life's work because I like it, because it fits my voice and writing style, and because I'm too nervous to steal. I grew up in a city and was exposed to very little Country music. When I first heard Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, and Lefty Frizzell, I was fascinated! Maybe you were brought up on Country music, but to me it was a whole new thing! The imagery in the lyrics held extra drama for me because I'd never been to those places. Distant places hold a magic. Our family took Sunday drives through the countryside. We loved it, and I even envied the folks who lived there, even though I knew it wasn't for me. I can only take so much peace and quiet. But I DO have a country home. It's in my songs. A PLACE IN MY MIND. Home - a place in my mind with summertime snow… Home - a place in my mind where wintertime flowers grow… I can go home in the springtime and see the leaves turn gold, Or just drop in and say hello to my folks, In a place where they'll never grow old Home - a feeling of love that the family gives… Home - a place in my mind where Grandpa and Grandma still live… Dad's gonna shake my hand, I'll get a kiss from Mom, I know. Home - a place in my mind where I sometimes go. Home - a place in my mind where dandelions blow… Home - a tree I can climb and look at the world below… I can sit out on the front porch in that squeaky swing, Or just drop in to my yesterday house, Where little sisters often sing. Home - a place in my mind with a kitchen that's warm… Home - by the fireside glow, I'm lookin' out at the storm… And when this lonesome traveler's feeling kinda low, Home - is a place in my mind where I sometimes go. * * * You can hear the song at this website: http://tinyurl.com/7834c8s Copyright © April 29, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. "A PLACE IN MY MIND": Lyrics and music by Jack Blanchard. Copyright © Jack Blanchard Songs (BMI). All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
April 21st, 2012...

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STARTING OUT. It took us a while to find out who we were supposed to be. Maybe some musicians start out one way and never change, but we tried just about everything. In Miami we played jazz, we played rock and roll, rhythm and blues, society ballroom music, and doubled on a variety of instruments, just trying to find our niche...and to not starve. Once I brought a trombone home and tried to play it. Property was sold on our street by neighbors fleeing from the racket. It sounded like a crazed elephant. I paid no attention in my fervor to be a tromboner. Eventually I learned to play one song well, "Georgia on My Mind", and the audiences liked it and asked for an encore. I was dumb enough to try a second song. I knew I didn't have the lip for it but I was caught up in the glory, and went ahead and assaulted the second song. My lip gave out half way through, but I continued trying to blow my liver out the horn. It sounded like an ambulance hitting a buffalo. A guy at the first table said "Is that out boat leaving?" I tried the bongos, timbales, and the vibes but didn't see our career improving. I played "Swingin' Shepherd Blues" on the flute... Nothing. You could hear crickets. Piano was my best instrument but Misty played better than I did, so I was trying to play something else. Misty would switch around too, from piano to organ to vibes, while I did a piano number. Funny...we never thought of featuring vocal duets until much later. The worst move we made was to try to be a comedy group. We found out later that we could be funny on the mike with just talk, but starting out we didn't know that. So we went to novelty shops and bought rubber chickens, Groucho glasses, and arrows that go through your head. We didn't know we could ad lib, so we rehearsed corny routines with our sax player, Paul Mclaughlin. My face is still red. In retrospect, what we were doing was imitating other bands who were getting better jobs. One miraculous day we found out we were supposed to be Jack and Misty, and not everybody else. We wrote some songs, sang together in our own new style, and took the act to Key West. We had a recording contract within three weeks, and went to Nashville for our first sessions. We have never varied from our personal style since that time, even when the pressure was on us to conform. A lot of artists got richer than we did, staying in the mainstream, and we've been through some hard times, but if we had it to do again we wouldn't change much at all. Copyright © April 21, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
April 18th, 2012...
Dick Clark has died and it saddens us. He was always good to us. At a restaurant, many years after we were on Bandstand, he came over to our table and talked with us while his dinner got cold. A really nice guy. One in a million. Jack and Misty with Dick Clark on American Bandstand.

April 16th, 2012... LATE BREAKING NEWS!!! Our song "YOU COME SO EASY TO ME" is #1! Congratulations, Jack and Misty! Let's celebrate with a column!

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EXPLAINING THE MONKEY. (With a shiny new ending.) I recently wrote a little story titled “The Monkey in the Corner”. * For reference, I am placing it at the bottom of this page. Like life itself, the tale lacks a good ending and has hardly any plot. This goes against the rules of good fiction. In our ignorance, Misty and I got some good laughs out of it, before we realized it was flawed. The bulk of the trouble was caused by the appearance of a monkey in what was meant to be a serious commentary on psychiatry. I’m sorry about it, and, by way of atonement, I will admit this: It wasn’t my fault. That monkey had no business in this story, and I’m not sure how he got there. He does seem familiar. I think he’s from a monkey story I wrote some time back. I let him stay in because he didn’t have any lines, but I won’t make that mistake again. Then again... sometimes in life we just need a monkey. Jack Blanchard * THE MONKEY IN THE CORNER. The patient, Mr. Blanchard, droned on from the psychiatrists couch: “...the voice in my mind keeps repeating things. It’s very annoying... and sometimes it gets on a song... always a song I hate...It just...” Doctor Barney popped out of his semi doze: “You hear voices in your head?” “Oh, not schizophrenic voices”, said the patient. “Just my normal internal monologue.” “Yeah, right. Normal”, thought the shrink, in his own thought voice, which was being sarcastic. That’s when the good doctor saw the monkey in the corner. At first it looked like a shadow from the potted palmetto, but then he saw that it was clearly a monkey, and it was looking back at him. Mr. Blanchard was still rambling away in that whiny monotone that made psychiatrists demand the big bucks, but Dr. Barney’s attention was on the new wildlife that had somehow gotten into his office. His own inner voice was busy: “Could I be hallucinating? Do doctors do that? Should I call Animal Control or check myself into the squirrel cage?” The monkey rolled back his lips and tossed the doctor a grotesque grin. The doctor said to the patient, “Mr. Blanchard, I want you to sit up now. That’s it. Sit straight up and look around the room. Now, tell me what you see” “Well,” said the patient, “I see a nice, well-decorated office, and a beautiful sunny day through the window. I get it! You’re absolutely right! I should be happy! I can CHOOSE to be happy! I can turn my back on petty annoyances, hold my head up high, and take my rightful place in society! Thank you, doc. You’re a genius! I guess I won’t be coming back.” And he left, closing the door behind him. Dr. Barney and the monkey both looked at the door. Mrs. Finch, the receptionist, noting that the patient was leaving before the hour was up said, “Is everything all right, Mr. Blanchard?” He said: “I didn’t mention the monkey.” She said: “Thank you.” * * * And now... for those readers who have complained about the unsatisfying ending, I offer the rest of the story: A wrecking crew sent to demolish the baseball stadium next door, got the wrong address and dynamited the doctor's building by mistake. All the people in this story were blown up except the monkey. The monkey lived happily ever after. Copyright © April 14, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
April 14th, 2012...
Kind of speaks for itself, doesn't it? :)

April 5th, 2012...

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MY ANNUAL ATTEMPT AT EASTER HUMOR. I wonder how ham, rabbits, and eggs got involved with Easter? This season is a little rough on our livestock. For my Easter magic trick, I pull a flaming rabbit out of my pants. I'm just healing up from last year. That rabbit wouldn't come out. I had to pour my drink down there. Eating rabbit at Easter is like eating Santa at Christmas. I like powder blue, yellow, and white. Anybody know how they came to be the Easter colors? What's the deal with coloring eggs, and why do we look for them? Does the rabbit bring and hide the eggs? Is that our story to the kids? Do the kids believe it, or are they humoring us? Where does this weird rabbit get the eggs anyway, and should he seek psychiatric help? Should we? A bit of advice: Don't pick up the brown eggs. We have our own family tradition... On Easter Sunday, we all go out on the lawn and play "Stomp the Bunny". I feel like doing something wild and dangerous for the weekend. I'm putting the damn bananas in the refrigerator! Copyright © April 5, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.

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THE GOODBYE SONG. (I wrote these lyrics a long time ago as part of a funny story, but we never looked at it as an actual novelty song. This song is about two people saying goodbye and neither one really wants to leave.) When I'm gone - you'll find that I won't be here anymore. When I go - I'll say goodbye and walk out thru the door. Then you'll see it won't be me that's with you as before. When I'm gone - you'll find that I won't be here anymore. When I'm gone - if you're alone you'll know that I'm not here. When I go - if I am far away you'll know I won't be near. Then you'll see it won't be me that's with you as before. When I'm gone - you'll find that I won't be here anymore. (CHORUS) Goodbye - Goodbye - I think you ought to know... It doesn't mean I'm going to stay. It means I'm going to go. Goodbye - Goodbye - The sun comes up at dawn. You'll find I won't be here no more, Honey, when I'm gone. (Spoken in fade): (He) "You leave first." (She) "Why should I leave first? YOU go first." (He) "I'm not leaving until you do." (She) "Well, I can stand here as long as you can." (He) "I'm not moving." (Now we're busy putting it to music for our recording session next month.) Copyright © April 4, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. "The Goodbye Song": Lyrics and music by Jack Blanchard. Copyright © Jack Blanchard Songs (BMI). All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
April 2nd, 2012... Hi folks. Well, it's been a rather hectic week for yours truly (your friendly neighborhood webmeister™) what with unexpected illness, computer being in the shop, and all, but I'm back now and running at about 90%, so let's see what I've missed in the last week, what say? Here's Jack...

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WHEN COUNTRY SHOWS CHANGED. In the 1970s country music shows featured a whole string of stars. Often the number of major artists on a show was ten, and they advertised them as "Country Music Cavalcade" or "Country Star Parade". There were older stars and younger stars, all in it together. It was fun, and a whole lot of entertainment for the crowds. Around 1980 we were told by our agents that things were changing. The artists with current hits were considered "major artists", and everybody else was "marginal" or "minor". The major artists and their agents were demanding ALL the money, and marginal artists were not getting booked, including some pioneers and icons of the genre. The days when we had shared show bills with Merle Haggard, Charlie Pride, Boots Randolph, Jerry Reed, Roy Clark, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tom T. Hall, Grampa Jones, George and Tammy, Archie Campbell, and all the others... those days were at an end. We struggled around America through the 80s, playing some places where our fans came to see us, and other places where nobody knew who we were... not even the owners. We would go from a Jack and Misty concert in Dayton to a jazz club in Schenectady. Our early musical experience helped us to survive. Where and when Misty and I started out you had to know the old standards... pop and jazz songs from about about 1920 through the forties and fifties. Working at piano bars we had to know all the ancient singalong songs, barbershop songs, Irish songs, and other ethnic favorites. Having to learn all these kinds of music was an education that came in handy later. We have jammed with some of the best country bands, even playing jazz with Ernest Tubb's band at the E.T. Record Shop. Originally, Misty and I were both piano players. There weren't many good electronic keyboards then. During the seventies we were very much into the new analog equipment. We found that with a small combo and the new keyboards we could sound more like our recordings, and do it all live. Here's an example where we used just three keyboards and our drummer. Misty sings a good old standard ballad. On her two keyboards she plays piano, backup vocals, brass, etc.. On my keyboard I do acoustic bass and rhythm guitar. Click this link to listen: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=9551212 This kind of stuff saved our lives when times got tough. Copyright © April 1, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.

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GETTING PARANOID ABOUT AGE. I'm getting paranoid about age. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of photographs in circulation taken of us when we were younger, and now we seem to be in competition with our younger selves. When we meet somebody in the supermarket, and they start up a conversation, it often ends up with them wanting a business card so they can find our home page, or contact us by phone. They are starting to say things like this: "WOW! That picture must have been taken a long time ago!" We wrestle with them to trying to get the card back, because, actually, the picture on our card was taken just two years ago! The picture was taken in a good light and we were all gussied up for a special occasion. (That's the first time I've ever said "gussied up".) Then we threw away most of the photos taken that night and picked the one that looks the least awful. It's real and looks pretty good, but we don't come off like that half asleep, on a hot windy day, and under the supermarket Fluorescent lights. I'm thinking of getting cards with terrible pictures on them, so people will say good things like "Hey, you look great now! I'm glad you survived the train wreck." Maybe a picture of two skeletons. But then they'd say "I see you've gained weight." Maybe we can get cowboy hats with flattering lights under the brims. Or wear our hoodies on backwards. Those young Misty and Jack brats out there are getting annoying. Copyright © March 28, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
March 20th, 2012...

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SEARS AND ROBOT. This is true. Misty called Sears today and got a computerized operator that asked her to speak the name of the department she wanted. She said "Men's Apparel." The voice said "Children's Apparel?" Misty coughed. The robot said "I'm sorry I didn't understand that." This went on for 15 minutes. Finally Misty said "OH, MY GOD!". The operator said "OK. Please hold while I connect you." ******************************************************************** "TRY" (Our new song.) "Our laughter has a touch of pain, Like flowers need the touch of rain, And the sweetest songs we sing are always sad. We hurt the ones we love, and then, When forgiven, hurt again, And we always want the things that we can't have. We look ahead, we look behind, But when we look inside we find We value life the most just before we die. So if we stumble, if we fall, We're only human after all. The best that you and I can do is Try. I was sittin' there in a kitchen chair, worries on my mind. I looked up from my coffee cup, and saw that you were cryin'. Reached my hands across the table to let you know my love was strong, But I couldn't think of a thing to say except the words to this old song: We look ahead, we look behind, But when we look inside we find We value life the most just before we die. So if we stumble, if we fall, We're only human after all. The best that you and I can do is Try. " You can listen to it on your computer here: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=10428525 ********************************************************************************* I HOP. The road south from the Florida border was comparatively dull. We passed an "IHOP" sign on the highway, and Misty sang a little song: "I Hop Alone. Because, to tell you the truth, I'm a rabbit. I don't mind. It's a habit. I Hop Alone." Sometimes she gets deep. Copyright © March 20, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
March 17th, 2012... Happy St. Patrick's Day, folks! How about we kick it off with a songwriting lesson from Jack, what say? (I'm sorry, it's too late to make any other requests.) Here's our leader...

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ON WRITING SERIOUS LYRICS. I can't tell a songwriter how to write, but I can describe some of my methods that others may find helpful. On a serious lyric I try to avoid cleverness. It sucks the sincerity right out of it. First I stare out the window a while and mentally put myself in a place and situation, and see where it goes from there. In my case, most of them are places and situations I've been in. I set the scene with a few details I call "furniture", to get the feel of it, then the story develops from that. I have some examples. "Dandelions that grow along the highway, Silver gray they blow away like foam. Trucks roll by and make the blackbirds fly away. Seems like there ain't no goin' home." I was broke and hitchhiking in the rain outside Phenix City, Alabama. I had a hangover, a new sore tattoo, and no home to go to. Until then I'd thought I was the happy wanderer. I was hitching vaguely northward because I had remnants of a family somewhere up there. "Spent what I had left in Phenix City. Nothin' in my pocket but my comb. The way I look this morning ain't so pretty. It seems like there ain't no goin' home. Oh, it seems like there ain't no goin' home." I had walked away from a couple of relationships, thinking there would always be another waiting in the wings. I found you can't depend on that. These were not perfect relationships, but on that journey, I could have used a partner. "Over on the hill I see a farmer, Workin' in his field behind a mule. There'll be smoke from the chimney of his cabin, In the evening when the air is turning cool; And a woman cookin' supper in the kitchen. That's not for me, you see my freedom's all I own. Here and there I get my share of lovin', But it seems like there ain't no goin' home. Yeah, it seems like there ain't no goin' home." After a lot of rides to nowhere that left me stranded in desolate places, I wound up in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania with the flu. It was cold and all I had for warmth was a fold up plastic raincoat. The town was having a centennial, and a bunch of good-natured men, including a sheriff, wanted to arrest me for not having a beard, as I was sitting shaking in the Greyhound station. I had somehow come up with bus fare to Buffalo, where relatives agreed to take me in, but the bus driver didn't want to let me on the bus because of my shaking, and the awful way I looked, and the wrinkled plastic I was clutching around myself. But it must have turned out all right because I'm still here. And I got a song out of it. You can hear the song here: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=8081265 Copyright © March 16, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. "It Seems Like There Ain't No Goin' Home": Words and music by Jack Blanchard. Copyright © Jack Blanchard Songs (BMI). All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
March 10th, 2012...
"TRY" (2012 version) is the #1 country song downloaded by radio stations this month! People say it's our best record in years. What do you think? AirPlay Direct Link: www.AirPlayDirect.com/whpcompilationvol130 It can also be heard here: http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=10428525
Wow! Way to go, Jack and Misty! Tell you what, folks... let's celebrate this with a column from Jack!

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
IF I WERE KING. If I were king... a captain of industry, a leader of the people, and wanted to stay king of my hill, here's what I would probably do: I would charge the consumers more and give them less. If I couldn't raise prices fast enough, I'd put merchandise like coffee in smaller containers without lowering the price. The masses have become used to creeping inflation, so I would creep my prices up at a respectable rate. It doesn't mean I have to give them anything more. I would always think of the little people as "the masses". It's more pleasant to rob those I don't see as real people. I would build them half-million-dollar houses made of particle board, screening, and vinyl stucco, and hang them together with staples. It's become tradition. Another way to up profits (which, of course, is God's will), is to fire most of my Customer Service and Support staff so that that my marks, I mean customers, will have to wait on the line 40 minutes to tell their problems to my computer. I never did like hearing customer's complaints. They should just hand over their money and shut up. If my companies did anything to kill a few peons and they sued me, I would naturally blame the lawyers and pay my politicians to pass laws protecting me from my victims. I can downsize (not "fire") all the employees I want, and call it efficiency. I can ship jobs overseas, and blame it on the unions. My governments can spend all they want as long as my companies and I get all we want. I can use the plural "governments" because I would owe no allegiance to any one country or state, the USA being just one of my branch offices. I think my true stroke of genius is this: Turn the middle class, the poor, and the semi-poor against each other. All ethnic groups can blame each other for their problems. The unemployed can hate the homeless and the immigrants. The middle class can blame the Welfare recipients, while my gang steals the real money. Hate is such a wonderful diversion! None of them would be looking my way at all. I would be above suspicion. In fact, they'd look to me for leadership, wisdom, and mercy. Yeah, right. I have a lot more great plans for healthcare, prisons, social services, and those annoying seniors with their Social Security. So much to do! Life is good. Wait a minute! It's just a dream. Nobody would really be like that... or would they? Copyright © March 9, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
March 7th, 2012... And now -- just the thing to clear your head from all that Limbaugh nonsense... here's Jack.

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
FINDING THE THE HOOK. It was ten minutes to one AM in Nashville, by the studio clock. The pickers were tired and ready to pack up and head out. They were also bored cross-eyed by the three songs they had just recorded for the new singer. The material would have been more interesting if it had been terrible, but it was just amazingly mediocre... in fact it should be in the Guinness Book of Records under “Mediocre”. Now the singer was insisting on getting in one more song, and there was no escape. The union says they are hired for the full three hours. They did one quick run-through on the fourth song, and the vocalist began to sing. The harmonica player found it hard to play while yawning. As they were heading into the second bridge, the singer got unexpected gas, and the rather obscene sound was picked up by the microphone, in living stereo, with reverb, and bled through all 24 tracks. It did wake the musicians up. They all looked suspiciously at each other, because there was no dog to blame. The engineers tried unsuccessfully to get the noise out during the mixdown. In their frustration and excitement, mistakes were made, and the first three songs were accidentally erased. The singer was ready to cry, because he was quickly running out of money, and his potential career depended on one single track with a fart in it. The only course he could take was having a few hundred copies pressed and sending them to radio stations, hoping they would not notice that part of the record. A couple of overworked deejays were busy and did let it slip by. Calls started to come in. Listeners were asking to hear it again, because they couldn’t believe their ears. Some of the more vulgar ones thought it was funny, and others could relate to the recording artist’s embarrassment and gave him a sympathy vote. This, of course, is how popular records come to be. Critics argued about it, some saying that it was artistic integrity, and others condemning it as a bad influence on their children, who apparently had never heard such a sound. In some places the song was banned, which is a sure way to get a hit. Although the real title was “You’re So Sophisticated”, the public called it “The Fartt Song”, and that’s how it will go down in music history. The singer had a few more chart entries, until he ran out of animal sounds, and tried to switch to straight ballads. Nobody took him seriously. He’s been depressed ever since, but thanks to that unfortunate little outburst, he can sulk while sitting on his yacht. He'd found the hook. Copyright © March 7, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
March 4th, 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
A TALE OF TWO NINNIES. It was the best of times, and then some crap happened. Everybody loved Father FitzMother, the old Irish priest. When his high voice sang out "Top o' the mornin' to ya" it would put a smile on a constipated leprechaun. Then one day folks noticed he said it when nobody was around. He said it to squirrels. He said it to doorknobs. A brutal killer admitted his crimes in the confessional, and the aged priest gave him a "Top o' the mornin' to ya". The criminal flew into a rage and the good father was rushed to the ER with a clay pipe lodged in his lower intestine. They gave him a strong anesthetic, but not for pain... just to shut him up. It was like having a crazy parrot. No longer able to fulfill his priestly duties, he turned to crime He would toss his manic "Top o' the mornin' to ya" at strangers on the street. They would smile back while he picked their pockets. He was arrested and sent to the nut ward, where he was diagnosed as having a rare form of Tourette's Syndrome. His release papers read: "Annoying, but harmless". He was homeless for a while. The other homeless people would leap into dumpsters when he approached. Harriet Freehorn was a seventy-nine year old widow, and a former parishioner of Father F.. She was also deaf as a yak in heat... a deaf yak. Harriet thought her ex priest was just being affectionate when he was picking her pockets. She couldn't hear what he was saying. To make a long story dumber, they moved in together, her hearing was miraculously restored, and the first words she heard were these: "Top o' the mornin' to ya". She thought it was cute for about twenty minutes, and then she beat him to death with a stuffed owl. Copyright © March 3, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
March 1st, 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
LITTLE PIECES OF JEWELRY. I get a lot of encouraging letters from people who say nice things about my writings, songs, articles, and stories. It’s a real incentive to write more. Most of my writing seems to me to be accidental. By that I mean: I have never planned or plotted a story or song in my life. I don’t know how. I usually let my mind wander into a situation, real or imaginary, and the pictures unfold in front of me. I just take down what happens, as it happens. I don’t know what the ending will be until it ends. I’m as surprised as everybody else. I seldom know the title of a song until the rest of it is done. I often have a temporary working title but it’s usually replaced and demoted to a line somewhere in the piece. Any craftsmanship I may have comes later, when I go in and heartlessly edit the whole thing, trying to get rid of all phrases that don’t add to the story, and replacing all words that are almost right with ones that are closer to right. I don’t like fill-in lines. I’d rather have it short. Or, maybe a better word is “tight”. In school sports I was a good sprinter but not good in any race over 100 yards. I did okay in football, baseball, and hockey because the action is in spurts. My writing limitations are the same... short all-you’ve-got bursts. I like composing song lyrics because they’re miniatures, like little pieces of jewelry. Working out the music part is fun because the secret of music is surprises. The music can come first, last, or along with the words. No formula works for me all the time. I’m telling you this because people are often interested in how writers work. I know I am. I would write even if I never got paid... which is somewhat true. Some guys play golf. Copyright © February 29, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
February 21st, 2012... Hi, folks. Sorry I'm late, but technology bit me in the foot (so to speak). I'll spare you all the gory details. Suffice it to say I had some new security software installed on my laptop, and now it won't let me access Tripod in my browser of choice anymore. Grr. While I work on that problem (i.e., have a few sharp words with the company that makes X3 Watch Pro [the most arbitrary, picky, and just plain useless security software in history and you can tell them I said so!]), let's get on to more pleasant things. First and foremost, have a look at this:
I think you'll agree (and even our resident design guru, et. al., Lee will concur) that that is one snazzy emblem! Look for it to grace our home page soon. And speaking of things to grace the eyes... here's the latest offerings from Jack...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
A STEADY GIG AT MOE'S. The musician woke up, checked his watch, got dressed, and left his motel room with enough time to get to the gig early. Tony had been living on the road longer than he could remember, moving from one job to the next... mostly small motel lounges and clubs, He’d become numb to homesickness. The other members of his combo were already in the bar, talking to customers, Bob Seger on the juke box...”Shame on the Moon”. Time for the first set... and they gathered at the bandstand. Something was wrong... Their instruments and amplifiers were not onstage! How could they possibly forget to set up on their first night at a new club? Group senility? The crowd was getting hostile about the delay. They hurried out to their van behind the club, and found the equipment still packed inside. In a panic, they started hustling the heavy cases in the back door, and were told that another band had replaced them in the main room, but they could play a private party upstairs...third floor. After 40 minutes of grueling labor, Moe said this to them: “Forget it, guys. My customers won’t wait all night. Move it all back out and go home.” Tony said, “But we have a four week contract, and we drove 750 miles to get here.” Moe said, “ You didn’t do the job. You’re out. My bouncers will see you to the door.” The bouncers, three off-duty cops, laughed at the boss’ wit. Tony left the guys to pack up while he walked down Main Street to see if he could scare up another gig. It was a typical small town... typical of fifty years ago. No Wal-Mart, no MacDonald’s, no chain stores at all. Dunavan’s Drug Store had a sign in the window: “Special: Hot Turkey Sandwich with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy”. The town looked friendly, but the people, mostly rough looking men in heavy plaid jackets, glared at Tony. Tony asked a beat cop: “What’s with these guys? Don’t they like strangers?” The cop said this: “We don’t like the way you bigshot musicians didn’t care enough to show up tonight at Moe’s. If I was you, I’d ferget my suitcase and get outa town with my skin.” “We showed up...” Tony began, but the policeman was already disappearing into the mob. Mob? This street was almost deserted a few minutes ago! He turned and began hurrying back toward Moe’s, where the guys were waiting. He kept close to the buildings, trying to keep a low profile. He passed a pawnshop he didn’t remember, a tattoo parlor, and an adult bookstore. They were all closed, with burglar bars over the windows and doors. The street ahead didn’t look like the way he’d come. Most of the streetlights were broken, shadows were deep, and the skeleton of a stripped car was hunched at the curb. Deserted warehouses leaned over the pot-holed street. He must have made a wrong turn somewhere. Up ahead a patrol car slid silently out of an alley, and into another across the street. He was being watched! At last! A familiar building came in sight. It was Moe’s Club, but different! It was closed, boarded up, and looked as though it had been that way for decades. Tony checked the parking lot and, of course, the band was not there... but the van was...sort of. It was old and rusted out... One headlight hung down on the end of a wire. The handle came off as he struggled the driver’s door open. Thank God! The keys were in the ignition. He tried to start the engine, but it just clicked. Damn! Dead battery! He tried the starter again, and the motor caught, coughed and died. He heard a siren coming from the direction of the town, not a regular siren, but the old “wailing banshee” kind. He turned the key once more, and the engine started. Tony thanked the Powers That Be, jammed it into gear, and moved carefully out of the lot, making a right turn, away from the town. He floored the old van until it shook and rattled, and the evil buildings were replaced by ghostly forests. Country road, take me home. Twenty or thirty miles down the narrow moonlit road, he stopped at a pay phone outside an all-night diner. He dug for his calling card, and started to dial home, when the impossible happened again... He forgot his own home phone number! He held the receiver to his ear while he thought. There was a faint voice on the line... a woman’s voice that sounded familiar, but even though he pressed the phone to his ear, he couldn’t make out most of the words. “Hello?” he shouted. The voice just kept on talking as though in a conversation and he could hear only one side. He was pretty sure he heard his own name. He got back in the van and headed in the direction where he thought home was. There seemed to be no towns or intersections along this route. No comforting signs pointing the way to an Interstate Highway. He passed a junkyard with a blinding security light, and a funeral home with a blue light in the window. He felt a bump, and realized that the pavement had ended. He was now on a dirt road. It seemed damp and muddy, but there’d been no rain. It soon narrowed to a single lane, and then two tire ruts with grass and weeds between. A sickly reddish stripe on the horizon indicated that some kind of a sun was about to rise, and that he was probably heading eastward. The ruts morphed into a faint deer path in the foggy woods. The old van motor coughed, stalled, coughed again, and gave up the ghost. Perfect timing, Tony thought. Out of gas. He slid down in the driver’s seat, sent up a doubtful prayer, and fell asleep. * * * A bright light stung his eyes and woke him up. The sun? He heard another familiar voice...this time closer. “Are you okay, honey?” He squinted one eye open, and said to his wife: “What day is it?” Her hand touched his face. “It’s the Sunday, bright eyes.Wake up and come downstairs." “I’m dead and this is Heaven, right?” he said. “You’re fine. It may not be Heaven, but I think things are looking up”, she said. "Your agent has called several times, and it sounds important" The musician squeezed his wife’s hand. "What did he say?" She said, "Something about a steady gig upstate somewhere. Have you heard of a show club called Moe's?" Copyright © February 20, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
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52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
THE LAST DAY. Simon Lescart woke up on his last day, plugged in the coffee maker, and sat down at the computer to check his email. There was the usual spam and forwarded jokes, which he deleted without reading. The sixth message subject line read "Final Notice", and the sender was an acronym, "T.P.T.B." He started to dump it as spam, but, for some reason he clicked it open. The message was this: "NOTICE OF EXPIRATION. "Dear Mr. Lescart, "This is an automatic reminder that your life expires at midnight tonight. "Please do not try to reply to this email. Have a nice day. "Very truly yours, The Powers That Be." Simon tried to reply anyway, but his email bounced back from the "unknown recipient". He knew it was most likely a stupid joke, but he couldn't stop thinking about it as he fought the city traffic on his way to work. What if this really was his last day? He'd often heard the old saying, You should live every day as if it were your last. What should a person do on his last day, anyway? Get drunk? Smell some flowers? Confess his sins? What? He didn't have much of a family to visit just a brother up in Akron, and an ex-wife in Atlanta. They hadn't spoken in years. He couldn't think of any old sins offhand. Maybe he should commit some? He knew that the weird email was a fraud, but he decided not to go to work today, just in case. He pulled off at an exit and got back on the expressway going the other way, toward the ocean. This is nuts, he thought. He couldn't think of anything really important to do, befitting a persons last day on the planet, so he just sat on the beach for most of the day, and drank a few beers. He felt a little nervous, like a high school truant, but he also felt something else he couldn't define. Was it freedom? He had some guilt too, for wasting the day looking at the ocean. Someone whose approach he hadn't noticed sat down beside him. The man was obviously homeless, in his ragged black suit and dirty torn sneakers. The man said, "Are you okay, friend? You look kinda lost." Simon said this: "That's an odd word... 'Friend'. Now that you mention it, I guess I don't have any of those. Just a bunch of acquaintances." "Maybe you never really tried", said the man. "I've been pretty busy", said Simon. "You must have accomplished a lot of great things, being so busy", the man said. "No great things. Just keeping even. Paying the bills", said Simon. "Do you think you have any great things in you", asked the man? Simon said, "Maybe. I've been doing a lot of thinking. If I had the time I'd do things differently." That's when the chest pain struck and the world faded to black. He vaguely heard voices. "What Happened?" "Get back!" He was being carried. Then a blinding light above. People working over him. "We're losing him!" "Clear!" Then a huge shock. The world was gone again. The smiling nurse said, "Welcome back. You've had quite a day." "What time is it", he asked? "Almost midnight", she said. "I have to call my brother", he insisted. "We'll contact him for you. You can talk to him in a few days." "I wish I HAD a few days", he said! A cell phone rang. "That sounds like mine", he said. "Where is it?" "It's beside your bed, but you need to rest." He tried to reach for it, but she stopped him. "I'll answer it for you", she said. "Lie back down!" She said, "It's just a text message." "What does it say", he gasped? The letters on the cell phone screen said this: "EXTENSION GRANTED." Copyright © February 19, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
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52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
THE GHOST TOWN. Somehow we had missed the turnoff to the southern Ohio town. We went back to where the highway ought to be and found a narrow old road with grass growing up through cracks in the pavement. Could this be the main road to town that I remembered from my childhood? The sign said it was. After slumbering quietly for generations, the small city had become a boomtown with the coming of a large chemical company. For a while the population grew with the influx of labor. The little corner taverns where old cronies had once exchanged worldly wisdom became juke joints as the town opened up. Housing became scarce, money became plentiful, and the townsfolk began a new habit... locking their doors. That was the last time I'd seen the place, and the only memory I had to go by. I was surprised at the desolate weeded over road that had once been a main artery. We turned off the superhighway and followed the rustic lane toward the town, trying to spot familiar landmarks. There were new shabby buildings, some vacant and boarded up. There were new gas stations looking aged and toothless with their pumps gone. I thought I recognized an old building... a certain curve in the road... but the clutter made it impossible to get my bearings. Drifting into town, I was relieved to see the railroad station and its surrounding park untouched by time. I had often told Misty about the good times at Aunt Bess' house, where I had spent a lot of my childhood. Now I was about to show her the actual place where it all happened, but at first I couldn't find it. It used to be right there on the corner of Fourth and Maple. Now there was just an ancient rundown Frankenstein house, hiding in the weeds. We parked while I stared at it for a long time. I had somehow forgotten... They're all gone. The whole smiling, partying family had died off one by one since I'd been gone. I knew it, I'm sure, but I’d blocked it out. The small grocery store across the street had a new name but looked the same. I went in and asked, but they didn't remember who had lived in that corner house. They didn't recognize my desperately mentioned names, and they were busy. Asking around we learned that the chemical plant had laid off thousands of workers, and the government had built a superhighway that bypassed the town, so it went quietly back to sleep, somewhat the worse for wear. We searched the town all day, and it was sunset before we found anyone we knew. They were all together, as always. The squeak of the rusty wrought iron gate pierced the evening stillness, as we entered the old cemetery, and began brushing away weeds and dust, to peer at names on tombstones... names that clicked on familiar faces in my mind. We drove out of town and didn't talk for a while. Nobody said goodbye. If this was a ghost town these new people didn't know it. We were doing the haunting. They looked right through us. We were the ghosts. Copyright © February 19, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
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Well, that's all for now, friends. We'll have more for you soon.
February 2nd, 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
COUNTRY MUSIC GOES TO WAR. Starday Records was once a giant in country music, with a roster of superstars. I was producing at Starday Studios in the 1960s, when Willie Nelson was a writer there, and not getting enough respect from the owner. I was a Willie fan before he was well-known. We have an old LP where he sang San Antonio Rose better than we have ever heard it. This was before he added vibrato to his singing. On the cover he wore a tux. I wrote and produced for several Starday Records artists. Also some for Pete Drake's Stop Records. Misty Morgan recorded a song on Starday under the name Maryanne Mail. It was called "The Lonely Sentry" and was on the Starday LP "Country Music Goes to War". The war at the time was Viet Nam. When our guys came home from Viet Nam, they didn't get a parade. Whether or not the war was a rightful one, they went through hell and back to be put down by their own people at home. Personally I think the commie fear was overdone back then. Nobody has to agree with me. My best friend has cancer, diabetes, and everything else from latent effects of Agent Orange. It hid out in his liver all these years and then hit him hard a year or two ago. He's alive and improving now, thanks to God and the Veterans Administration, and he'll be playing guitar on our upcoming recording session. ********************************************************************************* Playing the piano with your hands upside down, or playing a guitar behind your back, or while riding a unicycle is showy. It does not make you a better musician. But it may get you a gig. Hedy Lamarr, the movie star known for her great beauty, co-invented a technology, in 1941, that was used to prevent enemy ships from detecting our radio directed torpedoes, has been used in radio over the years, and even today in Wifi networks. Beauty AND brains. She lived her later years in Orlando, and had the same doctor we did. If women ran the world there would be no wars.... just a bunch of countries not speaking to each other. It's been down in the 30s here in Florida. I need to cuddle up to somebody with a fever. My hands are FREEZING! I wish I had some sheepskin gloves... or a sheep! I just signed a wildlife petition to "Save the Mosquito"! I'm going to have the read these things more closely. The little girl next door had a doll made in India. When her parents saw the India label they threw the doll away. It was like taking Gandhi from a baby. I was talking with a friend tonight. He told me he was a miner for over 20 years. He said loved being in the mine better than being outside. Weird! I told him they used to send my grandfather down in the mines to see if they were safe for the canaries. The evidence against Evolution and its Survival of the Fittest is this: Stupidity is still everywhere. WOW! Nothing hurts like your tongue when you accidentally staple it to the wall! The more we learn, the more we realize how little we know. The Science we worship may be overrated. To be fair, it's also possible that I'm nuts. I have this nagging fear that everyone is out to make me paranoid. LARRY BUTLER: March 26, 1942 -Jan. 20, 2012. Sad news. He was a friend to us. Jack & Misty. Copyright © February 1, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
January 27th, 2012... Hi, folks and fellow travelers. Due to unforeseen circumstances totally beyond the control of yours truly, I've been without internet for the past few days. (Talk about withdrawal symptoms... although it did give me time to polish my Mahjong Titans® skills...) Anyway, I'm back online now, and so - a couple days late, but here nonetheless - here's Jack! January 25th, 2012...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
TIME SQUARE. The sound of the city rush hour wakes him up early. He's been sleeping under the newspapers and cardboard, dreaming that he's still a boy, at his grandmother's house... That he still has someone who gives a damn. That he's still somebody! Dreams and reality have been becoming blurred lately. He drinks coffee from a Styrofoam cup and watches the people going to work, and then again in the afternoon he watches them from a bench, as they crowd the bus stop, studying the signs on the buses, waiting for the one that will take them home. He never sees a bus that will take him home. The sun goes down and the city changes character as the temperature drops. The well-dressed business folks are replaced by dangerous people. Desperation makes you dangerous. He's gotten some wine somewhere and is wandering the downtown night alone. He checks pay phone slots for change, and finds a quarter in one. For some reason, after thinking about the dreams of family he's been having, and being about half stoned, he drops in the quarter and dials Grant 1623, the phone number that was his grandmother's, a lifetime ago, when he was a child. Somehow the wires and circuits of time get crossed, and from across the void, his grandmother answers the phone. She says, "Hurry home, dear. Supper's on the table. I hope you're wearing your sweater... You'll catch your death of cold". These are the first words he's heard in an eternity that sound like somebody cares about him. That he really exists at all. * * * The policeman says into his radio: "We got a homeless here. No hurry. I think it's too late for this one". But the policeman is wrong. The boy is already home. Copyright © January 25, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
January 21st, 2012...
LARRY BUTLER: March 26, 1942 - January 20, 2012

Sad news. He was a friend to us.

Jack and Misty.

January 20th, 2012... Here it is. A Couple of days late, but it's here. (Sorry for the delay, folks. - Jerry)

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
THERE'S NO BIZ LIKE THE MUSIC BIZ. While looking around for our songs and reviews, I actually found a Jack Blanchard grave on Google, but somebody was already in it. In 1977 we did a big all-star show with Jerry Reed, B.J. Thomas, T.G. Shepard, and The Flying Wallendas, the high-wire act. Misty and I were the only ones that got paid. You have to be quick in the music business. It's best to get half your money with the return of the signed contract, and the other half in cash before you go on stage. We played a short cruise on a ship just once. Due to tilting of the deck, we were chasing the piano and drums around the room all evening. We don't like boats, ships, rafts, or water wings. We don't go anyplace that we can't walk away from, if it goes bad. A former associate of ours once kept our new Corvette locked in his garage in New Mexico, and wouldn't let us have it. We called a friend in Massachusetts and he flew out there, broke into the garage, and stole it back for us. If there is one line from one song that comes close to describing our life, it's this: "I'll get by with a little help from my friends." The first time we worked with Waylon Jennings, it was a two-star show... just us and Waylon and his band. Waylon and I dressed sort of alike with leather vests, black jeans, and longish hair. Misty walked up to Waylon and patted him on the behind. She thought it was me. That's her story anyway. Our longtime friends Dick and Sheryl Schultz came over for a while yesterday. He remembers every one of our sessions, the studios, and the musicians. There are whole decades I barely remember. I'm sure I was happy, though. I drove all over the USA with a beer on the dashboard, and I was never healthier. Those days are gone. I get nervous before we go on, but as soon as we get out there I'm calm. I feel at home on stage, so I guess I'm in the right line of work. Funny... When we get on stage my metabolism seems to slow down. I speak and blink a little slower, and it feels like my heart rate slows. I feel more at ease than I do in more personal situations with just a couple of people. In 1970 we did a lot of flying to do TV appearances. Once, our plane was actually struck by lightning as we approached Chicago. It dropped 1,000 feet straight down and then it caught. I asked the pilot, ""Did we land, or were we shot down? The 60s were good, but to us, the 70s were WAY better. The 80s got kinda rough, but then we shifted gears and started playing jazz clubs around New York. They had no idea we had hit records, but they were nice to us. An audio engineer friend of mine has built a rig that allows him to speak to Taco Bell drive-thru customers and tell them "We are out of beans." Technology has entered its declining years. I just got this email local news fro, Volusia County, Florida: "At Misty Morgan and Ranchette roads, a fire burned up to 25 acres." We've never been out to see Misty Morgan Road. We wonder who named it that. When I was about 21, I got a job in a big truck terminal. My job was to stand behind a long counter, take the truckers' paperwork, and search through thousands of pages of huge black books to find the tariffs for every state and county they went through, and charge them the taxes. I couldn't ever find them all so I started making up the numbers. Nobody ever said anything. We have a recording session coming up. Tomorrow I have to start getting down to the business of writing music. Goodnight, Jim Bob. Goodnight, Mom Bob and Dad Bob. And a goodnight to the Marx Brothers' mother, Mommo. Copyright © January 18, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
January 12th, 2012... Because the timing just seems right...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE OLD MAN. I woke up old this morning. I don't mean that metaphorically, or figuratively, or any of that. It's just a fact: I went to bed young and woke up old. This is Thursday, the 12th. Yesterday, on Wednesday the 11th, I was a strong young man with big dreams and ambitions. It all went by in a day! The day before yesterday was Tuesday the 10th, and I was a child. I looked at the powdery stuff on flowers, the veins in a leaf, paint blisters and bent nails in a fence. I could follow a particular ant all around the yard. By Wednesday I was grown up. The sounds and smells, and the touch of things seemed less important. Wet sidewalks, the outdoor faucet where the hose connects, crumbly earth, tools in the garage, still had their distinctive aromas, but I didn't notice. I was too busy to listen to distant traffic. I had even stopped lying on my back and looking for faces in the clouds. Wednesday was all adult "reality": Money, status, success, entertainment... The important stuff. I had to learn fast, having only three days, and no warnings, or time to prepare for the big changes. I dreamed that I got up out of this wheelchair and ran right out across that field! But here it is Thursday, I'm old, and can barely get around. I don't like being called a Senior Citizen. It's a euphemism. It's condescending, like calling a black person "colored". Don't cushion it, my friend. I'm OLD. I leave my turn signal on because I can't hear it, not because I'm senile. And at this age, I eat my dessert first. You never know. I'll tell you what... Today I'm going to sit here on my ancient tailbone and listen to squirrel talk. If you listen a while to their sounds you'll see they have a language of nuances. I'm going to enjoy the warmth of this old wool sweater, and pay attention to that leaf blowing across the lot. I don't know when, or if, I'll get to do it again. Time is on Fast Forward, so I offer this advice to all who pass this way: PAY ATTENTION! LIFE IS IN THE DETAILS. And, tomorrow is Friday, the 13th. Copyright © January 12, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author.
January 10th, 2012...
MORE NEW OLD PICTURES FROM THE ATTIC! Misty took this picture from our front yard. Jack.

January 7th, 2012... Well, hey, good lookin' (I always wanted to say that, but Hank Williams beat me to it...) First off, a big shout out to Moragh Carter for pointing out that 5 of the stories in the archives weren't appearing. (Just a matter of eliminating the "_" between the words in the file names, and VIOLA! (or is that voila?) Thanks, Moragh! Speaking of violas, I'll quit stringing you along now. Here's Jack...

52,000 intelligent good-looking readers.
I'M TOUCHED. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I never thought I'd live to be 112! I was just getting used to 2011 and something like this happens. When I was fourteen I was 5'10 1/2" tall, 180 pounds, and looked 25 years old. I've been losing ground ever since. We're organizing an event in Nashville for people who like to rub shoulders with the stars. There will be no entertainment of any kind, just rubbing shoulders. THE FRIENDSHIP QUIZ. (I got this from Mayf Nutter.) Q: Where are you from? A: Buffalo NY. Q: What is your middle name? A: Tillie. Q: What characteristics do you despise? A: People who catch me lying and cheating. Q: What's your favorite item of clothing? A: Panty hose. Q: If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you GO? A: Akron. Q: Where would you retire? A: Forest Lawn. I know Forest Lawn is getting full, but I like the excitement of a crowd. OUR ANNUAL NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS: Never stop for a cop who talks with a hand puppet. Never approach a chicken with a crazy look. Never yodel at a funeral. Never hit a chiropractor without a reason. Never carry a rose in our teeth, or in any body cavity. Never take Viagra before a business meeting. Never buy a pacemaker from a guy in a pickup truck. Never glue sequins to a squirrel, except as eveningwear. Never have a hole in your pocket while it is being picked. Never wear a tutu in a biker bar. Never sing "Granada" to an imaginary herring. Never play hip-hop dance music for nudists. Misty and I both hated high school, and we each quit school after a couple of years of it. It was like a medieval prison where the guards were all Judge Judy. Michelangelo's giant statue of David, in Delaware Park was a source of humor to us high school idiots. The city put a leaf on him that did not come as original equipment, and the leaf was periodically painted bright colors by unknown vandals. I admit nothing. Misty says she hears a bird chirping right now. That's becoming rare in Central Florida, like the new scarcity of frogs and crickets. The birds will have to chirp at a lower pitch for me. HISTORY: There was a doctors' strike in California and the death rate went down. MORE HISTORY: Western Union used to do more than just take 10% of the money you send. They had hundreds of guys on bicycles delivering telegrams to homes and businesses. They once had a competitor called Postal Telegraph. They just wore different colored uniforms. They even had singing telegrams, where the delivery guy would sing the message to the recipient. Misty asked her doctor for a singing mammogram. We don't have cable TV. We don't have satellite dish. We have U-verse, but not for TV. Just for internet. We have antenna TV, the kind where you stand in Yoga poses and hold coat hangers to get better reception. It worked better before we were forced to buy the dreaded HD black box. We still get all the stations, but only half the time. HDTV stinks. I think we watch it too much anyway, but it's when Misty and I get time to just sit together. The guy next door wears a bra ever since his wife found it in his car. Blonde to Groucho: "You seem like an interesting man." Groucho: "Could you wash out a pair of socks for me?" Blonde: "Well, that's a surprise!" Grouch: "A surprise to you, but it's been on my mind for weeks." A friend is one who, if you are lousy at something, won't point it out to you. Honey is getting expensive. I'm going to go out and buy a bee. Thanks for the the positive responses to my humor. I'm touched. I always have been. Copyright © January 7, 2012 by Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by kind permission of the author. That's pretty much it for right now. We'll have more later. YFNW™, Jerry. (P.S.: If you notice anything else on the site that isn't where it's supposed to be, let me know, will you? Drop me a line here, and I'll get it corrected. Thanks!)
January 4th, 2012... Hi again, folks! Well, if you tuned into the website earlier today and wonder, "Wha' hoppen?"... believe me, you ain't the only ones! A brief recap, however, is in order... In the midst of transferring files from one site to the other, I accidentally overwrote the news page. Without a backup. Fortunately, Google came to the rescue and saved my bacon! (All I had to do was type the addy of said news page, and look up the cached version, and there it was! [A tip to all you forgetful website developers out there.]) So now, we're back. WHEW!!! At this point, I can finally announce the new web addy for the whole site: http://www.jackandmisty.net hosted by those friendly folks at Tripod. Use it early, use it often. And let me add a big thank you to Ray over at Tripod/Lycos support for his many suggestions, and to Jack and Misty for their patience and understanding through what could have been a Very Big Disaster. ONWARD!!! YFNW™, Jerry.
January 1st, 2012... From all of us at the Best Nest in the West...
YFNW™, Jerry. (P.S.: We'll be moving the old news to the forthcoming 2011 page real soon. Stay tuned...)
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