Author: Daniel, Bert

How I Got Into This Mess

Well itís been just over a year now that Iíve been privileged to be one of your intrepid welcome columnists and Iíd like to thank all of you loyal readers for hanging in there with me. Remember, good comments (and any significant cash contributions) go directly to me. Complaints (if there are any, and I really doubt it unless thereís a ďmisunderstandingĒ) go directly to my editor.

With only a year under my belt, Iím still a newbie. I havenít reached the heights of journalistic adulation enjoyed by some of our esteemed wordsmiths. But I have high aspirations, and in the coming year I plan to work really hard to perhaps match the accomplishments of some of my idols.

Take Mark Varner for example. Heís there in the big city in a building next to all the movers and shakers. Iíd love to be up there in CBA Tower with an office all to myself. Heck Iíd take a cubicle in that place, be an intern, just to be close to all the grand aura of THE publication, our very own Bluegrass Breakdown. What a great monthly! And I think Mark richly deserves to be set up in the big city with all that support. What mortal could possibly produce such a treasure month after month unless he or she had the very best of everything?

And look at Brooks Judd. Heís got the keys to the richly appointed CBA golf cart. There he sits, riding around in glory at the Fatherís Day Festival, swaddled in rich Corinthian leather and crushed velour. Roll down the moon roof, plug in the GPS coordinates, and listen to satellite radio with the stars of Bluegrass riding as your passengers. What a life! Brooks truly has catapulted recently with an ascendancy that is dizzying to all of us new columnist wannabeís. I hear he may even get access to the CBA sky box at AT&T Park next baseball season. For those of you who donít know, thatís where CBA entertains all of the Bluegrass dignitaries that need to be entertained in the big money, high pressure world that is Bluegrass music these days. Itís just a short walk from CBA towers. What a great life Brooks has ahead of him if he can only keep up the pace. Rubbing shoulders with all the cognoscenti! Go Brooks! And if you have the time and want to do some mentoring, put me first on your list.

But the biggest daddy of them all is of course my esteemed editor, Rick Cornish. What a guy! He prides himself on being an editor who doesnít do any editing! Which is true, (much to my chagrin sometimes because heís a really good writer). But Rickís style is to nourish talent by letting it spread its own wings. Who needs to work when youíve got talent like Bruce Campbell, George Martin, Nancy and Henry Zuniga, Marco Alvira, Darbi Brandli and Jeannie Ramos? Heís got music insiders like J.D. Rhynes (also a culinary master!), Bill Evans and John Karsemeyer. Cowboy poet Cliff Compton and Slim Stuart! Fellow newcomer Geoff Sargent has to be in awe like me, but in addition to his pen, Geoff has great dobro chops for jamming. That gives him a leg up on the likes of me. But itís a real honor for me to be in company with all of those folks. I got a chance to meet many of my fellow welcome columnists at FDF this year, which added greatly to the pleasure of being able to read their great stuff week after week.

Yes, with talent like that, RC can just sit back and let the process produce. Just like any big shot CEO, once youíve made it, you can enjoy it. But Rick doesnít need any golden parachutes. Iím sure heíd do all that he does, day after day, just for the love of it. Iím glad he doesnít have to and that CBA members really do appreciate all of his hard work. Talk about perks! Big Daddy Rick truly is the Kingfish! By now, Iím sure most of you CBA members have heard about Rickís new toy. The other board members were going to keep it a surprise until the Bakersfield Jam but somehow the word got out. Yes, CBA actually coughed up the money at Michael Jacksonís estate liquidation sale, and now Rick gets to sleep every night in Michaelís hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Not only does he not age any more (and letís face it, Rickí getting pretty long in the tooth these days), but now he can have good sound insulation when he needs a good nightís sleep in the busy CBA suite. And, heís immune, not only to the killer virus of last year, but to the new swine flu as well!

Which brings me back to the title of this piece, how I got into this mess. It all came about as a result of my becoming a devoted daily reader of the welcome column on the CBA web site. Like you perhaps, Iím a hard core Bluegrass fan and my soul thirsts for anything and everything about my favorite music. Iíll resort to anything, (even if it means reading the CBA welcome column every day). Well I got hooked on some really great pieces by some really talented folks, including one guy who wrote the lionís share of columns and who, on some days, seemed hard pressed to get out the copy. On those days, this guy ended up writing about his dogs or other animals on his spread in the country. It sounded like some bucolic ranch on a creek that flowed with alcohol. I imagined this place to be somewhere in the Big Rock Candy Mountains or something.

Anyway, I felt sorry for that guy who on most days could write a blue streak that would amuse and educate anybody, but on other days just seemed to have to meet his deadline, muse or no muse. I sent him a couple of anecdotes about my kids at the Grass Valley Festival, figuring he could parse them out on slow days, as he saw fit. Well, to make a long story short, that same guy got me into this mess, and Iím sure glad he did. Itís been such a pleasure to share ideas with all of you and Iíve met so many nice CBA people along the way. I spent years writing tedious science papers where a whole section had to be in the passive tense. So, this creative writing project has been a dream-come-true for me! Finally I can write about stuff that interests me! I hope I can keep coming up with new things to write about. Fortunately, our family actually got a dog of our own since this whole mess began. So if I start writing about Tipper, send me some ideas! Who knows? You might get roped into this mess yourself.

Posted:  11/8/2009

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