Friday, August 28, 2015

Does Government Want to CONTROL Us?

1920s cartoon, showing man standing at microph...
1920s cartoon, showing man standing at microphone with his mouth wide open and the text "I'M A SMART GUY". (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     Would you believe that a good many schools now are starting school before Labor Day?   Would you believe that some school districts have already been in session since the end of July?   How about some schools are going to a year round schedule or have at least tried this in some form or another?

       Whatever happened to summer vacation and all the fun kid things that went with that?   Sorry about that, kids.  Big brother has decided to screw you out of your childhood and prepare you for a bleak future world where everyone is the same.  Make believe and thinking differently is not allowed unless it's the kind of different sanctioned by the "brave new world" of groupthink.

      They claim they want our kids to get smart yet they really want to dumb us all down so we can conform to their every whim.  It's all about control.  Of course, government is in the business of control.  That's what laws and regulations are all about.   This makes sense to keep an orderly structure to society--to a degree.

       Do we need government telling us what we can eat or drink that is beyond the useful action of making sure consumables are safe for us and won't kill us because of contamination or something of that nature?   What we decide to ingest and consume should be a matter of personal choice should it not?  Same with schools.  Teachers should have more control of the classroom under the guidance of local directives, but it makes little sense for the federal government to have an across the board agenda to homogenize society.  Rural areas have different concerns that urban areas.   A concentration of one cultural group in one area of the country might be a good reason to adapt a school system to that group, but not a reason to impose those cultural needs on every school system.

       The old American dream has been corrupted.   We missed it by that much!  Now the question is can we get it back?   The freedom train has been derailed by politically correct elements of society that want to change the story of the United States and alter the meaning of words that tell our story now.  The old totalitarianism trick is being pulled on us and anyone who is out of step with what the powers-that-be want is getting the duct tape across the mouth treatment and ostracization by those who are allowed to shout them down.
        In my blog post from 2013 Do You Know What Your Children Are Learning in School? I discussed the matter of government control as related to the federal government's intrusion on schools with the Common Core curriculum.   This educational initiative will undoubtedly become a big issue in the 2016 presidential race.  Common Core certainly has its proponents, but it is also facing vigorous resistance from its opponents.   Hopefully, voters will take a closer look at Common Core before continuing to allow it to turn our children into submissive clones.  Common Core is more than an educational agenda, it's a political agenda.   Certain elements of the ruling forces in this world would like nothing better than to see a degradation of the United States by weakening what this nation represents.  Despite what we think about our democracy, we may not actually have as much control over government as we'd like to believe.

         There will be many loud voices on all sides of every argument in the year to come.  Let's hope the voices on the side of what will be best for this nation will stay strong and remain loud.  "You can't move mountains by whispering at them," said chanteuse Pink.    Floyd Lawson, the barber and purveyor of homespun observations from The Andy Griffith Show, might have interjected with "I thought Calvin Coolidge said that."  

       Uh, no Floyd, Pink is attributed to having made that particular statement.  However Calvin Coolidge is credited with the following:

"We do not need more intellectual power, we need more moral power. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character. We do not need more government, we need more culture. We do not need more law, we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen.... If the foundation is firm, the superstructure will stand." -Calvin Coolidge

"If in a free republic a great government is the product of a great people, they will look to themselves rather than government for success..."  -- Calvin Coolidge

"Don't expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong." -- Calvin Coolidge

“Patriotism is easy to understand in America; it means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.” 
― Calvin Coolidge

     Though it wasn't Calvin Coolidge, there is some disagreement on who said the following, but I think it's worth mentioning:

“When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”---Thomas Jefferson (according to some sources)

     Battle of the Bands Coming!

            Reading through my above rant you might have gotten some hint of what my next Battle of the Bands song will be.   Actually I think I made it so obvious to anyone who knows the song that I'd be very surprised if no one gets it.  Let me know in the comments what you think my next song choice will be.  My next Battle of the Bands will be combined with my Insecure Writer's Support Group post and will appear on Tuesday September 1st.

          Do you think political correctness has gotten out of hand in the United States?   Is it important for school kids to have an old-fashioned summer vacation?    Did you recognize what classic television comedy show I was alluding to in my post (other than The Andy Griffith Show)?

Monday, August 24, 2015

And Now for a Corny Blog Post

Arlee Bird cornsorting with the corny mascot of the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota

      Blogger friends!   Lend me your ears!   Sometimes I realize I resort to corn on Tossing It Out, but in this post I've got the real thing.  There's more than just a kernel of truth to this post--there's a whole bunch of kernels.  

        In our recent trip across country from New Jersey back to Los Angeles, my wife and I traversed a number of the agricultural states of America's Heartland and were impressed by the farmland we passed on our journey.  It was mostly corn fields, but also many other crops that I, being no agriculturist, could not identify.  I'm guessing we might have seen a lot of soy, peas, and other plantings.  Then there were the vast fields of sunflowers in South Dakota that kept Tina Downey on my mind.  If you'll remember, A to Z Team member Tina Downey passed away a year ago on August 23rd and we sorely miss her.  Seeing those sunflowers was kind like a tribute in her memory.

Mitchell, South Dakota

The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota

      If there are any among you who have heard of Mitchell, South Dakota then you are surely familiar with a true oddity of America Heartland legend--"The World's Only Corn Palace".   This was one place that we had to stop for as it is a unique landmark.

       The Corn Palace is the centerpiece of the city's yearly Corn Palace Festival as well as being the locale of many other festivities throughout the year.  The building has a basketball court that is used for local college and high school games and a stage that has featured many name acts in its long history.  

During the peak tourist season the main Corn Palace floor becomes a veritable souvenir department store.  That black rectangle in the background is the vast stage.
      In fact yours truly played the Corn Palace a number of times in the 70's and 80's when I was touring with the World of Fantasy Players so I was well familiar with this venue which was another reason I wanted to revisit this world renown facility.   They've made a lot of improvements since I was there last.   The place looked fine and was bustling with tourists on the Thursday afternoon when we visited.

       The most unique feature of the Corn Palace and what gives it its name is that the mural mosaics on the exterior and interior are made up entirely of ears of colored corn and other parts of the corn plants.  Each year the old murals are stripped and replaced with new ones.  This is a pretty amazing feat that takes weeks of tedious work to complete.

      This year's Corn Palace Festival begins this coming Thursday August 26th running through Sunday August 30th.   Some of the featured acts this year are Tony Orlando and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  You can still make it if you are so inclined, but I'm not sure about motel availability as the event draws thousands each year.

      Durn it all!   I just missed it!  Shucks!

My wife couldn't resist the shopping at the souvenir booths on the Corn Palace basketball court. 

A blog giant posing with a giant of peas.  Can you guess who is who?

        Earlier in the day prior to reaching Mitchell, South Dakota we made a quick stop off at Blue Earth, Minnesota.   I was actually getting off the interstate to find a place where my wife could buy some Minnesota souvenirs and we happened upon this tribute to the Jolly Green Giant.  Blue Earth is home to a Green Giant museum as the city played a vital role in the company's history.  Each year in July Blue Earth holds a Giant Days Festival.  By the way Blue Earth also claims to being the place of origin of the ice cream sandwich--that's what they say at least.

         And now for you Green Giant fans--remember this?


          I'd forgotten all about this crazy song from the group that gave us that most notorious version of the song "Louie, Louie" and then even before I got to Blue Earth, Minnesota I heard this song played on the radio.  Some kind premonition maybe?   Oh, peas...

           Have you visited either of these nutty Roadside Attractions?   Do you have any unique festivals in or near the community where you live?   What is the oddest place you've ever visited?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Bucking Some Dang Blogs & BOTB Results for Bodang Buck

Arlee Bird promoting A to Z Challenge at Mt. Rushmore

     Finally!  I'm back from one of my longest vacations ever.   It's been a great summer for me and my wife.  We've spanned the United States from coast to coast and seen plenty of the wonderful sights this country has to offer.  We've also enjoyed the company of family members and friends whom we don't get to see enough.

       Now, coming back to the usual routine of our most-of-the-year life, it's time once again for me to reassess my life and everything in it.  One of the first things I'm going to be tackling is my subscriptions to a number of Wordpress blogs that I've followed over the years.  There are many that I regularly read and comment on and they never seem to acknowledge the existence of my blogs.  I've already begun unsubscribing to many of those.

       Don't get me wrong, there are a number of Wordpress bloggers who have seemed to figure out how to cross comment on my Blogger platform and those will stay on my list.  I appreciate the support of the Battle of the Band bloggers  'Curious as a Cathy'Sound of One Hand TypingThe Doglady's Den,  Angel's Bark as well as a few other WP bloggers who regularly comment at Tossing It Out or Wrote By Rote.   I'm not dropping any of these bloggers and I hope we continue to have long meaningful relationships in the years to come.

      Maybe I'm being a bit petty about this, but my time is as valuable as anyone else's and even if I'm just taking a few seconds to delete notifications from my email it all adds up.  I need to start restructuring my time better and it's going to start with certain blogs.   No point in reading some of those blogs or leaving comments that never get reciprocated.  My comments on those blogs might get answered in some instances, but I'd appreciate some of those bloggers just letting me know that I mean something to them beyond my visiting their blogs.  

      Sorry for this bit of nonsense, but it's been bugging me.  It's time to do something about it--again.  If you have a Wordpress blog and feel that I might unjustifiably unsubscribe from your blog, please leave me a comment below so I know you are out there and what your thoughts are about my current course of action.

Bodang Buck Results

      The two versions I offered for the song Bodang Buck were so similar that I'm not surprised by the narrow margin of the outcome.   Some of you suggested that you couldn't explain why you chose the version you did, but if it wasn't a matter of a coin toss or some other such decision making process, I guess it was just a matter of which one sounded better at the time you listened to it.

      Since I have a history with this McGuinness Flint tune from having owned the album back in the 70's (and still having it in my collection), their version has been ingrained in my mind.  The McGuinness Flint album is a long time favorite of mine.  It has some fine tunes and the band has a good sound.  So that's where my vote goes.  Jonny Young Four did a great job with the song, but I prefer the instrumentation and subtler vocals of the Flint version.

Final Voting Results:

Jonny Young Four       10

McGuinness Flint         14

      My next Battle of the Bands post will be on Tuesday September 1 and will be combined with that month's Insecure Writer's Support Group post.    However I'll have at least one post next week so I hope you stop by for that or those whichever the case may be.

      Does anyone else share my frustration about bloggers who won't cross blogging platforms to leave comments?   If you've ever unsubscribed from a blog, why did you do it?   How was your summer?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Bo Dang Buck (BOTB Vacation Version)

       It's time for Battle of the Bands.  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 study in song version comparison. Stephen T McCarthy maintains the participant list and answers your questions about the event--you can find his blog with a 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.

      I'm in a bit of a iffy situation this time around.  I've gone ahead and prepared kind of a simple battle with a song that I like, but one that doesn't have a whole lot of personal significance to me or interesting story value to tell about the artists.   If I'm on proper travel schedule then I should be in Montana or Wyoming when this post goes live and then heading home from there.  A western sounding song seems kind of appropriate.

Jonny Young Four  "Bodang Buck" (1972?)

Jonny Young Four won the Billboard and Record Mirror's 'Top UK Group Award ' three years running in 1972, 1973 and 1974 at the International Festival of Country Music, Wembley, London, England.  I couldn't find much about this group.  This is their cover of the song originally done by the group McGuinness Flint.

McGuinness Flint  "Bodang Buck" (1970)

        "Bodang Buck" was originally written by Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle of McGuinness Flint. and appeared on the group's debut album.   This is by the way a great album well worth checking out.

Time to Vote!

          Okay Buckos, time to do your part.   Which song version do you like the best?   Surely you think one is better than the other even if you don't like the song that much.  Just judge what you hear.  I realize they sound pretty close, but there are some obvious differences.   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

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Cherdo on the Flipside  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Women:  We Shall Overcome  

Book Lover

J. A. Scott  

Quiet Laughter

Results on Friday August 21st

         I'm messing with my scheduling some since this Battle falls on a Saturday and I'm traveling and all.  I'll be home by the middle of next week so I'll tally up any votes I might get on this and announce the winner on Friday August 21st.   Also since this Battle post falls on a Saturday I'm going to forego my Monday post to allow more visitors to find the post on Monday and throughout the week.   Please vote!   Battle of the Bands works better when I have votes to count.  I may be slow making my rounds this week, but I'm going to try my darnedest to come visit all of you.  

          Are you familiar with the song or the artists?   Doing any travelling this summer?   Have you been to Yellowstone?