A to Z 2015

2015 Blogging from A to Z Theme

Blogs--most reading this know what they are, but maybe some of you are not sure what a blog is and have been thinking about starting one. Or perhaps you've been trying to come up with a new thematic idea for your current blog or one that you plan to add. For the 2015 A to Z Challenge I'll be looking at various possible blogging themes as well as a suggestion here or there about blogging better. If you know someone who has been thinking about starting a blog then direct them to my series. Maybe I can help come up with some blogging ideas of interest to them--or to you.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Battle of the Bands: Je Crois Entendre Encore

           Another Blogging from A to Z April Challenge has come to an end.   Some of you are sad to see it end while others are breathing a sigh of relief.   With the end of one month and the arrival of the first of another it's time for another Battle of the Bands, the blogging event first introduced by our friends at Far Away Series and  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.

          After this past frantic month of daily blogging I thought it might be nice to relax with a  piece of slow classical music.   Since this work is in French and by the French composer Georges Bizet I dedicate this Battle to some A to Z'ers who had themes about France this past year or in the previous year.   Some of those bloggers are D.G. Hudson at Rainforest Writing, Forty c'est Fantasique, Evelyne Holingue, and A to Z Co-host Lisa Buie-Collard.  And a special tribute to our Paris loving Battle of the Bands founder Far Away Eyes.  Also I might add that this song is a favorite of mine and my wife.

"Je Crois Entendre Encore"

          Georges Bizet is mostly known for his opera Carmen, but he wrote a few other operas including Les pêcheurs de perles (The Pearl Fishers).  The opera itself was not highly regarded in Bizet's lifetime but has gained more critical acclaim since then.   The beautiful aria featured in my Battle today has been recorded by numerous opera singers and in more recent years has found its way into the repertoires of pop style artists.  I present two of these today.   If you wish you can first listen to the traditional operatic version or you can scroll down to the two contestants of this Battle.

Beniamino Gigli "Je Crois Entendre Encore"  (1925)

       Please don't vote on this one!  I merely offer this version so you can get an idea of how this piece would traditionally sound as performed by an opera singer.  In fact you don't even have to listen to this unless you want to put the other versions in perspective.

Here's Another traditional take:

Salvatore Licitra (from the movie soundtrack The Man Who Cried)
"Je Crois Entendre Encore"  (2000)   DON'T VOTE ON THIS ONE EITHER!  

Keep scrolling past if you don't wish to hear operatic singing.

         The Anglo-French film production The Man Who Cried was released in 2000 to relatively tepid reviews.   "Je Crois Entendre Encore" appears a number of times throughout the course of the film in essence becoming the film's theme song.    This tearjerker film has a cast which includes Christina Ricci, Johnny Depp, Cate Blanchett, and Harry Dean Stanton.  My wife and I both like this film a great deal, mostly because of the song being used throughout as well as the subject matter of Jewish oppression by the Nazis.   This version of the aria is sung in Yiddish.

And now for the real contest:  Vote on these two only please!

      And as an introductory comment,  these versions may seem much the same and they are in over all delivery.  For some of you it might be a matter of a male voice versus a female voice.  However if you listen closely you will hear a very distinct difference in the back up musicians.   I'm taking this into account in making my decision. 

David Gilmour  "Je Crois Entendre Encore"  (2002)

        After I first heard a version of "Je Crois Entendre Encore" on the local public radio station I was so enthralled that I went to Amazon to seek out a recording of the song.  What I'd heard on radio was an operatic singer with piano accompaniment.   I was surprised when the first version I came across on Amazon was by David Gilmour, guitarist and vocalist of Pink Floyd.  The song appears on his DVD David Gilmour In Concert.  If you're a fan of Gilmour or Pink Floyd this is well worth seeking out.  It's an outstanding release.  My wife absolutely loves the way he performs the Bizet aria.  She's never watched the complete concert, but we've watched this one song dozens of times.   See what you think.

Alison Moyet  "Je Crois Entendre Encore"  (2004)

         This marks the second appearance on Tossing It Out by Alison Moyet who previously was featured with her version of Almost Blue.  That was probably my least visited Battle with only 12 total votes and Alison only received one of those votes and that came from me, but that's no indication of how I'll vote in this current Battle.  Since I have this one on CD I always bring it along on lengthy road trips and my wife has me play this one repeatedly.   Actually since she likes just about every song on this album we usually listen to the entire album at least a few times with some extra listens of "Je Crois Entendre Encore."     Take a listen and you be the judge as to how Moyet compares with Gilmour.

Time to Vote!

     Which do you prefer?  David Gilmour?  Alison Moyet?   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 one 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



DC Relief Battle of the Bands

Shady Dell Music and Memories    (a new participant!)

Results on May 8th

        Get the final vote tally on my post of Friday May 8th. My A to Z Reflections post will go up on Monday May 4th. For information about that post be sure to visit the A to Z Challenge Blog. Then on Wednesday I'll be participating in another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. You can vote on today's Battle of the Bands post until Thursday May 7th which will be when I make my final vote tally. Please vote!

        Were you previously familiar with this song? Have you heard Bizet's opera Carmen? Are you surprised to hear David Gilmour performing an operatic aria in concert?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Zoology (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

     Zombies seem like a natural blog theme since there is so much popularity in this genre, but Zoology might be an even better topic.  The photo opportunities are endless and nearly everyone enjoys seeing animals and learning about their behavior.

     Since there are zoos throughout the world, just focusing on different zoos offers a wealth of material that can keep a blog going for a long time.  Even concentrating on one large zoo you will never run out of information and news about that one location.  The famous San Diego Zoo has several blogs affiliated with it (see link below), but there's no reason why anyone else couldn't step in with their own blog on this zoo or some other well known zoo.

      The final letter of the alphabet might be limiting as far as number of themes you can use, but zoology is virtually unlimited in its range.  For that matter, a blogger can certainly go a long way using zombies as a theme.

Some Zoology Blogs:

Animal Bliss

San Diego Zoo Blogs

Bizarre Zoology

Still on the Track

Wild Woman's Wolfpack

 Now that We've Reached Z End?

      What's next?

A to Z Reflections Post

       The A to Z Reflections Post is a tradition that began after the first 2010 Challenge.  This is the time when you tell about your experiences with the Challenge, share blogs that you found particularly interesting, and register your complaints or compliments about A to Z.   You can tell us all about the good as well as the bad.  The Reflections Post Linky List will go up on Monday May 4th.   You can put up your reflections post anytime after the Challenge is over up until Friday May 8th and then after the List has gone live you add the link leading directly to your Reflections post.   That's important so I hope you're paying attention.   The Reflection Post Linky List links need to lead directly to your Reflections post and not to your general blog URL.

One More Thing!

       Also, if you've survived the 2015 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge why not order a t-shirt to let everyone know about your accomplishment!   T-shirt worthy warm weather is upon us and you can start some conversation about your blogging at your summer outings or while just out and about.  Become a walking A to Z Challenge billboard and provide an opening to talk about your own blog.   You might get some new readers while you're at it!

        To order your A to Z Survivor Tee visit A to Z Challenge Survivor.  


A to Z!!   What a challenge it has been!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

You (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

        Blogging about yourself can be a risky endeavor if you are looking for a far-reaching long-lasting audience.  All-about-me blogging can be a bore to many readers if not handled in an interesting manner and sometimes self-revelation is not the best thing for you to be doing in relation to your professional life and personal privacy.

         What I'm talking about is not memoir blogging or professional profile blogging, but more of a public peek into your private diary or your state of mind.  Some of the blogs of this nature that I've read can be intriguing if not a bit discomfiting.  There can be a titillating soap opera nature of such a blog, but after a while such a blog can seem to be going nowhere slowly.

          Still, blogging about yourself can have potential if done correctly.  My advice would be to devise some sort of purpose to what you are trying to achieve with your personal blog.  Also I think in order to keep others interested you must find a way to connect with readers to make your own experience relatable to theirs.   If the reader doesn't get what you are saying then you are likely to lose them fairly quickly.

         A blog about you can work, but my suggestion is to proceed with caution, keep track of your audience, and be ready to change if you see the blog isn't working.

         How much about yourself are you willing to disclose on your blog?   Do you feel uncomfortable or intrigued when a blogger starts discussing very personal issues?    Do you think egocentric blogs are overly indulgent?

Blogging about self:

Laughing at Life, 2 (about self during A to Z)

Kay Gets Crafty (also an A to Z me theme)

Klahanie Blog

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X-Files (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

         Certain popular television shows as well as movies and other pop movements with cult followings can make for interesting blogging that can reap a number of followers.  Much like the membership base of fan clubs, a popular culture blog can tap into a ready made audience of those interested in whatever topic is being followed.

        The X-Files certainly fits into this category with television shows, movies, books, and other merchandising available to fans around the world.   With the announcement by Fox Entertainment of new X-File episodes returning to the air there is a revived interest in the series.   This X-Files revival provides an opening for new blog opportunities for anyone with a strong interest in the series or inside knowledge about the behind the scenes production scoops.

          Fan blogs like the ones centered on The X-Files can likewise be found about topics as diverse as Star Trek, Game of Thrones, soap operas, reality shows, and many other popular shows, movies, and published entertainment franchises.

          Are you an X-Files fan?   Do you keep up with any fan blogs?   If you were considering your own fan blog what topic might you consider?  

Blogs that may or may not be about the X-Files:

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part (X-Files is her A to Z Theme)

My Truth...An X-Files Blog

The X-Files Lexicon Blog