Sunday, February 1, 2015

Bye Bye Love (BOTB)

         The first of February on this blog means it's time for another Battle of the Bands, the blogging event first introduced by our friends at Far Away Series and  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.

          Having just celebrated my birthday this past Friday has me in a celebratory mood to honor a birthday of a notable figure of rock music history.  Don Everly was born on February 1st in 1937.  He and his brother Phil comprised the Everly Brothers who had a career that spanned nearly 50 years with a string of hits that eventually landed them a place in both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame--no small achievement.  Many major artists including the Beatles, Paul Simon, and Neil Young have named them as an influence.

         The Everly Brothers will long be remembered for their music.   Happy birthday Don Everly.

"Bye Bye Love"

          "Bye Bye Love" (1957) was the debut of the Everlys and became a million seller hit record for the duo kicking off their stellar career.  The song was written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, a husband and wife songwriting team who have composed many well-known songs including "Rocky Top", "Love Hurts", and "Wake Up, Little Susie". Since the Everlys' initial success with "Bye Bye Love", the song has been recorded by numerous artists over the years and used in several movies, television shows, and commercials.  

          In this edition of Battle of the Bands I will once again be closing with a 3rd entry that is a somewhat long movie clip.  You can choose to disregard this final clip if you don't want to spend the time watching it--and let me add here that this is an outstanding version of the song with a great visual production.  As in my previous Battle of the Bands I'm going to announce my pick ahead of time and my pick will be the long movie version at the end of the post.   But if you prefer you can choose between the two shorter versions that I'm offering first.  I think they're both very good.   I'm not including the original version by the Everly Brothers since that might give an unfair advantage.

        Let's get started!  (If you want to hear the version by the Everly Brothers you can click on this link, but please don't vote on that version)

Ray Charles "Bye Bye Love" (1962)

       From his album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Ray Charles jazzes up the Everly Brothers' hit with a big band flair.   This is a short one that flies by, but it's classic Ray Charles style.  Enjoy.

Madeleine Peyroux "Bye Bye Love" (2013)

         Jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux gives the song a bit of a New Orleans voodoo twist giving it a cool groove.  This is from Peyroux's album The Blue Room.

Ben Vereen and Roy Scheider "Bye Bye Life" (1979)

        The film All That Jazz is based on the life story of Bob Fosse who also co-wrote, directed, and choreographed the movie.  The film was nominated for 9 Oscars in 1980, winning in four categories and it won numerous other entertainment awards as well.  This highly acclaimed film starred Roy Scheider in the lead role.  You might remember Scheider as the police chief in the movie Jaws--he's the one who says "You're gonna need a bigger boat".   Scheider appeared in numerous roles in a film career that spanned nearly fifty years and garnered him two Academy Award nominations as well as several other awards.

********* (Spoiler alert! -- though it's probably not a big deal in regard to the film musical All That Jazz)******

       In the final death scene musical production, the song "Bye Bye Love" gets some lyric changes that turns the song into "Bye Bye Life".  In my opinion this is the best rendition of the Everly Brothers' hit ever recorded--this really rocks!  I cast my vote for this version.   Since this runs for nearly ten minutes you might choose not to watch and just vote between the two shorter versions offered above.  I think you will be well rewarded if you do watch the clip below.

       If you never have seen the film and enjoy musical films about show business, dancing, and pushing life beyond the limit, I highly recommend All That Jazz.   It's one great film.

Warning:  There is brief nudity in this clip.  

Time to Vote!

          Which do you prefer?  I've started off the voting with one vote for the version of "Bye Bye Life" from the film All That Jazz which as I said earlier is an optional choice in this contest.   I hope you will consider this one, but I'll understand if you only choose between the shorter versions.  

        Now it's up to you to determine the winner.   Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the one 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



DC Relief Battle of the Bands

        The results of my Battle will be announced on this coming Friday February 6th.   No post this Monday since I've posted this and want to give this post more of a chance to allow for voting.  On Wednesday I'll have my post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

             Have you seen All That Jazz?   What do you think was Roy Scheider's best role of his film career?     Are you an Everly Brothers fan?    

Friday, January 30, 2015

Shhh! Can You Keep a Secret? It's My Birthday

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...
Candles spell out the traditional English birthday greeting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      I don't want this getting out all over the place so I'm only telling you--today's my birthday.

      I'm keeping this a secret so don't be spreading this all around, you know like sharing it on social media. I mean I'd hate to get a barrage of FaceBook birthday greetings or have the link to this post all over Twitter. I keep a low profile, you know, and don't like to be promoting or marketing my brand or my blog or having my name Arlee Bird broadcast all over the internet. It's not like I'm trying to build a platform or anything like that. I'm just a quiet guy who wants to remain invisible.

     Well, that is, except for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. You can blurt that all over the place. Sign-ups can be found here or here or at the many sites of the A to Z Team of Co-hosts. So I guess for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge cause I'll forsake my anonymity and give you permission to send this post everywhere. All over the world even. Don't forget to tell your family, friends, neighbors, and anyone you see passing on the street.

      So since the word is out anyway I guess if you want to send me presents you can.  Gift cards are fine.  Cash is preferred.   No bills under twenties please...

        Sorry didn't mean to get out of hand there...

         Instead, to celebrate my birthday I'm going to do the unthinkable and accept a couple of awards in my own unorthodox rule-breaking method.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

       I normally don't do the awards on my site anymore so I rarely get them offered to me, however Chrys Fey presented me with this Very Inspiring Blogger Award and how can I turn down an award with that kind of title it being my birthday as well as opening week of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge sign-ups. 
The Rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you, and link to their blog. (see above)
2. Display the award logo. (it's up there too)
3. Nominate 15 other bloggers (more or less) and provide a link where they may be found. (here's where I break a rule--if you've signed up for A to Z then the award is yours)
4. Go to their blog, leave a comment to let them know they have been nominated. (I'm telling you now)
5. Mention three things that inspired you the most during the past few weeks.  (see below)
Three things that have inspired me recently:
1.  Getting up this morning (and every morning)
2.   The great response to A to Z sign-ups for the opening week.
3.   The beauty of God's creation and His infinite mercy.

     Thank you, Chrys for thinking of me for this award!

The Liebster Award

       This Liebster Award has been sitting in my post files for some time now so I could use it for a post like this one.  This award appeared on A to Z co-host John Holton's blog The Sound of One Hand Typing and he offered it to anyone with under 3000 followers, which unfortunately is a category I still fall into, but that fortunately allows me to accept the award to be able to blab about me since it's Me Day being my birthday and all.   I just answer questions about me and give the award to whomever I like.   If you're an A to Z participant feel free to accept this award on my behalf.

         Here is a mix of questions asked by John as well as some questions asked by previous award presenters:
  1. What is your ideal vacation?   The answer involves many variables for me, but if I exclude my typical vacation of visiting family then an ideal vacation is one that requires minimal investment for me with the value of learning the most and gaining the most good memories.  It also would be a vacation shared with those I love or people who will enrich me with their presence.
  2. If you had to live somewhere else, where would you move?  I've often somewhat jokingly said that I'd like to live in Grand Island, Nebraska.  I don't know why I'm so intrigued by the place, but it just always seemed kind of hometown U.S.A. to me.   I'm fairly adaptable and there are many places that might attract me and it's hard to beat the weather here in Southern California, but East Tennessee or somewhere near that has the greatest lure for me.
  3. What was your first job?  The first job that I got on my own efforts was in Knoxville, Tennessee working at a wholesale carnival supply company by the name of Acme Premium Supply.  Everyone always makes the Wiley Coyote connection and no, this is not the company where he got his doo-dads, but it's kind of like that one.  We mostly sold stuffed animals and other carnival game prizes.
  4. If you’re a writer, what genre do you write? What would you like to write?  Like I write on Tossing It Out, my other writing tends to be fairly eclectic.  I like to experiment with different styles and explore many topics.  My favorite thing to write is anything memoir related.  You can find some of that at my other blog Wrote By Rote.
  5. What is your claim to fame?  If you Google Arlee Bird you'll mostly find links related to my blogs with a larger number of links talking about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge which I started in 2010.  So I guess that's my biggest claim to fame in recent years.   If you want to sign up for this April's Challenge, visit or click on the related tab at the top of this page.
  6. What type of music do you like?   Maybe it's easier to tell what kinds of music I don't like.  I love music as might be indicated with my focus on the Battle of the Bands posts that I do on the 1st and 15th of each month.  The next Battle of the Bands post will appear here on this blog this coming Sunday February 1st.  Oh, and if I were to pick one predominate favorite music genre that would be Classical--primarily from the 1700's to mid 1900's.   
  7. What motivates you to post on your blog?  All the stuff that's in my brain overflows into the pages of this blog and my brain is constantly filling up with new thoughts.   I'm also building my platform you might say.   Why I'm building that platform will hopefully become more clear in the future sometime.   
  8. What’s your favorite holiday, and why?   Thanksgiving has remained a big favorite in my adult years and even as a child.  Some of my best memories stem from Thanksgiving.  It's a mostly relaxing time with food that I enjoy.   I love that Thanksgiving dinner!  And these days I'm usually the one who cooks most of it.
  9. Did you believe in Santa Claus when you were a child?  I believed until I was about nine years old.  Then until about age 12 I played along with the concept so I'd be sure to get presents. After that I became an agent for Santa as I helped my mother shop for presents for my younger brothers and sisters and wrapped presents and assembled stuff on Christmas Eve so the younger kids would have a great time--and I still got presents myself.  That's when Christmas became the most fun and it was a win-win situation for me and my parents.
  10. Who is your favorite writer?   The writer I immediately name is Flannery O'Connor, but I'm also a big fan of Cormac McCarthy and William Faulkner.  Hmm--I guess I have a preference for Southern Literature.
  11. What would be your dream job?   My dream job is similar to the touring stage production job I had back in the 70's and 80's.   The job would involve plenty of travel to places I wanted to go, meeting the public, and doing something related to performing music and/or promoting my books.  Oh, so I guess that dream job would involve a lot of writing as well.  Yeah, I could live with that kind of a job.

Guessing Games

       I can't believe that from the clues I offered in my Wednesday post that no one guessed what song I'll be using in my Battle of the Bands post coming up this Sunday February 1st. I actually named the song and part of the name of the artists who originally recorded it.  It was right there!  Maybe that goes to show how closely posts are actually read, but I understand that based on how I read many posts.

         While we're bringing up guessing games I wonder if anyone can guess how old I am today?  While you're thinking about that I'll leave you with a cover version of a song that came out when I was in high school.   This is not part of my Battle of the Bands, but maybe I should have used this song since there are some pretty fine cover versions of it.  Play the song if you like and scroll down while you're listening for some more thoughts on game playing.

          Remember--the song versions  I'll be using on my next Battle of the Bands post will be covers and not the version by the original artist. Or maybe you don't want to guess.   It's donned on me that some of you all might have had your phil of guessing games!   I can hear some of you saying, "How 'bout saying 'bye-bye' to the guessing games!  I don't want any more of them--ever Lee!"

         Please stop by on Super Bowl Sunday or the following couple of days so you can find out what song I've chosen and you can vote for your favorite version.

           Did you guess the Battle of the Bands song I'll be using?   Did you guess my age?   Do you like guessing games?  Can you guess why I have these guessing games in some of my posts?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Between a Rock and a Hard Place (well, not exactly that)

American cultural icons, apple pie, baseball, ...
American cultural icons, apple pie, baseball, and the American flag
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         Why I happened to think of the oft used American expression "Stuck between a rock and a hard place" in regard to what I was going to write for this post now escapes me, but it happened to pop into my mind as I was considering my post for today which I was thinking of as a transition post of sorts.   I could have just as easily said "I'm between my Monday post and the post I'll be putting up this coming Sunday".    What I guess I had on on my mind was the consideration of how to remind readers about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge which opened this past Monday and how to drop a few clues about my next Battle of the Bands post which will be coming up this Sunday February 1st.

        Perhaps the more precise way of stating the theme of this current post would be "Stuck between a great big A to Z sign-up list and a rock song".    I guess that wouldn't sound as catchy as an American idiom that has an origin now obscure to most of us, but with a meaning that seems pretty obvious.

           I had to look up that expression out of curiosity and found that it is a theme that appears in nearly every culture dating back to ancient times.   The gist of the saying has to do with being in a dilemma in which any solution is not particularly a good one.  Well!  That being the case the phrase then has no real relevance in relation to my topic for this post.   Imagine me going off on some weird tangent that has little to do with anything.  Yes, that's par for the course I guess--to use a golf idiom that I never paid much attention to the fact that it had anything to do with golf until this moment as I used it.  Come to think of it I don't really say "That's par for the course" very often but there it was just popping into my head.

          Oddly enough I started this post over an hour ago with just the title and went downstairs to watch one of the few TV shows that I follow these days.   The Flash on the CW network is a pretty decent show for the superhero genre which is something I've grown weary of in recent years.  But that's another story for another day (is that another idiom?).  The point I wanted to make about going to watch The Flash after composing the title for this post was that among the opening lines of dialogue in this particular episode one of the characters said they were "stuck between a rock and a hard place" and I found that to be a bit weird considering the circumstances.  Serendipitous perhaps.  I don't know, but at least this gave me a reason to use one of my favorite words "Serendipitous" (or any variation of that word).  Just thought I'd toss that out to you.

          So looking back to Monday, did you get your name on the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge Linky list yet?   As I write this, the list is stalled at #330, but I'm sure that as you read this the list will have progressed much more.  The list will be open until April so if you haven't decided whether or not to participate you do have time.  However, get into the community spirit and join now so you can mix and mingle and start making new friends and reacquainting yourself with old ones.  If you don't join in before the list closes you might be a bit blue thinking about the relationships that might have been and you missed out on.   Well maybe that's a bit dramatic, but it's my sales pitch.  I'll be doing that now and then between now and April, brothers and sisters, cause I don't want anyone to cry or feel left out of the fun.

         Maybe you've been catching hints of song clues along with lots of herrings, red and every other color you can think of, and the reason for the clues has to do with Battle of the Bands.  I was shocked that my previous Battle of the Bands post likely broke a record of most votes so far for any Battle of mine and maybe any other Battles of participating bloggers.  A total of 40 votes were received on that Battle.  I had fears that the voter turn-out would be far lower since I broke my own rules and used 3 song versions including one that lasted about 10 minutes.   Thanks voters!  I'll be taking this same route one more time (please bear with me) with 3 songs with one clip that is again about 10 minutes.  Never fear though, there will be two short ones and you can just vote between those if you'd like.

           That's about it for me here at Tossing It Out for today.  I won't even mention that Friday will be my birthday and I'll have a special little post to commemorate that event.  Oh, I guess I did mention it.  I didn't mean to do that--yeah right!   Even if you miss my birthday don't miss my Battle of the Bands post on Sunday or I'll be feeling blue.   Guess I'd better say bye-bye.  Love you, brothers and sisters.

             Did you join the A to Z list yet?    Do you ever wonder about the idioms that people often use?    Can you guess what song I'll be using on my Battle of the Band post?

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Big Sign-Up Day Is Here At Last! ( #AtoZChallenge )

       Six years ago while trying to come up with something that might boost my blog following and readership, I came up with the first Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.   Thinking that the concept was nothing more than my own personal stunt to get some attention for my own blog, the interest that others had in joining me in the event caught my attention.   I realized that this blogging event was something that others could enjoy and also reap the benefits for their own blogging.   This was how it all began and now here we are ready to head into our 6th annual April Blogging Challenge!

       With five Challenges behind us and thousands of bloggers having participated in one or more Challenges, the A to Z Challenge community is now extensive with members coming from all over the globe.   The Challenge of 2015 might just be the biggest ever.   If you are planning to join us then today is the first day to get on the list.  The sign-up list will be open until April for any of you who want to think some more about joining.  You have plenty of time, but don't wait too long or you might forget.   No point in waiting when you can sign up now.

          The A to Z Challenge has become so big that there is no way that I could keep this going on my own at the large scale it now is.  I am deeply indebted to the A to Z Team for all the work they have been doing so far and will be doing in the months to come.  Later in this post you will find a list of these A to Z Co-hosts and the links to their blogs.  Show your appreciation to them by following each of their blogs and getting to know them.  This is a great Team!   And of course this Challenge wouldn't be the success that it is without all of you wonderful bloggers.  Thanks to all of you!

          Read on for some important guidelines on participation and hints to make your Challenge experience the best it can possibly be.

Please read and follow the sign-up instructions outlined below so you sign onto the list correctly!

The premise of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends. For more details and its history, go HERE

We recommend short posts, turn off Word Verification, and visit five blogs (or more) a day beginning with the one after yours on the list.

Blogs must be on an open platform – no Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. – and comments enabled.

To streamline legitimate blogs from advertisement blogs, the Co-Hosts will be visiting each blog on this list throughout the Challenge. Blogs on the list showing no activity once the Challenge starts or miss five days in a row will be removed.

Please note your blog name and number in all correspondences. Remember that as blogs are removed, your number will change.

There are categories for those looking for like-minded blogs. Select ONE category code and enter it after your blog’s title/name. The code applies to your blog, not your theme for the Challenge and is purely optional. See the first few blogs on the list for examples. However, if your blog has adult content, you MUST mark it (AC) or it will be removed from the list. Codes are as follows:


Be sure to grab the badge and display it in your sidebar so we know you are participating and link to the A to Z Challenge Blog.

For more information we recommend you follow the A to Z Challenge Blog and the hosts:

Arlee Bird @ Tossing it Out
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
Jeremy @ Hollywood Nuts
Nicole Ayers @ The Madlab Post
Author Stephen Tremp
Heather M. Gardner
AJ @ Naturally Sweet
Pam @ An Unconventional Librarian
Matthew MacNish @ The QQQE
Zalka Csenge Virág @ The Multicolored Diary
S. L. Hennessy @ Pensuasion
C. Lee McKenzie @ The Write Game
Joy Campbell @ The Character Depot
Susan Gourley @ Susan Says
John Holton @The Sound of One Hand Typing
Lisa Buie-Collard, Author

We also have a Facebook Page
Email address is
Twitter hashtag is #AtoZChallenge and Twitter id is @AprilA2Z

Sign up below and join us for a month of alphabet fun!

       Now let's get ready to Blog from A to Z!

       If you're thinking about not participating this year, what's holding you back?   What do you think is the best aspect of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge?      Do you have any questions about this year's Challenge or is anything in this post not quite clear to you?