My Friend Stew

19 07 2008

My friend Stew isn’t doing very well. If you could, please light a candle for him. It’s the reason I haven’t been around much in the last couple of days.

Stew wrote this in January. I want you to know that at this moment,

I cannot breathe.

I adore this man.

I’ve been given an “It’s a Wonderful Life” opportunity.  I have been able to see a glimpse of what my life has meant to others.  Before this, I had no idea.  I’ve always lived my life trying to be kind to others, and do what I could for charity.  But, it’s been the personal things that have touched me.

To those of you that have done so much for me, I say thank you.  The love you have shown me is more touching to me than I could ever put into words.

He is so very sick. Love is an odd and lovely thing. We create our own families. He is our family. He has been the father, the friend, the brother and his heart beats with ours.

Sometimes it hurts when you can do nothing. So I ask only for a candle so his journey is filled with light.

Newscoma In Nashville

11 02 2008

Remember a few weeks ago when I asked you guys to buy Stewman T-shirts and some of you did then I didn’t mention it again.

12121stewman-benefit-tower-sample3.jpg Yeah.

Well, the plan was that if you did indeed buy a T-shirt for my beloved Stewman, I’m coming to Nashville. I’m sorry that it will be a whirlwind trip but this Wednesday only, with the assistance of Smiley who knows I’m coming but doesn’t know he will be assisting me **heh**, I will be handing out these shirts at The Sportsman’s Grill on lovely 21st Avenue in spacious and scenic Nashville. It’s Jazz night at the Sportsman and I will be wearing lipstick. I’m sure you can pick me out of the crowd.

If you can’t join me, I can leave you a Tee with the person of your choice.

I know some of you have paid already. (Poor Russ and LWC haven’t gotten theirs yet. They are coming. Please bear with me as sometimes my brain cells get all tangled and I think I’m a Puffin. See picture of Puffin.)

Hell, if you didn’t get a Tee, matters not. Come anyway, bring yo’ blogging self and just say Howdy. I’m a huggy kinda woman so beware. I also smell like sin on a cracker. Yeah, I’m that groovy.

It will be a late evening. I probably won’t be there until roughly 7:30 as I have a meeting ahead of that.

I hope to see you and sorry it took so long. I’ll probably only be around one night but maybe it will be a night to remember.

Focusing on the Unfocused Which Would Be Me

19 01 2008

It’s been a bit of whirlwind week. I’ve rather enjoyed it, actually, as I took a couple of days off from work (vacation days) and have been working on some stuff that’s important to me.

With that said, I’ve been thinking a lot about life, taxes, 401K plans and monsters as I’m still on my Cloverfield high. (I liked it, dammit.)

I have spent a portion of my morning working on the the new blogging gigs I have (send me some love over at Popular Fidelity and Teevieo if you are so inclined. I’m having fun with them.)

The political season is intriguing to me right now. I just read an article over at CNN about possible new frontrunners in the presidential race, but I’m not banking on anything. I like two candidates but I’m still torn on who to vote for. Yes, it will be a democrat. I’ve even thought about asking Dennis Kucinich over for dinner as he doesn’t seem to be invited anywhere else right now and I want to make him feel all welcome.  You gotta give Chris Dodd and Kucinich credit. At least they are submitting things to the Senate to get done that I like. Maybe I’ll ask Dodd over too. As I am a terrible hostess, I might have to ask the groovy chicks at Home Ec 101 to come over and help me out. And maybe Claudia and Laura, because they seem to understand the concept of cooking edible food. Alas, if you have read this blog over time, you know what I’m talking about as we have dealt with exploding toilets, terrible food and my inclination for beer which doesn’t always work out unless you are the host at a jail riot. I also don’t know how to do other things I admit but I do like having a saucy conversation over politics and Bigfoot, so I have that going for me.  And, no, those aren’t the folks I’m considering voting for. I’m mulling it all over. Yeah, I’m a muller. I only have one vote, want to make sure I’m casting it for whom I want. I don’t have the option that other folks have, like a thousand votes. (Ha, ha, … umm … that’s not funny.)

The FotS also has a couple of things that we are going to auction off. Melissa Kent from WSIX/The River in Nashville delivered me a signed acrylic hockey stick last night. It’s huge. If any of the Predators fans out there have any suggestions on how we should put this up for auction, let me know. It’s really cool. I’d kind of like to keep it as I think it would make a fine whacking stick like Opus had on Bloom County, but alas, the money goes to Stewman, and I can’t afford it so let me know. We also have an autographed Hinder electric guitar face. It’s pretty nifty, if you are interested.  I will be hand delivering some of the T-shirts but for the couple of you who I have to mail it to, I’m going to send them out next week. Thanks for bearing with me on this.



Cancer Isn’t Cheap

14 01 2008

On a lot of levels, I’m telling you.

I’ve been writing here for the last three weeks about the benefit for my friend, Stew Byars. I want to talk a little about him this morning because we are having a fundraiser tonight in Martin. I’ve gotten a lot of emails about him and I thought I’d just take a few minutes to chat about him. It’s one thing to tell you about this great guy that we love in northwest Tennessee who has cancer, but then it’s completely another for me to tell you why we love him.

You see, lots of folks get sick. Lots of folks get cancer. And those of us who love them don’t know what to do. So I’m going to tell you about why we are doing this. I can’t share some of the other people’s stories. I can only share mine.

When my mother became sick in 1996, she was diagnosed with lung cancer that had metastasized into her brain. I knew she was sick before she ever went to the doctor. She had trouble walking, she complained about seeing spots and her energy level was nil. Finally, we got her to the doctor and he said she had a severe sinus infection. One week later, after she went on a roller coaster into feeling 1000 times worse, she went back to the doctor and they ran an MRI. It was one week before Christmas and the doctor met me outside the hospital room. My father had gone to take care of some business and I had the grown up lesson that we get when life throws you a curveball. He told me she had a mass in her lung and it had spread to three different parts of her brain. I remember being very calm during all of this and feeling absolutely nothing. I asked how bad and he said it was.

There was nothing left to say at that point. I remember asking about options and he said we could “try”. I then asked him if it was terminal and he just nodded.

Homer and I called Big Daddy and told him the news which has to be the worst night of my entire life on my 42 years on this planet. So, for the next 14 months, she endured horrible chemo, radiation to her head and a remission that lasted about a month.

And we just loved her because it’s all we had.

My mother died in February of 1998 after a hard-fought battle. Homer, Big Daddy and I are approaching the ten year anniversary of her death.

Not a single day goes by that I don’t miss her.

With that said, the powerlessness was amazing. If any of you have ever lost a parent to cancer or any other life-threatening disease and watched them fade away, you know what I’m talking about.

You might say that this benefit for the Stewman is cathartic for me, and you would be right. I saw him on Friday and the chemo, although it is making him sick, has helped. He lifted his left arm in front of Squirrel Queen and I on Friday. I was so proud for him and the smile on his face was infectious. You couldn’t help but just laugh because he has only been able to crawl it up his body to use it since last September.

Do we feel powerless about the cancer that our friend is fighting?


Are we trying to do what we CAN to help him, things that we have a bit of control over. That’s also a yes.

We can’t make the cancer go away, but we can help him. Cancer treatment is not cheap. He is not working now because every moment is spent getting better. The cancer, my friends, is that bad.

So we are doing what the chairman of our little committee said quite eloquently last month that we “have” to do because it all we can do. And because he would do it for us.

Throughout the day, we will be putting updates about the benefit here. We want to help just a little. Are we fighting our own demons? Probably.

Are we trying to raise a bit of money for a person who has been our mentor, our friend and has lifted us when we could not do the heavy lifting for ourselves?


BadBadIvy has committed to buy a T-shirt. If anyone in the Nashville blogosphere is interested in buying a T-shirt designed by Squirrel Queen, I will bring it to you personally within the next couple of weeks to The Sportsman’s Grill in Nashville. They are $20 a piece and they are pretty groovy. (A picture of Mabel and a Newscoma emblem is on the back of them as a sponsor.)


Information about the day’s events will be posted at the official Friends of the Stewman blog. I’ll keep you updated all day about how things are going, and if Holly and Scout are interested, will get them to live blog some of the event over there as well this evening at the FofS blog.

We are doing what we have a bit of control over because we can’t cure the cancer. But we can make it a little more comfortable for him.

So if you can, visit the site, buy a T-shirt, leave a nice sentiment for him as that blog will archive the event.


Where I Say Thank You

7 01 2008

He makes me happy, although we don’t deserve his kind words. He is the one who makes us smile, that makes our days worthwhile.

I hope he knows that.


There is going to be a fundraiser in my honor, Monday January 14th.  This has been in the works for a number of weeks.  It’s an amazing thing to know that people would be willing to do that for me.  In fact, during the process of planning this, I have heard from many people, and I’ve come to realize that even with my cancer, I’m one of the luckiest people on the planet.

I’ve been given an “It’s a Wonderful Life” opportunity.  I have been able to see a glimpse of what my life has meant to others.  Before this, I had no idea.  I’ve always lived my life trying to be kind to others, and do what I could for charity.  But, it’s been the personal things that have touched me. 

To those of you that have done so much for me, I say thank you.  The love you have shown me is more touching to me than I could ever put into words.

Jeez, I don’t know what to say. I stumbled on this today and I haven’t seen him for a few days.

I adore Stew. And sometimes, he makes me weep because he’s such a nice guy and is so wonderful. He is the bomb.

I would like to thank all the people in the blogosphere who have been so kind to give Stew links, comments and who have donated.

Thanks to all of you who have been so kind with you donations and your kind thoughts.

Crap, you are making me cry.

Friends Of The Stewman Benefit Update

7 01 2008

Still taking donations for my buddy’s benefit. We will have T-shirts designed by the fabulous Squirrel Queen available by the end of the week for $20.

We also have DVD’s of his former show, Club Country that was on WLJT, and CDs of a radio show he’s done with Chris Brinkley, who is the voice of the UTM Skyhawks, called Game Show on the Go.Those are $10.


One thing I haven’t told you about Stew is that he won this.
He tied for first place with …

Small Market Promos

WINNER (tie): B.S. Promo – WCMT/WCDZ/Thunderbolt Broadcasting, Martin, Tennessee. Producer – Stewart Byars; Copywriter – Stewart Byars; Voice Talent – Stewart Byars.

WINNER (tie): Out of Ideas – WCMT/WCDZ/Thunderbolt Broadcasting, Martin, Tennessee. Producer – Stewart Byars; Copywriter – Stewart Byars; Voice Talent – Stewart Byars.

He moved to Memphis and worked for Clear Channel for awhile and then decided he wanted to come home with his wife, Sugarface.

Stew also performed stand-up comedy all over the south for a few years before he adopted two wonderful kids.

Cash donations can be sent via paypal to friendsofthestewman at yahoo dot com.

We are also holding an auction the night of the benefit. You can bit on FABULOUS prizes including:

  • A three-night stay in Gatlingburg
  • Signed Ken Burns DVDs (two of ’em) of The War
  • DVDs from the BBC including the original “The Office” “Absolutely Fabulous” and “The Young Ones”
  • Original art from Badger Beth
  • Art and photographs from local artists
  • A bunch of autographed stuff
  • A fantastic copy of “Wrinkles” from the fab Kathy T.
  • Nascar stuff
There is a ton more. Trudy Henderson, who is the goddess from the athletic department at UT Martin, is working on a web cast so Stew (and possible you if you are so inclined) can see it. We are working on it right now as we speak.
This is his long week for chemo (seven hours on the IV drip) so he’s probably going to be worn out.

Friends Of The Stewman Benefit

31 12 2007
Email me at newscoma at gmail dot com if you want the poopsie on the benefit
or go visit
The Stewman and say howdy.
This design will be available on T-shirts for $20 bucks, if you are so inclined, which would be delivered by yours truly if you live in Nashville or Memphis.
(I don’t know about the east side of the state or beyond, but we can ship it to you. Of course, there will be a shipping and handling fee. Sorry.)
Donations can be sent here to Treasurer Katrina Cobb at
friendsofthestewman at yahoo dot com