Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Under the Milky Way (#IWSG) & ( #BOTB )

Insecure Writer's Support Group
        We start the second half of 2015 with the first Wednesday falling on the first day of the month of July which as you probably know means it's time again for another edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the monthly event hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. This is the time when writers from all over the globe discuss writing and all of the conflicting good and bad feelings that come with the pursuit of the literary arts. This is a forum for commiseration and encouragement. Maybe things aren't going quite like you'd like or maybe you're a bit nervous about what the future holds. You might even be riding the high horse of success and feel like you're winning the race. Whatever your circumstance join us and tell us what you're thinking.  When you finish with this portion of my post please continue on to vote on my Battle of the Bands post which you'll find on down the page.

Nothing New Under the Milky Way

        As I'd indicated in my last #IWSG post,  I've cut back for the summer as far as blogging and possibly for much else in the way of writing.  Not many current writing insecurities at the moment.   On the other hand the recurring thought at the back of my mind about whether I've got original ideas always tends to pop up now and then.   Even this topic of originality seems like one I've done before or read on someone else's blog or possible both of these.  

         That's okay though.  I don't know how many movies I've seen, books I've read, songs I've heard, or blog posts that I've composed seem vaguely familiar if not outright "been there done that."  Originality is not all that original and everything is derivative of something that came before it.  If this were not the case we probably wouldn't understand or even appreciate that totally new experience.  As someone much wiser than I once said:
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.------Ecclesiastes 1:9
        Or to adapt that saying to my theme today: There is nothing new under the Milky Way.  Since our sun is just one of a whole bunch of stars in our galaxy, that rephrasing makes the concept all the bigger.   So I guess I'm not going to worry much about the concept of absolute originality.    I'll just try to formulate that old idea that pops into my head into my own style and inject as much me into it as I can.   


Battle of the Bands

          Sultry summer days are here for many of us in the Northern Hemisphere and for those of us with unobstructed skies we may gaze up through the expanse of the Milky Way to wonder what's next for this small planet of ours.   
        One thing that is now is another Battle of the Bands.  It's July 1st, so since this event happens on the 1st and 15th of each month let's have some music fun and education.   As I mentioned in my May 22nd post, this event has become a favorite of mine.   We have Far Away Eyes at Far Away Series  to thank for conceiving this homage to music.  Stephen T McCarthy carried on from there and now has some of the list of participants at  StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands More participants can be found on my page and maybe even elsewhere.  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 Battles to vote on.

Under the Milky Way

      If I were to compile a top 500 list of my favorite songs of all time, "Under the Milky Way" would undoubtedly fit somewhere on that list.   I'm not sure how high I'd rank it since I'd need to start compiling that list and this would probably take some time.  In fact, if I were doing a Soundtrack of My Life series like Robin at Your Daily Dose has been doing, I'd probably consider this song to be one of my picks.

       This is one of those songs where I remember when I first heard it on the radio.   The song really grabbed me and as soon as I made it to a record store I bought the cassette album that the song came from.  Now not only is the song a favorite, I would probably list the band that originally recorded it--The Church--as one of my favorite bands.  They've done some great music as far as my taste goes.  If you would like to hear the original version of the song you can click here, but please don't vote on this version.

        I had no idea how many artists had covered this song until I started exploring YouTube.  There are some outstanding versions to be found so it was a tough selection for me.  I finally narrowed the choices down to two that I found to be particularly interesting.

Here are the versions for today's Battle:

Sia  "Under the Milky Way"  (2010)

         Sia has been a popular multi-award winning artist over the past several years with hits like "Titanium" and "Chandelier".   Like the band The Church, Sia comes from Australia.

 Jimmy Little "Under the Milky Way Tonight"  (1999)

         Also from Australia, Jimmy Little cites Nat King Cole and country music artist Jim Reeves as his major influences--interesting combination.  Jimmy Little died in 2012 at age 75.    In 2005 Little told Peter Thompson, on the ABC-TV program Talking Heads, how he would like to be remembered, "I just want people to remember me as a nice person who was fair-minded and had a bit of talent that put it to good use."[4] (cited from Wikipedia).  

Time to Vote!

        Come on and join the fun! Please don't try to use the excuse that you don't like the music or you don't know the song.   You don't have to like the music. Just let us know which version you prefer? 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 version you chose (or which one was the least bad 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  

Book Lover

J. A. Scott  

Holli's Hoots and Hollers

Results on Monday July 6th

         I'm going to cut the lead time to the winner announcement short this time around. You'll get the final vote tally for this Battle on my post of Monday July 6th. You can vote on today's Battle of the Bands post until Sunday July 5th which will be when I make my final vote count. Please vote!

        Did you ever come up with an idea that you thought was completely original only to find that something like it had already been done before?   Do you ever do a Google search for your ideas to see how original they are?    Are you a fan of the song "Under the Milky Way" and/or the group The Church?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Playing Favorites (A Monday Post)

English: Extreme points of the contiguous Unit...
English: Extreme points of the contiguous United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My Least Favorite State

         Years ago, before I started my show biz road career, if you would have asked me to name my least favorite state of the USA, I probably could have readily come up with an answer.  Now that I've spent a fair amount of time in all of the 48 contiguous states I couldn't come up with an easy answer.  Sure, there are states that I might readily name as favorites, but when I start thinking of some that I might name as a least favorite, I begin thinking of things that I like about each of them.

         Call me a fan of the United States because I am.  Everywhere I go in this wonderful country I can find something of interest or something that I particularly like.  I guess if I were really pressed to answer the question I would have to say the state that I like least is the state of unhappiness.

         Despite its shortcomings, the United States of America is a nice place to visit and I'm happy that I live here.

Travel Day

         I'm keeping this post somewhat generic because if things are going according to plan I'm traveling today.   My wife is staying behind in Houston as I continue traveling by myself heading for a couple week stay in Tennessee and then on to New Jersey with some stops in between.  My wife will join me in New Jersey in August so we can make our way back home.   Since I'm traveling I may not make it online today so I don't want to create much in the way of discussion.

          What I do want to say is be sure to visit my site this Wednesday which is July 1st.  Being the first of the month means that it's a Battle of the Bands post and being the first Wednesday of the month it's also Insecure Writer's Support Group Day.  As I do whenever these events fall on the same day is tie them together into one hopefully clever post.

          This time around, my theme will be highlighted by one of my favorite songs.  What I consider to be one of my favorite songs might seem like an odd choice to some, but those who visit my BOTB posts regularly know that I can sometimes show what some have thought to be odd tastes.  On the other hand maybe you like this song as well.   I was surprised to find that it had been covered by so many artists so obviously I'm not the only one who thinks it to be a great song.

           Come back on Wednesday to hear two great versions of...'ll have to find out then cause I ain't tellin' now.   But I'll provide a clue:   This late 80's release was sung by an "institution" or an "organization" and the topic of the song has to do with space.

           Any guesses about the song in my next Battle?  Do you have a least favorite state in the United States?   If so what about that state do you dislike?


Monday, June 22, 2015

Fear of Frying

Fried chicken with french fries
Fried chicken with french fries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

          As you read this I should hopefully be in Houston, Texas.   I drove.  It's not that that I have a fear of flying or anything like that.  I just don't like to fly with air transportation being like it is now. And driving the open road is something I enjoy doing.  Sure, it takes longer, but I don't mind.  Road trips are fun.

          If you're thinking my blog post title has a typo, it doesn't.  This post is not really about flying, but it's about frying.   No, I'm not turning Japanese--at least I don't really think so.  It's summer and I'm concerned about frying in the heat.

         Of course in a humid place like Houston I might be experiencing simmering rather than frying, but I always have some expectations of hot weather in the summer.  I'm not a big fan of hot weather which is one advantage to living in Los Angeles.  Oh, we do get some hot weather, but it's not often miserably hot night and day like it can get in the southeast United States.

        Since I'm composing this post a couple weeks in advance I don't really know what the exact weather will be like, but usually it does get warm.  I haven't heard about any cold wave coming to us this summer and besides since we're in the midst of global warming I guess hot weather is in the forecast.

         Frying fears not only apply to the weather but to our food as well.  I love fried foods of all kinds.  I often regret that fried seafood platter or fried whatever after I eaten it, but it's so good while I'm eating it.  Maybe we won't have to worry about eating fried food eventually since the government will probably ban it along with anything else they might think is bad for us.  Pretty soon we won't get to eat anything with salt or sugar added or anything fried.  No french fries, chips, sodas, alcoholic beverages, meat, or anything Big Brother (or Sister) thinks is bad for our health.

        Horror of horrors!  We may soon be only allowed to eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains.  Nothing processed, everything fresh.  Good-bye McDonald's and Taco Bell.   Hello Farmer's Market.   I wonder if the Farmers' Markets will start having drive throughs.

          Do you try to avoid flying?   Do you like fried foods?   Do you think the government should tell us what we can or cannot eat?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Havana No, Houston Si!

English: Photograph of the skyline of Downtown...
The skyline of Downtown Houston, Texas Category:Images of Houston, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not Going To Havana Anytime Soon

         Havana, Cuba may never be an actual travel destination for me, but it is a place that will hold some lure.  Recent rumors that Raul Castro might be returning to the Roman Catholic Church might bode well for the future of the island nation.   With an inevitable passing of the Castro brothers in the years to come or at very least their retirement from government affairs, maybe Cuba will see brighter days ahead and hopefully not continue down the ill-fated road still being traveled by the government of Venezuela.  Hopefully the next decade will see better relations between the United States and the countries of Latin America.   If only the drug cartel activity can be gotten under control, maybe Latin American still has a chance for prosperity not for just the few, but for many.

         Enmity between nations rarely serves any positive benefit.   At times the symbolic gesture can end up with a good result, but usually it is a symbolism that increases misunderstanding between peoples and resolves nothing in the long run.  But countries are really bodies of people with their own opinions and ideologies.  As it is with individuals sometimes it seems better to be right than to be compassionate even though what is right eventually gets lost in ambiguity and self-righteous pride while compassion is passed off as something merely for show.

Houston Here We Come

        Tomorrow I'll be packed up and on the long and winding road to Houston, Texas, land of heat and high humidity.  Hopefully the rains will have moved on--I can only pray that they would make their way to California--and we will avoid any flood problems.   I've got a lot of traveling ahead of me, but that also might mean less time on the computer.

        I've already cut back on my blog posting schedule, but I will attempt to stay as active as I conceivably can, internet willing and the creeks don't rise.  Please don't abandon me and keep commenting on my posts so I know you're there.   If I don't make regular visits to your blog posts I hope you'll understand and I'm sure most of you will.   I'm gonna try as best I can.

           And if you see a metallic cashmere colored Town and Country van flying by you on the highway, give a wave--it might be me.

My planned route over the summer

Battle of the Band Results

      From my standpoint of musical taste, I had two great choices in my Battle of June 15th.   I like both of the versions I presented and either one was worthy of a win.   If you read my most recent post at Wrote By Rote you would have learned about my long appreciation for the traditional music of Cuba.   In some of my past posts on Tossing It Out I have indicated my enjoyment of the modern Spanish rock music.

        This was a match up that was difficult for me to predict which way it would go.   In a sense I'm continuing to put out feelers to see how Latin musical styles will go over in my Battle of the Band segments because I have a number of other Battles planned using Spanish music and particularly Rock en español picks.  Seeing as how I received quite a number of votes on this contest I will proceed in the future with some more of this type of music.  Not for next few Battles mind you, but coming soon.

       Even though I'm a big fan of traditional Cuban music, my pick in this Battle was the version by Caifanes.   I think the group's mastermind Saúl Hernández creates some great music.  His current group Jaguares is one of the best of any rock group in the world according to my personal taste in music.   It's a style of music that I favor a great deal.   However in this most recent Battle I was in the minority of voters.  

         The traditional sound of Compay Segundo won by almost twice as many votes.

The Final Vote Tally:

Compay Segundo           24 Votes

Caifanes                          13 Votes

          Do you think the embargo against Cuba had any positive results?    When is a punitive economic action against another country beneficial?    Will you be discouraged from voting on my Battle of the Bands match-ups if I use Spanish music or music of other countries?