Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Time". The posts will be more philosophical, contemplative, and even autobiographical than instructional. No time management tips planned, but you never know with A to Z.

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


Monday, May 22, 2017

The Cigar of Vengeance (#BOTB Results)

        It always seems a bit weird to try to hurt someone else by hurting ourselves.   But sometimes what hurts us seems to hurt so good.

Have a Cigar
Have a Cigar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Cigar of Vengeance

        In my previous post I told the story about how my mother got revenge on my father by smoking a cigar.  The irony to the story is that my father wouldn't have known that she was smoking the cigar at the time and likely never knew it happened.  My mother was angry at my father and did something that she knew he wouldn't have liked even though he had no idea that she was doing it.  Unless she told him later, it's likely that my father never knew that my mother had smoked that cigar.

         Years later I asked my mother about the incident.  She told me that my father had gone to Las Vegas with a friend of his who she didn't like because she thought he was a bad influence.  Besides, my mother didn't like the idea of being left at home with two young children when he was out having a fun trip.  They were both fairly young at the time having been only married about five years.  Bottom line though is that she was jealous.

          When my parents were still dating my mother was a cigarette smoker.  My father abhorred that practice and made it clear that he would not marry my mother as long as she was a cigarette smoker.  She quit and they got married.  When the Las Vegas incident came about, my mother found a cigar that had been given to my father in celebration of a baby's birth.   To her, smoking that cigar would have pissed my father off though it was not an act that she wanted to blatantly flaunt in front of him.  So I guess she smoked it in some sort of clandestine retribution for his leaving.

           In some ways this does seem a bit odd, but many years later it was something to which I could somewhat relate.  Perhaps taking after my father, I entered adulthood with an abhorrence of tobacco smoke.  Many of my friends smoked and though I tolerated it, I hated it and often let my feelings be known.  Then I met my first wife who was--at least in my view--a rather heavy smoker.  I begrudgingly accepted her habit because, well, because I loved her.  But her smoking was often a source of contention between us.

          Eventually there were so many differences between us that we parted ways--an idea that was more hers than mine.  Strangely, and perhaps not so coincidentally, one of her best friends had split with her husband shortly before our split.  They also had the problem of her being a smoker and her husband being an anti-smoker like myself.  After my wife and I split, I moved in with this guy and to my shock I discovered that he had taken up the habit of smoking.  Soon I too was smoking right along with him, acquiring a two pack a day habit in the process.  I guess our vengeance on our exes was taking up the vice that we disliked most about them.

          Sometimes smoking that big old fat smelly cigar of vengeance is just what it takes to prove a point.   What that point is I don't really know.   I'm not sure about my old roommate, but I took my cigarette habit into my next marriage to another woman who smoked and we both remained heavy smokers for a couple years into our marriage until she became pregnant and we both quit. Both of us quit cold turkey and that was it.  At least until another bout of vengeance reared it's ugly butt.  But that's another story for another day.  So have a cigar, cigarette, or whatever it is you're smoking.

Battle of the Bands Results

       My vote in this Battle between two versions of "Have a Cigar" by Pink Floyd goes to the disco psychedelic take by Little Virgin Experience.  Even though I'm a big fan of acoustic versions of big rock songs, the drive of the pulsating rhythm of Little Virgin captured my heart and I'm almost always a sucker for psychedelic music.   Acoustic jams take me back to the days when my friends would gather with their instruments and play a song into oblivion.  Fun, but no cigar after about fifteen minutes of riffing on the same song.

       The voters had a different opinion as they bestowed an early lead on Atlantis Becoming keeping them in an ever rapidly growing lead to which Little Virgin could never catch up with.  The outcome was very decisive giving the acoustic jam boys a victory in this Battle.

Final Vote Tally

Atlantis Becoming              20 votes

Little Virgin Experience      8 votes

Next Battle of the Bands on Thursday June 1st

       I'll likely have one or two posts prior to the June 1st Battle, but that Thursday Battle is a cinch to happen.  This upcoming Battle will begin my summer posting schedule and the song I'll be choosing will be a older popular standard that is about a beginning.   And though the song might be old, I'll be using versions by more contemporary artists that all of you should know.  These performances might even surprise some of you.  Stay tuned!

        Have you ever tried to get revenge on someone by doing something that was harmful to yourself?   Have you ever been a smoker?    What was it that caused you to first start a bad habit?        


Monday, May 15, 2017

Have A Cigar (#BOTB)

          There's nothing like a big fat cigar to bring folks together.  Cigar smoke is guaranteed to put everyone in a celebratory mood.  Or some kind of a mood.

1890s caricature of athletic bloomers
1890s caricature of athletic bloomers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Have A Cigar, Mom!

         The A to Z Reflections have been delivered on many sites and I'm offering a hearty congratulations and a big fat cigar to all of you who finished the 2017 Blogging from A to Z Challenge.   And while I'm at it let me wish all you mothers a belated Happy Mother's Day and hand you a big ol' cigar as well.

         A cigar for mothers you might ask?   Some of you might think of cigars as kind of nasty and nothing that any mother should be smoking.   I've never been a cigar smoker although on a few occasions I've tried smoking a stogie when one has been given to me.  I don't think I've ever finished one, but I probably wasn't smoking them like they're meant to be smoked.  They are kind of nasty in my opinion, but maybe they are an acquired taste.

         When I think of cigars I'll think back on the time when my mother was smoking a cigar.  This would been around 1955 or so when I was about four or five years old.  My younger sister and I were both quite concerned when we found my mother very upset and crying because my father had left on a trip to Las Vegas with a friend of his.  We kids began crying along with my mother because we were worried about her and afraid that my father was gone for good.

          My mother's tears turned to anger and later we found my mother doing something that baffled us and at the same time amused us greatly--she was smoking a cigar.  Our fears vanished in a cloud of smoke so to speak.  My sister and I giggled with glee at the spectacle of our mother smoking a cigar.  Soon my mother was laughing too.  Her anger hadn't completely gone away, but she softened at our giggles and began blowing smoke rings.  Her skill at blowing the rings amazed us and she played her cigar smoking role with all she had to give.  It was one of those funny life moments that has stuck with me ever since.

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.

Have A Cigar

         From Pink Floyd's 1975 album Wish You Were Here, "Have A Cigar" has many cover versions.  You can listen to the original here if interested, but please don't vote on this version since I won't count it in my final tally.  No voting for Ron Paul either.

          Instead I'm offering the following two contrasting versions:

Atlantis Becoming  "Have A Cigar"    (2012)

         First we have an acoustic version by a Cincinnati, Ohio rock band.

Little Virgin Experience  "Have A Cigar"  (2014)

        Next a band from Crete performing their psychedelic disco take in the style of the 1979 cover as originally released by the band Rosebud.

Time To Vote!

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 acoustic sound of Atlantis Becoming?  Or would you rather rock out to the beat of Little Virgin Experience?     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 

Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday May 22nd

         The BOTB results post will be my next post so that gives us all week to vote on this Battle, but please don't tarry and vote now if you can.  I'll be tallying the votes in the upcoming weekend.  

           Have you ever smoked a cigar?  Did you ever know anyone to smoke a cigar as an expression of anger?   Anyone know how the tradition of handing out cigars at the birth of a baby got started?  

Monday, May 8, 2017

Reflections of 2017 A to Z (#atozchallenge) & #BOTB results

Reflections of the 2017 A to Z Challenge

        There's not that much to be said for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge that I haven't said in the Reflections posts of previous years.  Most of what was said in those posts still holds true.  The guiding principles of social blogging still hold true:  Leave comments to receive comments and make every attempt to keep things interesting in your posts.

           My theme of  It's About Time was one of my favorites to ponder and write the posts about.  The subject matter was interesting to me and seemed of interest to most readers who left comments for me.   I enjoyed the philosophical aspect of each letter topic and I didn't have to spend too much time researching my posts.  

          Though as is usually the case I didn't get to visit as many blogs as I would have liked, I made new blog discoveries as well as appreciated the blogs of old and newer friends.  The array of subjects covered during April with the added bonus of so much fine writing and creativity made blog reading a joy during the entire month.

           Personally I had no problem finding blogs to read through reciprocating my comments and practicing the other methods that have been oft repeated on the A to Z Blog and elsewhere.  In other words, I stayed busy visiting blogs and never got around to as many as I could have.  Not having the Linky List was okay with me and its absence meant that 2017 was the most relaxing unstressful Challenge ever.  

            I didn't miss the list albeit I did create my own link list (found here) mostly for my own curiosity to see how many participants I could compile.  I know I fell way short so I don't have any clear idea of how many A to Z participants there actually were this year.  For that matter, I'm not even sure if all of the links I listed continued participating from beginning to end because I wasn't using my own list.  However, my list was there for anyone to use.  Sorry if I didn't list your blog--it wasn't for any reason other than once April started I stopped trying to add to that list.

         So, the bottom line for me is that 2017 was a successful year of Challenge from all that I could see.  I enjoyed myself and had fun with it.  And it seemed many of you did as well.  There's not much more that I could ask for--other than having the kind of A to Z Challenges that I've described in previous Reflections posts and I leave it to you to research if you want to know more about that.

        Did you use the link list that I compiled on my site?   Did you miss having the A to Z Twitter Chats?   Would you be interested in being a part of the 2018 A to Z Team?

Battle of the Bands Results

       My previous Battle of the Bands matched two versions of the Crowded House song "Don't Dream It's Over" as performed by Diana Krall and the duo of Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande.  The outcome in this one did surprise me a bit after some of the flak I got when I posted other battles with Justin Bieber.   I kind of figured that there would be enough Miley Cyrus "hate" to steer voters toward the Diana Krall version.  But as I was already aware there are plenty out there who aren't big Diana Krall fans either.

        In my opinion both Cyrus and Grande are immensely talented young singers.  I thought their version was very well performed even with the goofing off in the instrumental break and the goofy attire.  I enjoyed their performance and thought their voices worked very well together.  I liked their version and that's why I used it.

         I happen to like Diana Krall and the addition of the string ensemble capped this performance off for me to the point that this is where my vote went.  I agree with those who pointed out the rough quality of her vocals and that caught my attention as well.  The vocal flaws of the live performance are especially apparent when you compare her studio version of the song, but I thought the imperfection added a depth of feeling to this performance and I was okay with it.

         The duo looked like it would take the win with a much larger lead for a while, but some later Krall votes came in to make for a better showing.  Not a bad contest in the final tally.

Final Vote Tally

Miley/Ariana                13 votes

Diana Krall                  11 votes

Next Battle on Monday May 15th

        I'll be trying to catch all the Reflections posts in the upcoming week so I won't be posting anything until my next Battle of the Bands on Monday May 15th.   Hope to see you then.   Not sure what song I'll be using so no clues since I don't have a clue.