Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was "Time". The posts are of a more philosophical, contemplative, and even autobiographical bent. No time management tips in this theme, but stuff intended to make you think.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

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Monday, August 21, 2017

The Sun Is Like a Star (#BOTB results)




  Happy Eclipse Day!

           Our Sun is like a star--well, because it is a star.  Today millions of observers will witness the moon passing in front of their view of the Sun.  The Moon covers many stars on a regular basis, but very few of us notice.  On this day (Monday August 21, 2017) millions will see this rare phenomena first hand while those like me will mostly watch on television.  I'll peek outside now and then to see what my view will be, but I don't expect things to get very darkened where I live.  And watching on TV I shouldn't have any risk of going blind.

          Anyway, since I can't really compete with a total eclipse of the Sun and I don't have all that much to say about the science or history or whatever about eclipses, I'll just move along to announcing the winner of my previous Battle of the Bands match-up.

Battle of the Bands Results




      I figured this match between Jane Monheit and Corinne Bailey Rae performing Rae's "Like A Star" would be a close one.  This Battle did not disappoint.  Even without my vote, my preferred artists won by a tiny margin.

        My wife and I both agreed that Corinne's version was perhaps more heartfelt and more dramatically delivered, but from an aesthetically musical standpoint we agreed that Jane Monheit's version was more pleasing to our ears.  Besides Monheit's dreamy vocals, the instrumentation put me in a faraway contemplative state of mind.   Love that kind of sound!

Final Vote Tally:

Jane Monheit              13

Corinne Bailey Rae     9

Next Battle on Friday September 1st

       Yes, I will be trying a two Battle a month schedule to see what response I get.  Hopefully some others will join me on the 1st--but I hope plenty of you will at least stop by to vote.

         Will you be (or did you) watch the total eclipse?   What were your feelings about it?   Had you been facing this day will some uncertain sense of dread or apprehension?




Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Like A Star (#BOTB)


        There are some things that demand they be remembered.   The highway of history should consist of identifiable markers that prompt us to think and not empty ruins that have no meaning to anyone--those mile markers contain important lessons that can provide insight and promise for the future.  

Birth of a Battle

        My previous post told the story of my encounter with a song that I'll be using for my current Battle of the Bands entry.  As noted in that account, this song snuggled into my brain and I did not want to let it go.  When I first heard it, this particular song struck me as an older tune, perhaps from the sixties.  I speculated that it might be a bossa nova style tune by the Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim.  I could not recall ever having heard the song and I wanted to know who performed this lovely rendition of the mystery song.

        Thankfully, the radio announcer let me know that what I'd heard was performed by Jane Monheit, an artist not only with whom I was remotely familiar, but who I have been considering using in a future BOTB post.   After all, Monheit is a jazz and pop song stylist who has recorded numerous covers.  She had appeared on at least one other BOTB post that I could remember.

        Upon my return home a couple days after hearing the song on the radio, I researched YouTube to see if I could find the beautiful song that I had heard on the road in Missouri.  It didn't take long to find the song and shortly thereafter I discovered that the original version by the composer Corrine Bailey Rae was also very good.   This was a call to Battle...


Battle of the Bands


       Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle excepting over these summer months.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.


Jane Monheit "Like A Star"   (2009)

        Since her first album in 2000, Jane Monheit has released twelve albums as well as appearing on a number of albums by other artists.  Along with the many accolades for her music, Monheit has been nominated twice in the Grammy Awards.  Here is the song that transfixed me so on Highway 60 in Missouri.




Corinne Bailey Rae  "Like A Star"  (2006)

       With six Grammy nominations and two wins along with a slew of other international awards and recognition, Corinne Bailey Rae has established an impressive music career in a relatively short time.  Though I previously had no idea who she was, I was familiar with her song "Put Your Records On".  Now I can gladly say that I know who this artist/composer is and I'll be watching for more music from her.  According to the website Genius, Rae says that "Like a Star" was inspired by the grunge group Nirvana.  It's not the first thing I would have guessed, but we all know that inspiration can come from the strangest places.    I'll leave it to you to see what you hear in the song.








Time to Vote!

    
    Are you as torn between these two versions as I am?  D
o you have a preference between these two choices?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind. Which version do you like the best?   You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.


Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside 


Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday August 21st

        This might be a tough match so I'm anxious to see what the outcome will be.  Tune in next Monday for the Battle results.   That will be my next post--on Solar Eclipse Day!

         Do you like this song as much as I do?   Do you think my response to the song was a bit of overreaction?   Do you live in the path of the solar eclipse or will you be going to a place that is?











Friday, August 11, 2017

Why Did You Like That?

Why do we like things that we like?  I often wonder about the answer to this question while at other times I can bring some of the answer into focus...


Photo by Arlee Bird

       
           We'd left at daybreak after a divine night's sleep at the Holiday Inn of Poplar Bluff, Missouri.  It had been quite some time since I'd stayed at a Holiday Inn and my wife and I were pleasantly surprised by the amenities of this location.  We had retired early after another wonderful day of our vacation which was now within a couple days of ending.  Our home beckoned, and though our trip had been nearly perfect in every way, we were now anxious to get back to our own bed.   Beautiful as it was, vacation was now over aside from the remaining days of intense driving.

        Could we have asked for a better morning than that last Saturday in July 2017?   Sure, but I don't know what improving a fine morning like that one would look like.  The temperature was in the mid-seventies at five in the morning, promising another hot day that we would mostly experience in the air conditioned comfort of our van.  A McDonald's near the Holiday Inn was already opened so that we could grab some breakfast at the drive through.  They didn't have have the coffee drink that I had wanted so I settled for a mocha frappe.  Adding a hash brown and a sausage biscuit made it a combo.

        As I negotiated my way to Highway 60, I nibbled on a hot greasy block of the potato substance they called hash browns.  After I'd found 60 I attempted to consume a rubbery sausage biscuit that apparently had been sitting around far too long.  I managed my way through half of the biscuit before stuffing in the bag my wife had saved for trash.  No matter though, since the quick breakfast was mostly a matter of keeping my blood sugar stable.  And the drive looked like it was going to be a good one.

         U.S. Highway 60 was a far nicer road than I had expected--a divided four lane highway with little traffic on this Saturday morning.  A perfect morning for driving, yes it was, and we were passing through the beautiful rolling hills of the Missouri Ozarks.  Like most of my days driving I started out by listening to the news on satellite radio.  After about an hour into the drive I decided to see what I could pick up on regular AM radio.  There were was a local trading post type show where people would call in to sell things.  Next came some sports show where I had no idea what the guys were talking about.  Then came the music that has been my fixation for the past two weeks.

        Like synchronicity, the song started right at the beginning and from that start I was captivated.  The instrumental ensemble had an orchestral sound though it was probably a septet.   It was my kind of music.  After a very short lead-in, a smooth female voice entered with the lyrics.  For  a moment I thought the song might be a Contemporary Christian song, but I soon decided it was not.  There was a jazziness to the music.   Through the static and radio distance--I'm guessing the station was coming from Springfield--the song sounded old--well, like certain music from the sixties.  The song was one that I had no recollection of ever having heard.

        As the song played on the radio, a vast panorama of scenic wonder surrounded us and the day was as beautiful as any best memory of childhood.  My thoughts turned to the extent that my life was blessed and all of the potential that might be still ahead.  My wife too seemed to be in a reverie.  I mentioned how beautiful I thought the song was with a side hope that someone would tell the artist and song title at the end.  I got the artist at least.

         I figured that if I still remembered the song when I got home I could look up the artist and figured that on YouTube I'd find the song even though I'd forgotten the lyrical content.  It didn't take me long to find it, but that's not the point of this post.  My point is to pose the question of why that song suddenly appealed to me so much that in that one listening it became a part of me.   Now that song is part of  my life soundtrack.   I will always associate the song with an amazing moment in the time that I've spent on this Earth.

         Certainly I was attracted to the type of song as well as the style of music.  The players were good and I really liked the singer.  But the song seemed to connect well with the sentiments of that particular morning--going home after an extraordinary vacation.  And there was the weather, the geography, road conditions, and good company.   It was just my wife and I driving through the Ozarks on our way home.  And now I have a song that plays behind that scene.

          What was the song? you might ask.

          Ah, that's what this is about.  In researching the song I found a surprise that might reflect how out of touch with more recent music I am.  Anyway, the song will be revealed in my upcoming Battle of the Bands post next Tuesday August 15th.  The surprise that I found in my research demanded that this song be my next Battle.  I'm so obsessed with it.

           What is a song that you became obsessed with for a period?   Do you still ever listen to AM radio?    Does listening to music through faint static or distortion affect your perception of what you are hearing?  






     






Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Don't Tax My Brain! (#IWSG)

       Reading should flow naturally like a river without impediments or a road free of obstacles blocking progress.   That is unless the writing is scholarly or intentionally pedantic in which case if I'm reading for fun or pleasure I ain't going to be reading that crap...




Cartoon about a priest reading an adult magazine.
Cartoon about a priest reading an adult magazine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Insecure Writer's Suppport Group

Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog


The co-hosts for the August 2 posting of the IWSG are Christine Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner!


August 3 Question: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?


         Keep things clear is what I'd advise the modern writer--at least if they're trying to reach the typical reader.   Perhaps the argument could be made that we've become stupider--or simpler--as readers and I think this is true to a great extent.  Readers now are used to texts, emails, and People magazine.  They often prefer something they can whiz through.  The typical reader avoids flowery Victorian novels or deep tomes like what might be found as recommended or required for college classes.  

         That's me.   If I'm going to read for entertainment then I want things relatively simple and unencumbered by long complex sentences and paragraphs that go on for pages.  I find it rather annoying to be reading and reading and then forget what the heck I was reading in the first place to the point that I have to go back and reread what I had supposedly been reading but apparently wasn't. 

         A good many of us have developed comic book/TV sitcom brains.  We often lack focus due to distractions all around us and the wiring within our brains that tends to sidetrack our thinking.  Maybe you do better than I when it comes to reading writing with complex presentation, but that's what my reading peeve is.  My writing reflects this reading bias.  I want to read in the same way that my mind works.  Well, maybe sans some of the discombobulation, but to the point with simplicity.

        Sure, I'll read some tough stuff now and then as long as I can intersperse plenty of simple reading in the mix.  If a writer seems to be trying to impress with unnecessarily big or obscure words or complex rambling writing then they might lose me.   Reading for fun should be fun and reading for information should be clear and concise.

        That's my peeve at least.   Others might disagree in which case they can read those books, stories, or articles that I don't read.  If I were a better reader then maybe I wouldn't feel this way.  I don't think I'm alone in this judging from the kinds of books that seem to be most popular.  On the other hand I might have just now expressed a falsity since I don't read all that much.  

         Which brings me to another peeve.  Guess I'll save that one for another time.

         How often do you read deep complex books?  Do you write in the style of most of what you read?    In school, did you read all the required reading or did you tend to look for alternatives like Cliff notes or movie versions?






         





Friday, July 21, 2017

Keeping It Simple (#BOTB Results)


    I can be pretty darn fast when my world ain't so slow...

Battle of the Bands Results


        A slow computer compounded with lots of vacation things to do means I'm not getting too much done in the realm of blogging.   Sorry for not making rounds to other blogs like I usually am able to do when I'm at home with my faster computer and not as many distractions.  Most would probably agree that my time with my daughters, my family, and four beautiful grandkids here in New Jersey take precedent to blogging for now.

       One consequence of not being able to make more blogging rounds is fewer reciprocated visits to my own blog.  Of course, as many of you have noted, summertime is a time when blogging activity is down so like everyone else the voting on this Battle dropped considerably in comparison with my usual turn out.  Oh well--it is summer after all and we probably shouldn't be spending all our time indoors on the computer.

       That being said, I'll keep it short and just stick to my Battle results.

        My long familiarity with the group Clear Light and many years of enjoying their great album leaves me with a big bias for the pairing of Cliff De Young, lead singer of my favored group, and Rob Zabrecky, lead singer of Possum Dixon.   And I prefer the musical style of Clear Light though I thoroughly have enjoyed the music of the newer group.  Therefore my vote goes to Clear Light and Cliff De Young.

          It was a close one with my guy coming in second.

Final Vote Tally:

Cliff De Young                 8

Rob Zabrecky                   9

Next Battle Tuesday August 15th

         I won't have many posts until that time.   I'll try to put up one post for Insecure Writer's Support Group on August 2nd, but other than that this blog will be pretty quiet.  Ah, peace and quiet on lazy summer days.  Or maybe not so lazy.  Either way I hope you are all having wonderful summer days.





     

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Career Changes (#BOTB)


Changing Careers

         More than what might typically considered career changes, my work experience has mostly been a matter of job changes or temporary spans of working to pay bills.  Few of those latter jobs were occupations that I would ever have strongly considered as a career choice though I'd have likely been willing to have continued working at some of those jobs had the money and circumstances been right.

          We often work at jobs that come our way while others of us might pursue the passion which we burn for the most.  A dear friend of mine started working during his high school years at a factory where his parents worked.  That friend recently retired after nearly fifty years working at that same factory--rather unusual in our time.   I don't think he ever seriously considered a career change during his working years.  Now that he is retired, he seems content to sit on his deck drinking coffee on summer mornings and watch the sunset while nursing a tall beer.  He piddles about the house during the day or just relaxes listening to the radio.  For him life is just fine and after fifty years working at the same place I guess he deserves to do whatever provides his happiness.

        Having a restless spirit, I sometimes think about moving from retirement into a new career.  Fortunately those thoughts don't last too long or become overly obsessive for me.   There is an option to retirement, but the money and circumstances would have to be right as has always been the case for me.  Money and circumstances likely plays the biggest role in a good many career changes.  I'm probably not going to rush out of retirement any time soon.  A career change could be heading my way, but I'm not making a serious effort at job hunting either.  If something did happen then it would likely fall into my life like so many things have.

         If any, what big career adjustments have you made in your life?   Would you ever want to completely retire into a quiet sedentary life staying mostly at home?   What drives you most when it comes to taking a job:  money or circumstances?





Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle excepting over these summer months.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.

Artists Who Changed Careers

            Recently I watched an episode of Penn and Teller's Fool Us TV show and my attention was particularly drawn to one rather eccentric magician who had previously had a career as a singer in a moderately successful rock band.  Though this factoid was mentioned in the show, Penn Jillette failed to explain who the artist had been in his previous life when he sang vocals on a minor hit that eventually charted at 58 on the Billboard Pop chart.

            With my music interests such as they are I had to Google the magician to discover his previous career incarnation--a band and song completely new to me.   However, reading about this artist made me think of another artist that I enjoyed in his short career as a rock star before he went on to a different career.  This in turn inspired my current round of Battle of the Bands.

Cliff De Young  With All In Mind  (1966)

          Clear Light was an album I used to listen to frequently after it came out in 1966.   I still have my vinyl copy of this album.  Lead singer Cliff De Young later went on to an acting career, not a far cry from singing.   For the Battle I offer up this song from Clear Light's only album.





Rob Zabrecky  "Watch the Girl Destroy Me" (1993)

       Possum Dixon is a new band to me.  Lead singer Rob Zabrecky has multifaceted interests including his current career as a magician.







Time to Vote!

    
   D
o you have a preference between these two choices?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind. Which version do you like the best?   You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.


Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 
  

Winner of this Battle Announced on Friday July 21st

       I might be struggling to make it through Battles this week, but hoping I make it through and making it to my next winner announcement next Friday.   Still truckin'. 







Wednesday, July 5, 2017

One Valuable Lesson (#IWSG)


      I'd learn a lot more if I didn't forget so much.......

Insecure Writer's Support Group


Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog

Co-Hosts for July are:   Tamara NarayanPat HattPatricia LynneJuneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan



Question for July:

What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

         Through the years I've taken writing related classes, read many writings about writing, and involved myself in other educational and recreational realms about the art of writing.  Somehow writing seemed to be in my blood from my earliest memories.  I've enjoyed reading since I was a young child and was motivated to write by reading.  And if movies count, then I've watched plenty to get some kind of an influence from those.  Life itself is an education for many subjects and in some sense we are always in school though the classrooms might be a bit different than what we normally think of in respect to classrooms.

        A brain is like a sponge.  We absorb everything around us and within the realm of our own thoughts and reasoning.  In life we learn a lot of stuff, but it's mostly an amassing of subtleties that are in turn processed according to our life experiences and interests.  

        One valuable lesson learned?   Where does one start?  So many lessons have been vital to me in my writing endeavors that it would be difficult to single out what is most important to me.  In fact I'd dare say that the most important lessons are those integral aspects of writing that I now take for granted and can't particularly name.

       However, let me go to one thing that has been weighing upon me over the recent months (or is it years?).   We live in an age of extreme sensitivity to differing opinions.   There is so much divisiveness in our society that being genuine and expressing oneself openly can work to ones detriment both from a social standpoint as well as being commercially viable.  I'm seeing this in my blog writing.  I enjoy expressing my opinions and generating discussion.  Sadly, disagreement is rarely met with tactful intelligent response to the point where a sensible discussion can ensue and dissenting parties can be open to learning and understanding each other.  Being on the "other side" can get ugly in many cases.

       Some of my blog readers have asked me my opinion on certain issues, but I believe that they, knowing my stance on other issues, are essentially baiting me into an uncomfortable situation where they can attempt to discredit my opinion because they think they are the ones with the right answers.   I happen to think that in a good many instances both sides bear truth and those things perceived as falsehoods are merely different ways of looking at something.  

         Most of my writing does reflect my beliefs (political, spiritual, or what have you) and I don't think I am much different than a good many of those who write.   Though I try not to be preachy or overbearing in my writing,  there is almost always a message that I'm trying to convey.  I like stories, but I like enlightenment as well.  My favorite books, stories, and movies have all had that quality to them.  Escape is fun, but enrichment can carry far greater rewards in the long run.  

         More than ever before, we seem to be in a time when an opinion can label a writer as a pop star or a pariah.  Writers fall into niches, as perhaps they always have to a certain extent, but never as noticeable as it is now.  Categories and subcategories run rampant and if you toss in a writer with an opinion that others don't like, that writer can face consequences.

           It's not something I'm going to worry about much.  I'll write what I want to write and believe what I want to believe.   Look for it here at Tossing It Out.  I might offend more visitors to my site in months to come, but I must write what is in my heart and on my mind.  That's life--especially in this crazy social media age where little absurd things can rile people as much as big deep ideas.  It doesn't matter really.  That is until the question of marketability enters the picture.  Then I guess we have to accept that we are all jerks to some people while others will cheer us on.  

           Is this a lesson learned?   I think so.  And it's one that I'm still learning about and trying to contend with.

           Do you avoid reading about "issues"?    Would you rather be challenged to think about what you are reading or do you just prefer to escape?    Are you somewhat afraid to express your opinions about major issues for fear that you will make others angry with you?






         

          

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Come Back after I Go (#BOTB Results)


       
Et Tu, Arlee?

      I'm soon going to do that which I never thought I'd do regarding this blog.  I'm going to take a break.  Seems like a lot of bloggers have done this or will be taking breaks for the summer.  And now me.

        No big deal really because I guess it's not really that much of a break.  After all I'll still post for #IWSG on July 5th and August 2nd.   And in July and August on the 15th I'll still take part in Battle of the Bands with results posts for each posting a week after each Battle.  So it's not like I'll be disappearing and actually I'll be posting pretty much as I have in the past month or so.  However I will presumably be back in some expanded form by September and hopefully that will be my blog and not my waistline.

         So I guess I'm not really going to be all that inactive on this blog. But I will be offline a lot more than I have been.  After all, it's summer.

         What kinds of things are you doing this summer?   What is the longest complete blog break that you've ever taken?    When it's raining where you are, does it feel like it's raining all over the world?

Battle of the Bands Results



       Last week's Battle was Aretha Franklin versus Barbra Streisand singing their renditions of "Lover, Come Back to Me".   I've grown to dislike Streisand in recent decades, but not because of her singing.  Listening to her version of this old standard I recalled how much I used to like her singing.  On the other hand, I've never been a big fan of Aretha Franklin.  I had no idea that she sang more in a jazzy style before she started singing soul.

       Like some voters also expressed, Aretha's delivery of "Lover" was a pleasant surprise.  Although I liked both versions a great deal, I thought Aretha edged out Barbra for my vote.  The total vote outcome came out much the same way with Aretha taking a few more votes than Barbra.

Final Vote Tally

Aretha Franklin            13

Barbra Streisand          10




I'll Be Back

         My next appearance here will likely be Wednesday July 5th with a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group.  That's my plan at least.




Thursday, June 15, 2017

Lover Come Back to Me (2017) (#BOTB)


Lover Come Back (I Kind of Miss You)

         I'm missing an old lover of sorts.  It's not a person, but partly a state of mind.  Of being.

          In a sense I'm missing the internet while it's also blogging the way that it used to seem.  Is it just me who's lost the magic?   Or is it because the community and the participation is shrinking that some of the excitement and novelty has worn off?    Several bloggers who were very active a few years ago are not so much now.  Some just don't blog any more.
           Best if I let summer pass before I start back into blogging full steam.  And that's assuming that I can get stoked for full steam.  Besides, the internet has become a stranger, meaner place that it seemed like it was when I first discovered the magic of being online.  Maybe I've just found out for myself a darker part of social media that was always there and I just hadn't fallen into the mire.

         Don't get me wrong, but I'm hooked.  I'll be checking in on email and other social media things at least up until mid-August, but I just might not be on as much.  And I'm not going to disappear over summer, but I'll be doing other things.  And when mid-August arrives then we'll see what will happen next.

          Does the "magic" of the internet seem different to you in recent years?   How did you first stumble into the cyberworld?   Do you still have hope for blogging? 


Battle of the Bands


   Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens twice each month on the 1st and 15th.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.




 Lover Come Back to Me

     Holy déjà vu, Batman!  (R.I.P. Adam West)

     A year ago on this same date I used this same song in a Battle of versions done by Gaucho and Brenda Lee.  It's such a great song with so many outstanding recordings done by numerous artists that I thought it was worth revisiting.  In fact, considering the multitude of great versions of the song, I could make this particular Battle a yearly event for years to come.   So bear with me as I revisit this lovely song in a couple of jazzed up versions by two very well known female vocalists.  If you want to refer back to my first Battle using this song in order to learn the background of the song then please click here.



Aretha Franklin   "Lover Come Back to Me"  (1962)








Barbra Streisand   "Lover Come Back to Me"  (1964)





Time To Vote!

       D
o you have a preference between these two choices?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind. Which version do you like the best?  Do you prefer "The Queen of Soul" or the other singer?     You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 
  



Winner of this Battle Announced on Wednesday June 21st.

       That announcement post could be my next post unless I get a hankering to do another one before then.  Gosh, I guess summer's really here!   Whatever I do I hope you'll try to stay with me.  And I guess you'll probably want to see who comes out the winner of this grand battle of two iconic divas of our time.  







Wednesday, June 7, 2017

"I Quit!" #IWSG (#BOTB results)


        For most of us, finishing a marathon is more important than winning the race.  For me this is only a metaphor of sorts.  In real life I probably couldn't even run a hundred feet, but I guess it would be possible for me to finish a marathon just by walking.  It might take a couple days, but I think I could finish a walking marathon.  Maybe.



Insecure Writer's Support Group

Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog
   
The question for June is:

 Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?


            I never quite think in terms of quitting, but I might take a break.  At various times in my life I've just stopped doing something for a while.  Like writing for example. I've never completely stopped writing, but sometimes mostly reserved writing for mundane record keeping or notes to self.  

         For me, blogging has been a bit of writing salvation.  I've got so much other stuff that I intend to write, but find myself distracted by life.  But then, that's the way it's always been for me.   The nice thing is that I always have plenty to look forward to and every day is another adventure.  And now I can blog.  That's something at least.

Battle of the Bands Results


        Originally in my previous Battle I was thinking of using a version of "Begin the Beguine" by Artie Shaw, Tony Martin, or Ray Coniff.  My mother used to have a Ray Coniff album with that song on it so I heard it plenty.  She loved Ray Coniff and I enjoyed hearing his music too.  I haven't been able to find many of those recordings of Ray Coniff's older stuff from the fifties or sixties on YouTube, but then I haven't looked for them in a while.

        Then in my search for versions of the song I ran across Pete Townshend's rather surprising recording.  I knew that I had found my first competitor for Battle.  As I looked for a worthy competitor I came to Sheryl Crow's fine rendition.  That left me with my own voting dilemma.  Both versions are so different and so good that I could have voted either way.

       In my analysis Sheryl Crow's performance has everything I usually look for in a recording--slick arrangement, polished delivery, and intelligent instrumentation to back up well sung vocals.  This is my kind of music.

      On the other hand, Pete Townshend's recording was like sitting late in the evening with a small audience in an intimate setting with the famed Who guitarist serenading us with a private concert.  It's all a bit roughshod, but it's genuine.  And he stays with the original melody.  This is why my vote goes to Townshend.  It's real, honest, and I like hearing it.

      In the end though, Sheryl Crow delivers the most votes for a healthy win.  Her version left Townshend's in the dust right out of the starting gate.  I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised. But that's okay.  Sheryl's take is excellent.
     
Final Results

Pete Townshend     5

Sheryl Crow          18

Next Battle on Thursday June 15th

             There might be another post before the fifteenth of the month.  I'm taking summer as it comes and going wherever it takes me.

          Have you ever run a marathon?  What do you do when you lose interest in a project or a passion?   At what point do you realize that you can't go home again?








Thursday, June 1, 2017

Begin the Beguine (#BOTB)




Begin the Summer

           For many of us, Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning to summer even though the first day of summer is still a few weeks away.  Schools that have not already began their summer breaks will start doing so in the next couple weeks.  Some of you might have already started making summer vacation plans.  Or some might be starting summer jobs.
English: Really early wake up on summer vacati...
 Really early wake up on summer vacation in the Vysoké Tatry mountain (Slovakia). Havran (highest peak of the East Tatra - Belianske Tatry) on the shot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         As has become a summer tradition for my wife and I, we'll be traveling back east to see family.  My wife's vacation will be shorter this year therefore our travels will not be as extensive as the past couple years.  Nevertheless we'll still have about a month making our rounds.

          We won't actually be leaving until after July 4th, but my summer blogging schedule will begin now.  Ironically my summer blogging schedule is essentially the same as what my blogging schedule always is which doesn't amount to much of a predictable schedule for the most part.

          I'll keep doing my Battle of the Bands posts on the 1st and 15th of the month although that might cut back to just one a month.   There will also be results posts for whatever Battles I put up. The Insecure Writer's Support Group posts will likely appear according to that schedule.  After those posts it will be a matter of me posting according to whim.

          This all goes against what is considered "good" blogging.   My recommendation to bloggers who want to retain and build readership is to post regularly according to a predictable schedule.  Whim should not enter into that equation.   But it's summer.  Let us begin the summer fun!

Battle of the Bands


          Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens twice each month on the 1st and 15th.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.

Begin the Beguine

       This Cole Porter song was written in 1935 and used in the stage musical Jubilee.  "Begin the Beguine" has been recorded many times as well as having made numerous film appearances.   A beguine is a sultry ballroom dance style with French and Latin influences.  The song is a standard classic most often associated with big bands and pop song stylists.  For my Battle I have chosen versions by two rock artists that one might not have expected to sing this song.


Pete Townshend   "Begin the Beguine"     (1987)





Sheryl Crow  "Begin the Beguine" (2004)





Begin The Vote!

   
   D
o you have a preference between these two choices?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind. Which version do you like the best?   You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.


Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 
  



Winner of this Battle Announced on Wednesday June 7th

      Next Wednesday will also be #IWSG day so I'll have a short combined post.

        Has your summer started yet?   What has been your favorite summer job?   Do you have a special blogging schedule during the summer?