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...


Monday, November 20, 2017

Subtract Attract and You've Got What?

     The closer I get, the farther away I sometimes feel.  It's all a matter of nuances, ongoing perplexities and a realm of complexities.   Then there are my own assumptions about the way I would want things to be.  In the end things all work out as they are meant to be.

Is Love the Drug?

A scene from Kennywood, an amusement park loca...
A scene from Kennywood, an amusement park located in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania on the Monongahela River. This is a view of the Grand Carousel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
         If love or affinity does not exist between people then what is there?  We could be strangers known to each other, but each having a tacit refusal to recognize the other.   Like on a busy street we pass faces we see often, regularly avoiding eye contact, walking on.  There is our world and then there is the rest of the world that we don't know. 

       Perhaps in some deeply ingrained stubborn anger--an anger that understands not from where it came--or perhaps resentment rooted in events or words that have lost any actual impact on our lives other than the burden we carry in our memory--if we remember.   Facing days with fists clenched and steely expressions, we might wonder where our hate (even the smallest traces of hate), where we developed it and why we love who we do.

         But forgive my pondering.  Some of the greatest philosophers of this age are the writers and singers of song.  Sometimes when I hear songs, my mind wanders to places where the songwriters may have intended or maybe I take a side track.

           Love as a drug makes for good metaphor.  I can see how there are times in peoples' lives where it really does seem like love makes the world go 'round.  And I believe it does.  Sadly though, on this merry-go-round of life, there are other horses with names like Hurt, Hate, Sadness. and Loneliness.   Keep riding and reaching for the brass ring.  We all ride more than one of those horses in our lifetime.

           If your life was part of an amusement park, which ride would you be on most often?   As you get to know someone better do you ever find them to be more mystifying as time goes by?   What is your best cure for overcoming disappointment? 

Battle of the Bands Results

Love Is the Drug

        My recent Battle was between two versions of the Roxy Music hit "Love Is the Drug".    I presented a remake by the songwriter Bryan Ferry and a version by the rock group Divinyls.

        For me it started out to be a tough choice--I think both are very good, each for its own special reason.  I dug the horns--especially the saxophones--in the Bryan Ferry version.  After repeated listening I became more inclined to liking the Divinyls version and that's where my vote went.

         The Battle was a true horse race from the start, but in the end Bryan Ferry won by a nose. 

Final Vote Tally

Bryan Ferry       11

Divinyls              10

Happy Thanksgiving!

       A lot of readers will likely be celebrating a special dinner on Thursday of this week, but no matter what:  Always make your dinners special!  After all life is pretty special.  If you don't agree then I would recommend looking for the special things wherever you are.  If you can't seem to find anything special then take it upon yourself to make something or someone special.  That's one reason we have imagination.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Love Is The Drug (#BOTB)

The purest truest love is the cure for all of our ills.  Personally, I think I'm addicted to love...

The Great Gatsby Poster

       In my Remakes Blogfest post previous to this post I mentioned that my favorite film version of The Great Gatsby is the 2013 release directed by Baz Luhrmann.  The film soundtrack can be rather jarring at first--it was for me--but I began to not only get used to it, but I enjoyed it.  The incongruity of the crazy songs rather set the mood for the setting of the Roaring Twenties when the film takes place.  For my Battle of the Bands this round I pit a song from the Gatsby soundtrack (a remake of an earlier hit rock song) against another rock version of the same song...

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 blogs there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle on the 1st of the month.   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.

Love Is the Drug

          This song first done by Roxy Music in 1975 was the group's biggest hit.  You surely know it, but if not you can hear the original version here.   Please don't vote on the orignal!  The following are your choices:

Bryan Ferry  "Love Is the Drug"  (2012)

         This version by Ferry is essentially a  twice-over remake since he also sang the original with Roxy Music.  Here he gives the song a hot jazz band sound which made it well suited for the Gatsby soundtrack.

Divinyls  "Love Is the Drug"  (1993)

        This Australian group rocks this song   Their version appeared on the soundtrack of Super Mario Brothers

Time to Vote!

I think this is a very very tough choice.  Guess I'll have to come up with the version that is my personal favorite after several more listenings.   Do you have a preference between these two choices?   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



'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 November 20th

         With Thanksgiving next week I'm going to cut back the voting time which I think will be fine since you've got the weekend to cast your vote.  

         Busy times ahead for me--how about you?   Have you experienced what you've felt to be true pure unshakable love?   Does the use of more contemporary songs in films set in past periods bother you?  


Monday, November 13, 2017

The Great Gatsby (Remakes Blogfest)

   It's been said that you can't repeat the past...though of course you can when you remake a movie.  Then you can repeat the past as many times as you remake the movie...

Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh and Heather M. Gardner.----
blog about your favorite remake: movie (or television show into movie and vice versa), song, or book – or all three! Post a YouTube video and links where we can find these treasures. Tell us why THIS remake doesn’t suck!   You can find the list of other participants at either of the hosting sites.

The Great Gatsby

        Surprisingly, for one who had been an English major with a focus on literature when I was in college the first time around, I had never read F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby until 2013 when the most recent remake was released.   I had no particular intention on seeing the film--the novel didn't strike me as interesting nor did the movie.   Later, after the film's release, my wife and I were visiting our daughter in Houston and as I was looking for something to read during my stay there I spied a copy of Gatsby in their bookshelves.  It was a relatively short book so I decided to read the thing that I had thus far avoided for my entire life.  

        Well, I was blown away--one of the best novels I have read.  Upon finishing it was clear to me why The Great Gatsby is considered by many to be one of "The Great American Novels."   In a sense it is the truest American story, a rags to riches parable for the modern age.  The novel captures the spirit of an era and the essence of the romantic longings for the unobtainable that so many of us may have experienced in our own lives at some time or other.  The tragedy is beautifully told by Fitzgerald and begs for cinematic treatment.  After reading the book, I was convinced that I needed to see this celebrated new film version.
        In some future post I'll go into what made me so apprehensive about seeing the 2013 version of Gatsby, but I'll add in passing here that it was directed by Baz Luhrmann who also directed the 2001 film Moulin Rouge--yeah, I hated that film, but more on that in a few weeks in a future post.  Despite my feelings about Moulin Rouge, I was set on viewing his interpretation of The Great Gatsby.   At the time I was not aware that it had been interpreted by earlier directors.

The Great Gatsby 1926.jpg
The Great Gatsby (1926)


         Luhrmann's version blew me away thus luring me to explore whether other versions had been filmed.  I discovered there had been four movie versions over the decades (not counting a made-for-TV version that I have yet to see).   The first was a silent film of which no copies are known to exist any longer so other than viewing the trailer I have not seen that one.   Another version was released in 1949 with Alan Ladd in the role as Gatsby.  In 1974 Robert Redford played the lead in a much bigger production than its predecessors.  Then came the Luhrmann spectacle.

The Great Gatsby Poster
The Great Gatsby (1949)

         If the 1949 version were the only one to have been made it would have been a highly credible interpretation and worth a viewing by Gatsby fans.  The acting is fine though the story has been pared down to ninety minutes which does not allow for enough exposition and character development.  This film is more like a summary of the story with a feel that much is missing--and it is.  Nevertheless, Ladd plays the Gatsby role well.   This film is satisfactory, but probably wouldn't be fulfilling enough for modern audiences.  For one thing, it's in black and white and comes across as more of a film noirish experience than the story that it is meant to be.  This version is pretty good, but a bit flat.

The Great Gatsby Poster
The Great Gatsby (1974)

          My wife prefers the sweeping epic version from 1974.  The acting is outstanding and everything about the production is top rate.  Robert Redford does a fine job with his portrayal of the title character.  I've only seen this version once so far, but I would say that it is well worth watching.

The Great Gatsby Poster
The Great Gatsby (2013)

          My favorite is the 2013 version.   All of the acting works well for me.  The sets, the effects, and even the soundtrack are all big, brash, and a lot of fun.  Toby Maguire delivers the most effective portrayal of Nick Carraway (the narrator) of all of the films in my opinion and for me he really made the film.  However, I'd put Leonardo DiCaprio's performance up against any of the Gatsby's who came before him.  Where this version really captures the essence of the book is in its depiction of the decadence of the Jazz Age and the craziness of the world surrounding Gatsby and his elite neighbors.  For repeated viewings Luhrmann's version is the one for me.   It's good stuff that sticks pretty close to the story and spirit of Fitzgerald's novel.   I think Zelda Fitzgerald might have preferred this version as well.

          Now for any Moulin Rouge fans who might take offense at my negative stance on that film,  stay tuned to this blog for my post regarding that Luhrmann nightmare.  I will have some opinionated thoughts to share about it.  That post will come on November 29th directly preceding a related Battle of the Bands of December 1st.   My next Battle of the Bands post will be this Wednesday when I'll be pairing a song from Luhrmann's Gatsby soundtrack with an earlier version of the song.  Hope you'll join me for that.

         And by the way, regarding the versions of The Great Gatsby that I've discussed in this post, they are all relatively widely available so finding them would likely be little problem.   I bought the 1949 and 1974 versions through Amazon while I found the 2013 version with lots of bonus features at my local Walmart for something like seven bucks--a real steal.

         Would you consider The Great Gatsby to be one of America's greatest novels?     If you've seen any of the Gatsby films which was your favorite (if you liked any of them)?   What are some of your favorite film remakes?