Monday, July 27, 2015

Do You Make an Effort to be Annoying?

       Some people tend to annoy me.  Maybe not always, but there are times when I get annoyed by certain people.   I'm not sure if they are specifically going out of their way to annoy me or if it's just a matter of relational conflict or rivalry or maybe something else.  I suppose I come across in a similar way to certain people.

        My recent visit with my sisters in Tennessee seems to bear this out.  I know they were peeved by some of my actions and I was certainly irritated with them at times.  My brother doesn't usually annoy me, but still we come from a family of teasers and he has his moments.  And don't get me wrong about this--I love my brothers and sisters dearly.

        I tend to be a patient and forgiving person so I usually forget the annoyances rather quickly and rarely hold a grudge against people or stay angry for long.  On the other hand I've known people who don't seem to let go of bad feelings and if they have it out for someone else they can get downright mean and rude at times.

          People should try to work out misunderstandings and disagreements.  The world is enough of a mess without any of us adding more ugliness to it all.  The blogosphere is usually a pretty safe place where most people are either always nice or just avoid conflict.  Yet sometimes we do see some annoying sides of bloggers flare up.  I wish this weren't so, but then again I wish the world in general could be a nicer place.

         I'll admit that sometimes I apparently come across as very annoying, especially to my sisters, but I guess it's all part of the family dynamics at play.  I'm more careful with friends and acquaintances.  If I come across as annoying to other bloggers then it's probably just a matter of the opinions I hold or the way I say things.  I don't mean to be annoying if that's the perception that anyone ever has of me.

        So what's your excuse--why are you annoying?   Do you think you are annoying?  Has anyone ever indicated to you that you annoyed them?   Do you feel there is any merit or justification in annoying others, being opinionated in a harsh way, or holding lasting grudges?  Do I ever annoy you and if so, in what way?

Coming this Saturday August 1st!

       I don't want to think about how quickly time goes by.  What a cliche!  But I guess it's so commonly said because it's true for all of us and becomes truer the older we get.  The fact remains that August is almost here and the first of that month will arrive this coming Saturday.

        So why do I bring this up?    Well, as most of you know by now it's because the first of the month means it's time for Battle of the Bands.  This Saturday post will take the place of my Monday post which also means my Question of the Month post will come early and coincide with Battle of the Bands.  Be here for both.   I've got a kind of nutty Battle of the Bands match scheduled, but I like it.  I hope you will like it too.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Did the U.S. Really Land on the Moon? (BOTB results)

December 7–19: Apollo 17, the last manned Moon...
December 7–19: Apollo 17, the last manned Moon mission (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      Since I'm in no position to get into any involved posts at the present, I'll just pose a question for you:

Do you think the U.S. lunar missions were real or faked?

     Apparently the Russians have some doubt as expressed in an article in The Daily Mail.  Check out the blog post by Battle of the Bands host Stephen T. McCarthy where he poses the same question of doubt.    Did the U.S. go to the moon or not?  What do you think?

Battle of the Bands Results

       One thing that was not faked is the guaranteed status of a classic song standard in my most recent Battle of the Bands post featuring the song "How High the Moon".   The featured performances were by Mitchell Ayres and Mary Ann Mercer who and were up against the classic hit version by Les Paul and Mary Ford.

        I had anticipated a possible blowout with all votes going to the Paul/Ford version. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this was not what happened.  Actually what surprised me most was that some voters indicated that they were not familiar with the famous Paul/Ford rendition and in some cases not even the song itself.  Maybe it was that lack of bias that helped Ayres get votes, but more likely it was the classic smooth big band sound.   The Ayres recording fared far better than I had expected.

        As for my own vote, I've always liked the Les Paul and Mary Ford version. There's no doubt as to the significance in musical history regarding this version.  However my own personal musical taste draws me to the orchestrated version of Ayres.    I prefer the melodic vocals of Mercer and the sweeping sounds of the big band.  So my vote goes to Mitchell Ayres and Mary Ann Mercer.

Final Tally

Les Paul/Mary Ford              16 Votes

Mitchell Ayres/Mary Ann Mercer    14 Votes

     Watch for my next very strange Battle of the Bands post on August 1st.  If you're afraid of clowns this one might disturb you.  Then again it might surprise you.  It will prove to be a royal battle.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How High the Moon (BOTB)

         Here we are in the middle of July and rushing toward summer's end.   But it's only the 15th of the month and that means it's time for another Battle of the Bands.   Yes sirree, this is an event that takes place on the 1st and 15th of each month.   Far Away Eyes at Far Away Series gets the credit for first conceiving this homage to music.  Stephen T McCarthy maintains the participant list and answers your questions about the event--you can find his blog with the list of participants at  StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This is not at all complicated:  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 Battles to vote on.

How High the Moon

      Since my last Battle covered the vast Milky Way galaxy I thought I'd bring this one a little closer to home and focus on the moon.  Or more precisely, how high the moon.   Actually this song has nothing to do with the 238,900 miles from the Earth to the Moon, but is merely a somewhat nonsensical poetic rumination on love, romance, and the longing heart.  The song written by Nancy Hamilton and Morgan Lewis first appeared in the 1940 Broadway stage musical revue Two for the Show.

       Now a standard jazz tune, "How High the Moon" has been recorded by numerous artists and performed by a great many more.  If all of the performances of the song were to be placed one after another they would reach to the moon.  Actually I made that up, but it somehow seemed appropriate.

        It was very difficult to pick just two versions so I went with two contrasting versions.  This is one of those songs that could be used for many Battles in the future.   So many great stylings of the song to be had, but here are the two I settled for:

Les Paul and Mary Ford "How High the Moon" (1951)

       Probably the most well known recording of this classic song is by this duo.  Their version was #1 on the charts for nine weeks.  With the innovative multitrack recording pioneered by inventor and guitar virtuoso Les Paul, the recording portended the effects that became commonplace for artists to follow.   Fast and snappy, this version rocks.

Mitchell Ayres and his Fashions In Music with Mary Ann Mercer "How High the Moon" (1940)
       A hint of his classical music background comes through on this recording by Mitchell Ayres.   After his short stint with his Fashions in Music orchestra, Ayres went on to conduct orchestras for artists like the Andrews Sisters and Perry Como.  In 1969 Ayres died at age 60 after being hit by a car in Las Vegas where he was working as the musical conductor for Connie Francis at the Landmark Hotel.  Coming a decade prior to the hit by Les Paul and Mary Ford, this is among the first recordings of "How High the Moon"--a bit more sophisticated than the 1951 hit without the rocking and rolling.

Time to Vote!

          There you have it--two great versions of one great song.  Which do you like the best?   Please don't use the excuse that you don't like the music or you don't know this song.  You don't have to like the music and it doesn't matter if you've never heard it before.  Just judge what you hear.  Which version do you prefer?    It's up to you to help 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 version you chose (or which one was the least objectionable to your ears).  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

Shady Dell Music and Memories   

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Cherdo on the Flipside  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Women:  We Shall Overcome  

Alex J. Cavanaugh 

Book Lover

J. A. Scott  (New this round!)

Results on Monday July 20th

         You've got until Sunday afternoon July 19th to cast your vote.    You'll get the final vote tally for this Battle on my post of Monday July 20th.   Please vote!   Battle of the Bands seems to be more interesting when we get votes.

          Are you aware of Les Paul's contributions to modern music?   Do you like to hear old standards ramped up a bit with rock and roll rhythms?     Have you ever written romantic poetry using the moon as your inspiration?  

Monday, July 13, 2015

And Now the Intensity Begins

Eternal clock
Eternal clock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Part One is Nearly Done

      My first three weeks of "vacation" have been relatively computer friendly.  Though I've not been able to visit all of your blogs as much as I might when I'm home, I have nevertheless been able to make reasonable rounds in keeping up with many of your blogs.  Sorry to those of you I have missed, but I think you might understand.

      So far I've been able to keep up with the Battle of the Bands posts reasonably well and I've managed to continue posting on my blog Wrote By Rote where I've been attempting to report on my vacation activities and reflect on my trip in general.  Things are about to change I think.

        First of all I need to wrap up as much as I can here in Tennessee. My time is running out here and there's much to do.  I will not get it all done, but I'll focus on the main things.  For more on my thoughts about this you can read my most recent post at Wrote By Rote.

Moving On

       On Thursday I'll be departing for a brief visit to Charlotte, NC where I'll be visiting my old employer's headquarters and catching up with some of my old work friends.  Friday night I'll head up to Danville, Virginia where I'll be seeing my son.    Then Sunday I'll start making my way to New Jersey where I'll be for three more weeks.  This is when my blogging time might get pinched.   I'll likely be doing a lot of  babysitting and playing the Grandpa role for my four grandchildren who live there.

        For one thing, a new grand baby arrived on July 8th.  Thomas John Z came into this world at 20 inches long with a weight of 8 lbs 10 oz.  Mama Ada Z has her hands full already with a four year old and an eighteen-month old.  She is going to have to have the patience of a saint in the years ahead.  Some of you might remember my daughter Ada Z as the designer of the badge for the 2012 A to Z Challenge.        

Thomas John Z born July 8, 2015

     Proud Dad Tom Sr had been starting to feel overwhelmed in a house full of females so now he has an ally in Baby Tom.  My son-in-law is a big Chicago Bears fan and an ex-football player himself and I'm sure he'll have his son in training with the pigskin as soon as he can.  Mama Ada already has reported that she calms the new arrival best when she hums the "Bear Down" song.  I don't know that song, but I guess I'll be learning it soon enough.

Proud big sister Lillee with new baby brother.
     Giving Ada ample time to tend to Baby Thomas I'll be spending time with the sisters Lillee and Grace and also my other granddaughter Marley who will soon be 7 years old.  I'm sure by the time my wife arrives from Houston on August 5th I'll be welcoming her relief in helping me with the girls.  And I know she's excited as well to see all of the New Jersey grandkids.

Time Flies!

       My month in New Jersey will fly by I know.   I've got granddad duties slated for that time, but hopefully there will also be some time for my blogging duties.  Maybe I'll still be able to meet with some bloggers if meetings can be arranged.  Also I'm waiting for word concerning a meeting in the Big Apple.  If I can swing this it could have some big implications for me.  I'm hoping, but I'm also prepared for it all to fall through.  Life goes on no matter what and I will simply make up a new strategy if that's what's necessary.  I'm not saying any more about this since right now there's not much to say.

       I've got Battle of the Bands posts scheduled through August so those will be appearing on the proper days.  I hope I can participate adequately for each posting--I will do my best.  The one that will probably pose the biggest problem for me is the BOTB post on August 15th.  I'll be in the midst of the most intensive travel days of all as we make our way across the country back to L.A.  Then my life will be back to normal--or maybe better.  Time will tell and that telling will come quickly.

        Be sure to come back this Wednesday July 15th for my next Battle of the Bands when I'll be featuring a song about the distance of a notable celestial body.

       Will I be anywhere near you in the weeks to come?   Can you guess what my song choice will be in the next Battle of the Bands?   Anyone want to come help me babysit?