Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You – Broadcaster, Travel Writer John Rieber

As writers we tend to share aspects of our work in interviews, such as our blog posts, books and characters, and that is very important. However, sometimes we don’t get to share some of the other aspects of our personalities.

I was looking at some of the blogging award posts and decided that for this new series, I might ask some of the questions than you will usually find attached to them.

There are over 50 questions to choose from about life, love, humour, travel, ambitions and embarrassing moments!

To find out how to participate please head over and check out the details:

My guest today is no stranger to the blog as he has contributed a number of wonderful travel posts to the Archive series. I am looking forward to getting to know John Rieber a little better.

About John Rieber

I love great food, interesting books, fascinating travel, outrageous movies, and bacon, especially when it sits on top of a great cheeseburger! I work in entertainment – and I have been lucky enough to interview some really talented Artists – that guides my posts: interesting and provocative movies, music, social media and of course, food, since I believe strongly in the maxim, “everyone eats!”

After that brief intro.. time to find out more about John’s five questions and where he is going to take us today. Welcome John … take it away

What was the funniest moment of your life?

This is impossible to answer with any certainty – I mean, we’ll all had so many funny moments, both personal and professional. That said, I was lucky enough to work at E! Entertainment Television in the early days of the network, and I got to interview a lot of celebrities – Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Pierce Brosnan when he was 007 – you get it, all the usual suspects.

But here is how my first Arnold Schwarzenegger encounter played out in 1991: we were filming at the Cannes film festival, in the south of France, and there was a HUGE press event with Arnold – to announce the very first Planet Hollywood restaurant!

After the huge press event at the legendary Carlton Hotel – where Arnold announced the concept of the restaurants and posed for thousands of pictures, a select group of media were allowed to meet Arnold personally for very short interviews behind the hotel. When I say “behind”, I mean the private valet area.

My host Michael Castner spoke to Arnold one-on-one first, while I watched from nearby…we were told by Arnold’s Press Representative Charlotte that we each could ask him three questions so there would be time for all of us.

After our very short interview, our friend Ed Flaherty, who was also filming for CNN, asked if he could jump in and ask one question as we were still rolling…and before Charlotte noticed what was happening he asked it, but then he asked another question, and another, and another, until Arnold looked over at Charlotte and said – very loudly, and in a very recognizable “Ahhh-nold” tone:

“What’s this? First one question, then two questions, now SIX questions!” He paused dramatically for effect, then added ominously: “Charlotte, I’m leaving in ten minutes. PLAN YOUR TIME.”

EVERYONE FROZE. I looked around and saw five other entertainment outlets waiting to interview Arnold – paralyzed by fear, as the world’s biggest movie star had just announced his interviews were all but over!

I will assume that he stayed to talk with everyone, but I don’t know for sure, because we fled! Welcome to Hollywood…

What is your favorite dish and can you share the recipe?

I just recently posted this on my blog – I have mastered the “Gateau de Pommes de Terre” – a “potato cake” that my wife and I ate in Paris at the iconic bistro Chez L’Ami Louis.

I have been playing with adding video to my stories, and this gave my wife Alex the chance to record me taking the hot frying pan from the oven and showing how I flip the potato cake out of the pan and onto a serving tray. I actually did it on that first take – which you have to do, because if you mess it up, there’s no second chance!

I also love making sliders, because these mini-burgers allow you to experiment, and after 3 bites good or bad, they are done!

You can find the post with the full written recipe here:

Can you tell us about your fashion sense?

How do I describe my fashion sense? Easy – I HAVE NONE. I mean, I look back at pictures and wonder “what was I thinking”? The late comic Garry Shandling said they should have “garanimals” clothing for men, so we can put the “giraffe” label from a shirt to match the “giraffe” label on pants…that level of help is necessary for me.

When I was at E!, I put Joan Rivers on the red carpet at the Academy Awards for the first time in 1994, the first time anyone talked fashion at an awards show. From that point on, I learned so much about fashion “do’s and dont’s” – but honestly, I look at what I wear now and I truly know that, in a few years’ time, I will look back and wonder “what was I thinking? Why don’t we have garanimals for me?”

Knowing now, what you didn’t know then, what would you have done differently?

I enjoy reading blogs about all kinds of topics, and I am drawn to posts where people discuss their lives – not so much their regrets, but things they’ve learned, experiences they’ve had – we all share so many of those “like” experiences. I think blogging can be cathartic in that way, and it seems that some use social media as a way to share personal things without ever having to stare someone in the face. It’s a release that is private, but can be shared with others as well.

For me, I truly wish I had made better decisions about some of my priorities in the past: what seemed important at one point in my life is less so now – and only in hindsight do I know that it should have been then as well. But I don’t look back with regrets on anything – because I can’t change the past, so I choose to let it guide the future instead.

What is your favourite music genre and why?

I grew up in the 70’s, and I had an older brother who listened to The Beatles, The Doors, soul and jazz fusion, blues and rock. It is ingrained in me, and I post about that time in music a lot – but what I try to do is use a modern reference as a way to go back in time.

For example, it’s amazing how movies and TV use classic rock in a way that brings that Artist more attention that they may have had when they were actively making music!

Eminem released a song called “Rhyme or Reason” two years ago that uses The Zombies classic “Time Of The Season” as the thruline – I can imagine it was very lucrative for them 50 years later!

Here is a track that I would like to share – Paul McCartney at the Kingdome in Seattle in 1976

As John Lennon said at the end of “Let It Be” rooftop concert, which of course I have posted about:

“Thanks, and I hope we passed the audition!”

My thanks to John for his great responses and I hope you will head over and follow his blog and on social media.  I am sure that he will enjoy your comments and questions.

Connect to John via his blog and social media


To find out how to participate in this interview series, please head over and check out the details:

Smorgasbord Sunday Interview – The Ultimate Bucket List – Ukuleles and Children’s books by Annette Rochelle Aben

Welcome to this week’s Sunday Interview and this week it is author and poet Annette Rochelle Aben who is going to share her top two Ultimate Bucket list items.

I never thought much about having a bucket list. Yet, I recall, a couple years ago, I spent the better part of New Year’s Eve writing down things I wanted to achieve over the coming year.

Feeling rather accomplished, I put the list away and didn’t see it again until I found it quite by accident and was most surprised to realize that there were 3 items I could cross off with flourish and fanfare. So, yeah, I guess I can share a couple of the items that have yet to come to fruition.

Ultimate Bucket List One -Learn to Play the Ukulele

Not that I want to be famous for this ability (I’m no Grace Vanderwaal wannabe)I just find the instrument fascinating. Of course, I find harps fascinating, however ukuleles have captured my heart. I love the sounds they make (when strummed properly) and I believe it might be easy to write songs using a ukulele. Now, I can sing, so I also think it would be fun to learn songs I enjoy singing while being my own accompaniment. Wouldn’t it be great to visit shut ins and play music with my little ukulele?

Yes, there is the fact that they really can’t up and leave… #CaptiveAudience

So first, I need a ukulele and I was gifted one recently. A friend of my sister’s, decided to offer me the use of her son’s ukulele, as he hadn’t touched it in years. I was given the Cinderella admonishment that I would have limited time with it because once he discovered it was missing, I would have to give it back. Oh, and it is missing a string. Still, I would have it to use until I got one of my own.

News Flash!

The son is glad the ukulele found a new home, and I have asked for a new string for my birthday. Considering my birthday is exactly 2 months before Christmas, it is totally possible that by Christmas, I will be serenading kith and kin (and cats) with my stellar ukulele skills! I shall keep you in the loop.

Here you go Annette… my favourite Ukulele artists Jake Shimabukuro – with While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Perhaps now I need a Go Fund Me campaign to get the dough to record a CD…

Ultimate Bucket List Two – Get My Children’s Book Illustrated

Ages ago, I wrote a short story about an elephant named Ellis, who was bullied and a cat named Claudius who was a bully. Because the story had so much personal meaning, I found it difficult to let anyone else read it, then they might know my personal shame. So, my little rhyming tale, was tucked away in my “I’ll get to it one day” files.

That was until I was coaxed, by another blogger, to share the story, privately, with him and he would offer critique. I swallowed hard, submitted the story, and was met with the offer to post it on his blog. I thought, well, it can’t be illustrated if I never let anyone see it, so why not. The response was overwhelmingly supportive. (doing my best Sally Field) People liked it, they really, really liked it!

Next, I shared it with some close friends and my sister. I mention my sister, specifically, because she is an artist of remarkable talent and yet, only creates when the muse strikes. Within minutes of walking away with my story, she came to me with eyes on fire and stated that she wanted to illustrate the tale of Ellis and Claudius. I was thunderstruck and kept shaking my head YES!

Of course, as I said, she works when the muse strikes. It has been over a year since that moment of excitement. Casually, I have brought the topic up again and have been summarily dismissed. I have even attempted to draw the characters myself (no one needs to see that).

Yes, I have considered having other illustrators take a whack at it but I would LOVE to have my sister do the artwork. Believe me, you would enjoy it as well.

Thank you, Sally, for offering this opportunity to share some of my dreams. I believe that before you know it, I’ll be writing a song about Ellis and Claudius and playing it for captive audiences everywhere on my little ukulele!

My thanks to Annette for sharing her two top Ultimate Bucket list wishes and I do hope that both come true. It would be lovely to see Annette’s children’s books join her others on the shelves.

Annette has been receiving great reviews for her book Perspective including one by Colleen Chesebro this week.

About the book

Everything in this book is designed to lighten the load, uplift the spirit or otherwise aid in shifting one’s perspective on life. Because the only thing we have going for us sometimes is our outlook. May you always believe that something wonderful is about to happen and that something good will come out of every situation you are experiencing. It really IS all about replacing one thought with another!

The most recent review from Colleen Chesebro

Perspective is an uplifting collection of poems, meditations, stream of consciousness prayers, daily affirmations, and photos compiled by an author who possesses the soul of a true spiritualist.

Each selection is loving written, encouraging readers to get in touch with their feelings and to embrace the positive. The message is clear, we define our own reality by the thoughts we choose. When we shift our perceptions our vision clears and we find truth and wisdom.

I’ve read this book twice as it is a short read. Yet, each reading has given me insight into something I didn’t catch the first time around. At times, I felt the author’s words were written primarily for me. What a fantastic connection to experience.

Annette is a prolific author and has published many books of poetry and inspirational books. If you are looking for a bit of magic to help you through some tough days, this book will wrap you in a warm glow.

Read the reviews and buy the collection:

And Amazon UK:

Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Find more reviews at Goodreads:

Connect to Annette via her blog:


My thanks to Annette for sharing her two top wishes and please help put it out there and perhaps pave the way for them to come true.

If you would like to participate in this series or any other of the book promotions, you will find everything in this link: