1966 Was The Year, So How About ….

Since it was May of 1966 when Steve made his broadcasting debut, our publisher came up with something special for us to share with you.  To celebrate Steve’s 50th year in broadcasting you can now purchase “A Little More Les” at a special celebratory price of just $19.66.

"A Little More Les" cover

“A Little More Les” cover

To take advantage of this special, just click on this link.

We don’t mean to sound like pitchmen but, we should tell you that, this really is a limited time offer.  So, if you’ve been thinking about getting a copy, you might want to do it now.

OK, we’ve hopped off the pitchman soap box.

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It Wasn’t a Dark & Stormy Night, But ….

As I drove up to the station I was feeling a kind of nervous excitement.  You know the feeling, don’t you?  It’s that weird internal battle where half of you can’t wait for something to happen but, at the same time, the other half wants to put it off as long as possible.

The parking lot was mostly empty due to the lateness of the hour and the fact that everyone who worked the day shift was long gone.  I parked right next to the boss’s reserved space and sat in the car for a while just listening to the radio and thinking of the five hours that lay ahead.

I had been listening to the station while I drove in trying to get a fix on what I would do.  Somehow the darkness seemed to help.  It allowed me to get a different perspective on what was coming through the speaker and helped me to imagine other people listening to the radio, what they were doing and how they would react to what they heard.  The voice on the radio was an example of professionalism and assurance — two things I felt I was sorely lacking at the moment.  When I felt I just couldn’t put it off any longer, I got out of the car, grabbed up my briefcase and went into the station.

A radio station at night is a different world.  The skeleton crew that inhabits the halls and studios have a lot of responsibility.  And, the nighttime audience is a demanding one.  It’s as if you’re talking to them on a much more personal, one-to-one, level than the rest of the day requires.

I was feeling the weight of that responsibility and those demands as I went over the news stories that night.  Coupled with a sense of excitement, I had a real case of nerves.  Oh sure, I had been in front of a microphone many times before.  I’d done it for years.  But, this was different.  This was like the first time.  There was no crutch this time.  No guitar.  No songs.  This time I wasn’t singing.  This time I was just talking into a microphone as I started a new career — in radio.

That night in May of 1966 when I made my broadcasting debut on WJOB-AM, in Hammond, Indiana is one I won’t forget.

Who knew 50 years would go by so fast and include time spent with individuals from all walks of life, some whose names are well known all over the world, many of whom have become close friends?

Most importantly, who knew that my transition from full-time singer/musician to broadcaster would provide me the introduction to the love of my life?

Who knew that 50 years later I would be still enjoying the heck out of this journey and have the luxury of being able to say to those of you who have been nice enough to tune in from far-flung points across the globe and continue to track our current adventures through our social media sites ….

Thanks for listening!

Steve

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2016 Hyundai Tucson Limited Video Road Test!

Our Video Road Test of the 2016 Hyundai Tucson Limited has just been posted on Consumer Guide Automotive’s Daily Drive website.  Just click on the link above and take a ride with us.

2016 Hyundai Tucson Limited

2016 Hyundai Tucson Limited

And don’t forget, if you want to check some of our previous road tests and some of the other goodies we’ve been pouring into the Daily Drive tank, just point your browser right here.

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A “Memory Bank” Day

As we were talking with a friend during the late afternoon of one of those days that you want to push the slow motion button on, so it will last as long as possible, he said it was a day to put in the “memory bank” for future reference.  We liked the phrase so, without any apology, we decided to borrow it for the title  of this blog post.

Our “A Little More Les” book tour has found us spending some time in Panama City Beach, FL. as we work on “Music & Murder,” a special event we’re appearing at with, award winning author, Michael Lister that will feature several very talented musicians and writers as special guest performers.  “Music & Murder” will be held on May 7 at Gulf Coast State College and you can find more details on our Events page.

So, what does that have to do with a “Memory Bank” day?  Well, while we certainly hope May 7 will qualify, that’s not the day we’re writing about.  The day in question is the Sunday we just flipped over, April 24.

April 24 was a picture perfect day on Florida’s Gulf Coast and we decided to take the suggestion of a friend, Victoria Ciccarelli Stewart, and check out a singer/guitarist she thought we would like, Hank Barbee.  Hank was playing at a local club called Little Village, a waterfront shopping and entertainment venue located in historic St Andrews.  For those of you not familiar with the area, after you cross the Hathaway Bridge heading east out of Panama City Beach towards Panama City (Yes, Weather Channel, they really are 2 different cities!) you run into historic St. Andrews.

When we arived at Little Village Hank was already playing and we quickly found our way to a table and were instantly taken with Hank’s music and the vibe of Little Village.  Little Village is a VERY friendly place where everyone may not know your name, but that doesn’t matter because they’ll strike up a conversation with you and by the time you leave not only will names be known but, chances are good that, business cards, e-mail addresses and phone numbers will have been exchanged.  At least that was the case with us and Arthur and Jen, who we found ourselves sharing a table with.

Although none of us had seen Hank Barbee perform before, we were all more than a little impressed with his performance.

Hank Barbee performing at Little Village

Hank Barbee performing at Little Village

Slinging a vintage Les Paul gold top guitar, his easy going manner only added to the surprise of just how good he is.  Trust us, Hank Barbee has something to say and you’re going to want to hear it.  Yes, he performed some songs you have heard before but, unlike too many performers, he didn’t just try to give you what you’ve heard on the radio over and over again.  He put his own spin/stamp on familiar songs and they were better for it.  The icing on the cake was when he dipped into his own catalog and shared some of his original creations.  This guy can sing, play and write with the best you’ve heard.  Check out a little of Hank’s self-titled album and see for yourself.  When he took a break, we had to go up and buy our own copy to take some of Hank’s mojo home with us.  Since he was between sets, we only had a little time to talk, but we found the man as laid back and easy to get to know as his songs were.  Bottom line: We like him and, if all goes well, Hank will be joining us on one of our upcoming “Steve & Johnnie Plus …” video podcasts.  Watch this space for more info.

What we thought might be a “stop by and catch one set” visit to Little Village turned into a several hour good time making new friends and hearing a great undiscovered (for the moment) talent on a beautiful day. Little Village claims to be “A place where you can trade in the sun and sand for shade and serenity” and we took them up on all of the above.  A nice patch of shade and a cool breeze made having to leave so we wouldn’t be late for a previously planned visit with friends difficult, but leave we did.

We hadn’t had the chance to see our friends for much longer than any of us like and it was really good to see them.  Since the day continued to be a “keeper,” we headed out to their back yard for some quality time in their pagoda.  Along with catching up with our friends, the flowers that lined their back yard gave Johnnie a chance to see just how good her new phone’s camera was.

We're not sure what this flower is, but Johnnie's cell phone camera likes it ... and so do we.

We’re not sure what this flower is, but Johnnie’s cell phone camera likes it … and so do we.

We know there may have been more important and impactful things going on in the world this past Sunday but, for us, this was all we needed.  At some future date when things are not as good as we’d like and it seems like the world is closing in, hopefully, we’ll pause and pull the recording of April 24, 2016 out of our “Memory Bank” … and smile.

 

 

 

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2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD Video Road Test!

Our Video Road Test of the 2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD has just been posted on Consumer Guide Automotive’s Daily Drive website.  So, does it have enough of Mazda’s “zoom-zoom” to make us smile?   Just click on the link above and see for yourself.

2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

2016 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring AWD

And don’t forget, if you want to check some of our previous road tests and some of the other goodies we’ve been pouring into the Daily Drive tank, just point your browser right here.

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Fight Winter’s “Brrrrrr!” with Johnnie’s “Mmmmm!” Soups

That Brrrrr sound you hear — well that’s the sound of Winter in Chicago.  So, how’s about we try to turn down that Brrrrr sound and, hopefully, replace it with the Mmmmm sound from sampling some tasty homemade soups.

Johnnie's Sweet & Sour Cabbage, Loaded Potato and Chicken & Brown Rice Soups.

Johnnie’s Sweet & Sour Cabbage, Loaded Potato and Chicken & Brown Rice Soups.

Yes, they’re Gluten-Free.

Chicken & Brown Rice Soup

Boil 6-7 boneless, skinless chicken thighs in 4-6 cups of water.  You can use chicken with skin on, but you will need to skim fat from the skin off the broth.

When the chicken is done, remove it from the water and set chicken aside to cool.  Skim any fat or foam off the chicken broth.

To the broth add a cup of carrot coins, 1 small sweet onion chopped, 3 stalks of celery sliced and 1 heaping TB of “Better Than Bouillon” chicken base.  This is available in small jars in the soup/broth aisle.  I don’t use low sodium since I don’t add salt to the soup.  While the vegetables are cooking in the chicken broth, chop chicken thighs.  Add chicken to the vegetable broth.  Mix well and lower heat to a simmer.

Taste the broth.  If it needs more chicken flavor add the chicken base by teaspoons until you’re satisfied with the chicken flavor.

Add 1 cup of brown rice OR 1 cup of elbow macaroni OR 1/2 box of spagetti noodles.

Cover and cook until rice/pasta is done.

Now it’s ready to eat, but it is always more flavorful and rich tasting on day 2.

Loaded Potato Soup

To 1 box of chicken broth add 6 small/medium size peeled red potatoes.  Cut the potatoes into small cubes.  Add 1 small chopped sweet onion.  Bring to a boil and boil until the potatoes are soft.  Lower temp. to a simmer.

With a potato masher mash potatoes in a broth.  Add 1 small package of cream cheese cut into cubes.  Stir or use an egg beater or frother to blend the cream cheese into the potatoes.  Add 1/2 package of grated sharp cheddar cheese OR 6 slices of sharp cheddar.  Stir til the cheese is melted and blended.

If you find the soup is too thick you can slowly add milk and mix well, but simmer, don’t boil.

To serve:

Microwave one scrubbed medium potato with skin on.  Remove and carefully chop into bite size pieces.  Fry 6-8 slices of bacon til crisp and drain.  Add chopped potato and chopped bacon to soup.  Mix well.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream and chopped green onions, more grated cheddar and even save a few slices of bacon to chop and serve on top for a true loaded potato soup.

This is NOT a diet soup!  It’s a stick to your ribs, fill you up nicely soup.

Sweet & Sour Cabbage Soup

In the pot the soup will be made in heat a Tb of oil and saute small sweet onion chopped.

While that is cooking add 2-3 cloves crushed garlic. I start with 2. Add 1/2 tsp-1 tsp red pepper flakes. (I go light and add more for kick after its all put together.)

Watch onions and garlic so they don’t burn while you mix 1/3 c of dark balsamic vinegar with 1/4 c of brown sugar. Put that into onion/garlic mix and stir. Add a 32 oz. box of chicken broth.

Next, chop a small/medium head of cabbage. Don’t use the core. Add that to both mix and stir well. Add one large 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes and 1 smaller 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes. (You can also use 1 lg 28 oz. can diced tomatoes and a small can of v8 juice or small can of tomato sauce.)

Mix well and taste broth while the cabbage is simmering.

Too tart…more sugar…too sweet add v-8 or tomato sauce or more chicken broth. Simmer til the cabbage cooks down and is soft.

Enjoy!  And, stay warm.

Johnnie

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Howard Reich Writes About “A Little More Les”

We’re honored that Chicago Tribune Arts & Entertainment columnist Howard Reich not only read our book, “A Little More Les,” but also says some very nice things about it in Wednesday’s Tribune and online.

Thanks, Howard!

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