Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

This is St. Patrick’s Day and, although I didn’t wear green today, Sena got me some Irish beer. It’s Guinness Extra Stout. The back label extols the virtues:

“Intense characterful and bold, Guinness Extra Stout is the pure expression of our brewing legacy. Bittersweet, with subtle hints of hops, dark fruits and caramel, this stout is a testament to great brewing.”

That dark fruit better not be dates or prunes. It’s brewed in Ireland.

This being Friday night, I wonder if John Heim (aka Big Mo) will mention anything about St. Patrick’s Day tonight on the KCCK Big Mo Blues Show, radio station 88.3 in Cedar Rapids or 106.9 in Iowa City.

Maybe he’ll mention May Ree and her hand-battered catfish. It’s better because it’s battered. Maybe the recipe includes a couple of bottles of Guinness Extra Stout, with notes of dark fruits and caramel. Dark fruits which are not dates, I hope. Allowable notes can be sharp or flat, blue, high, or low—but not dates.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Big Mo Blues Show KCCK

I heard this one and recognized Aretha Franklin’s voice before Big Mo ever announced her on KCCK.

I also heard a little more about MayRee and her hand-battered catfish. It’s tenderized to perfection, but you already knew that. Big Mo said her establishment is located at what sounds like the corner of Highway 73 and Snowflake Road.

I suspect it’s not on any GPS. I might have to ask somebody to draw me a map.

Return to the Sun Room

We have a sun room again. We moved into this house a little over a year and half ago. It has taken a little time to get it comfy. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been sitting in there on Friday nights listening to the KCCK Jazz Radio ‘da Friday Blues show hosted by John Heim, aka Big Mo. I used to do that regularly but we’ve not lived in a house with a sun room for several years. The Big Mo blues show has been a favorite of mine for a long time.

I suppose I could have listened to it in another room in the other homes we’ve lived in. But it wouldn’t have felt right. I connect sun rooms with ‘da Friday Blues on KCCK 88.3.

It’s hard to believe Big Mo is still doing the show. He suffered an accidental neck injury a few years ago that left him paralyzed from the neck down. He was hospitalized at the University of Iowa and went to rehab from there. He still sounds great. He retired from teaching in 2004. He hasn’t retired from having a good time and helping others enjoy music and life. There’s a lesson in that for us all.

Anyway, we have a great sun room again. We have a nice coffee table in there, with the mandatory coffee table book. Chet Randolph really didn’t write that book, Theory of Detasseling—but he could have.

coffee table book

 Here’s a tune from tonight’s show that fits the season.

Hey, How About Them Nielsen Surveys?

Hey, how ‘bout them Nielsen’s surveys? I can’t remember getting any Nielsen media rating surveys before I retired and I’ve gotten two of them since then. They send you a crisp, new dollar bill in the mail to entice participation. More likely, it elicits guilt. You’d return the dollar bill but not in the mail, would you? Is this some kind of rite of passage or what?

Technically, you’re not supposed to talk about whether or not you participated in the survey, but I saw one blogger’s post about his radio diary survey. Is there a penalty for admitting you’re a part of “Nielsen Family”? Are there Nielsen Enforcers who come to your house and break your kneecaps while listening to the Godfather soundtrack through their earbuds if you don’t obey the rule?

One white commenter thought Nielsen just targets old white guys for some reason. Then a black commenter pointed out that Nielsen mails the surveys to old black guys too, so it didn’t have anything to do with skin color—and he did it with a sense of humor. He speculated that Nielsen might just target grouchy old retired guys with strong opinions because we remember what the value of a dollar bill was back in the day.

It reminded me of what I used to listen to on the radio in my younger days. Back then, the radio was what you had to use to listen to music. Well, there was a TV music show called American Bandstand, hosted by Dick Clark. The format was pretty much young couples dancing to the latest tunes while the camera panned over the dancers randomly. I remember watching it one day and noticing the camera was moving a lot less randomly and kept focusing on a young blonde woman in the crowd in the middle of the dance floor. That is, it did until she made a very lewd gesture which immediately led to a return to very random camera meandering—and possibly higher Nielsen ratings.

 I listened to the radio a lot when I was a kid. One of the local radio stations was KRIB, which the announcer always pronounced “K-OW-I-B because he talked so fast. Many of the songs were bad, so bad that a humorist named Dave Barry published a book about it in 1997, Dave Barry’s Book of Bad Songs. He’s a Miami Herald newspaper columnist who has written a lot of funny books. I had nearly all of them at one time, including the bad songs book. I have only a few now, including an autographed copy of one about getting older, Lessons from Lucy (2019).

One of the worst songs in my opinion was a 1976 tune “Blinded by the Light” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. It’s actually a cover of a song by Bruce Springsteen. I kept hearing a lyric I definitely thought was “wrapped up like a douche,” which I swear I never shared with anybody nor looked up on the web (or as Dave Barry would say, “I swear I am not making this up.”) until just today to discover I’m far from the only person to hear that. I also found out that kind of error is called a “mondegreen” (a mishearing of a phrase in a way that gives it a new meaning). The actual lyric was “revved up like a deuce.” That was the kind of bad song Dave Barry wrote about—although I don’t remember that specific song being in his book.

Nowadays I listen to KCCK (88.3 FM) for blues and jazz. Years ago, I used to listen to Da Friday Blues show starting at 6:00 p.m. every Friday. It was hosted by John Heim, who is still doing the show, even after a devastating accidental neck injury which left him paralyzed from the neck down a few years ago. He was hospitalized at The University of Iowa and his family and friends donated a lot of money to help him get to a rehab center in Omaha, Nebraska. John actually retired from teaching in 2004, but has been a DJ at KCCK for years because music means so much to him. He’s a brilliant example to retirees everywhere.

There’s a lot more to radio than Nielsen ratings, no disrespect to Nielsen Families everywhere—and just a reminder, I have no kneecaps worth breaking.

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