The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Time for #BOTB Results

        Life is like a battle between us and the clock.  Or in the bigger picture, a battle against the calendar.

       Once again I'm taking on the daunting Alphabet Challenge of April   I revealed my theme officially here, but some of you might have guessed my theme from my recent Battle of the Bands post.  Yes, it is about time.  Isn't everything?

Battle of the Bands Results

       This latest Battle was between Fleetwood Mac's "Sands of Time" and Alan Parson Project's "Time"--both excellent songs which I like very much.  Of the two, I see "Time" by APP as the more linear song.  It moves steadily, barely deviating, with a constant flowing theme that begins and ends without much in the way of surprises or invested thought for that matter.  This is such a relaxing tune that it lends itself well to meditation or even preparation for sleep.  It might even make for a lovely song to play at a funeral.

        On the other hand, Mac's "Sands of Time" wanders and meanders in a good way. There is a sense of hope expressed in the lyrics, but also an ambiguity that invites anticipation of things to come.  The thoughts expressed are not definitive, resigned to giving into death, but mystical and magical.  The instrumental portions add an edgy sense with drifting guitar riffs that seem to simulate imagination and dreams.  I love this song--which is not to say that I don't like the other song a great deal--but my preference definitely leans toward the Danny Kirwan penned "Sands of Time".   This song has been playing in my mind all week which is another strong indicator of where my vote gets cast in the end.

        Nevertheless, you the voters decided the outcome no matter what my favorite version is.  And the outcome in this case was very decisive:

Final Vote Tally

Fleetwood Mac                  11

Alan Parsons Project        22

Next Battle of the Bands Saturday April 1st

        My next Battle of the Bands post will coincide with the opening day of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  My A to Z theme of "time" will not only encompass my posts for the upcoming month, but this theme will continue in my next few posts leading up to April.  My Battle of the Bands posts during A to Z month will also be related to time.  In fact, the next BOTB match that I'll be presenting is a movie theme that was also a top pop hit in 1969.  The song is a great introductory tribute for those participating in the A to Z Challenge and one that will likely bring back a few memories for many of us.  Anyone want to guess what song I'll be presenting?

        Was my A to Z theme of "Time" any surprise?   Did you find any A to Z themes in the recent Reveal day that particularly interested you?   Are there any aspects of time that you'd like for me to cover during my A to Z Challenge?  

Monday, March 20, 2017

Theme Reveal #AtoZChallenge: It's About Time

       Once again it's time for the official A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal.   This is the time when those participating in the upcoming 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge will reveal their themes for the month or, if there is no theme, provide us with a preview of what to expect next month on their blog.   What follows is my story and my plan...

A Theme Evolving

       Prior to last years 2016 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge I already had a few themes considered for that year.   But as plans often go, those old ideas got pushed to future years and I came up with my 2016 theme of Manhattan in January of that year. Then later, after the April Challenge had ended, not only did I still have those old ideas in my queue, I had come up with a couple more along the way during April.  I've found that in blogging I'm often inspired by posts by other bloggers that will give me ideas for posts for my own.  Which, incidentally, is a good thing for any of you to keep in mind if you sometimes find yourself lacking in inspiration for ideas to write about.

        During the course of the year that followed the 2016 Challenge, I wavered between this idea or that, all the while writing down particularly good ideas to be stored in my blogging queue.  Come January of 2017 I was pretty well settled on an idea, but within a matter of weeks changed my mind.  As the approach to each of my Aprils has been since first beginning to do the A to Z Challenge, my mind becomes focused on thematic concepts and the words that might alphabetically fit those themes.  A to Z has become a way of conceptualization when I think in context of blogging or writing ideas.  A bit of a fixation one might presume, but I'd prefer to see this thinking as inspiration with organization of thought.

          I guess I've developed a bit of an A to Z brain!

My 2017 A to Z Theme

        My theme is a natural since it is something that we all think about and thereby to which we can all easily relate.  It's About Time--my theme that is.  I'm officially calling my April theme "It's About Time" which also is my own declaration of having come to that decision.   So many themes from which to choose and this one comes to me will having lunch one day.  You can read that story in my recent Battle of the Bands post, which I'd encourage you to read and vote on if you haven't done so already.

        Just think about all the times you yourself speculate or worry about time.  Our lives revolve around time scheduling.  We often keep an eye on our watches when something goes on longer than we'd like or revel how quickly time flew when we've been having a great time.  Without time, especially in our often rapid-paced and highly scheduled society, our lives would be in near chaos. Communal activities would never get organized and we would continuously be late. Of course without time the concept of lateness would not particularly be relevant, but neither would the idea of being on schedule.

        Our world and each of our lives thrives according to time.  We have days of births as well as all of the other special days of our lives.  Why, heck, we have days period!  Without the definition and management of time we wouldn't have days, weeks, months, or years.  Aside from the essentials of existence like air to breathe, liquids to drink, and food to eat, time is one of the primary forces that gives us our humanity--our ability to reason and plan for our futures.  Or for that matter remember our past in more than just random images.  Time is a reality of this world and time is the measurement that helps up organize the realities we encounter in life.

          There's so much to write about the topic of time and it would take a lot of time to write about everything regarding time.  I will barely touch upon all that time is, but in 26 days during April I'll try to cover a few thoughts that interest me most.  Though time can serve us, time will always be our master.  In April of 2017, "Time" will be the master of my A to Z Theme.

            If you've decided to participate in the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge and would like to reveal your theme or, if you don't necessarily have a theme, you can tell us about your plans, goals, or impressions about April by putting up your own Theme Reveal post.  You can link to your post on Twitter using hashtag #atozchallenge, or you can post on the A to Z Facebook page, or leave your link in my comment section today, or visit the A to Z Blog to leave your link.   Or you can do all of these things and whatever else you can think of to promote your post.  Today will be essentially a test run for the social media linking we'll be doing in April and this will perhaps give us some idea of the success of the method as well was provide some indicators of strengths and weakness.   

           Give it a try to see how it works for you.   And check all the aforementioned sites to see who else is posting their own Theme Reveals.  This can work, but it is up to you bloggers to make it work!

           Have you found any other Theme Reveals so far and if so how did you find them?   What have been some favorite 2017 A to Z themes that you've found so far?  Are there any particular aspects of "Time" that you think I should cover during April? 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

It's About Time (#BOTB)

        God created everything except that man created the artificial construct we know as "time."  And as though that weren't enough, government stepped in and created Daylight Savings Time.  If it were up to government, they would meddle with all of God's creation and screw up everything.  Hmm--come to think of it......--said by me after the time changed. 

English: The Clocktower, West Parade, Bexhill,...
 The Clocktower, West Parade, Bexhill, Sussex
. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Linear versus Nonlinear Time
      There are many variants concerning what time is and how it is comprised, but generally speaking I think most of us commonly think of time as being linear; that is a series of events or points in a line that presumably have a starting point somewhere in the past, continuing to where we are in the present, and heading to some point in a future.  Then there is nonlinear time which is the impression of time cumulatively as viewed from a far vantage point.

        Scientist/theologian Chuck Missler provides what I think is an excellent analogy of the two ways of viewing time.  He says to think of a parade.  If you are sitting curbside watching the parade pass by then that would be like experiencing linear time.  The past is represented by the part of the parade that has already passed by your vantage point, while the present is that fleeting part of the parade that is immediately in front of you soon to enter into the past.  The future is that part of the parade that is still to come.

        To view the parade from the nonlinear aspect, you might think of yourself hovering high above in a helicopter from which vantage point you are able to see the entirety of the parade from the staging area, then winding through the streets below, and finally dispersing at the end of the parade route.  Missler reasons that this nonlinear view is how God would view the time line while we humans are limited to merely experiencing the passage of linear time.

         The linear view has immediacy and greater subjective meaning to a viewer while the nonlinear view is more impressionistic where the spectator has no direct connection to singular parade parts, but instead a feel for the entire parade all at the same time.

          My Battle of the Bands offering this time around represents to me two distinct ways of assessing time:  linear and nonlinear.  See if you agree and more importantly, let us know which song you like best...

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.

This Time Battle

        This Battle came upon me just a couple weeks ago as my wife and I were eating lunch at the Sizzler Steak Restaurant near our house.  As we dined, the background music being piped in seemed to be primarily deep tracks from the seventies so that made for a pleasant dining experience for me since that is a musical era that I particularly enjoy.  My attention perked when I heard a familiar old Fleetwood Mac song begin playing and it was not long before a Battle was born, pushing all of my other Battle songs in my line-up to some indefinable future time.  Not only did hearing this song change my schedule for Battle of the Bands, it influenced the topic of my current series--"It's About Time".  

        Funny how things like that can happen when you're just sitting one afternoon eating a steak dinner while a life soundtrack provided courtesy of the dining establishment plays in the background.  And to think my wife and I went there on a last minute whim.  We hadn't been to that restaurant in many months.   And that song was just waiting there to happen to me at that one particular moment in time...

Fleetwood Mac  "Sands of Time"  (1971)

        "Sands of Time" is one of my favorite Fleetwood Mac songs from the 1971 album Future Games, which I would call my favorite album by the group and consider perhaps their best.  Though the later addition of the team of Buckingham/Nicks certainly added a greater commercial appeal to the group, I tend to prefer the songs that came from the teaming of Danny Kirwan, Bob Welch, and Christine McVie.  Kirwan lasted about five tumultuous years with Fleetwood Mac until his mental disorders forced his removal from the group--another one of those sad troubled rock and roll genius stories.

         The Kirwan penned "Sands of Time" is a wonderful piece of music with somewhat confusing disjointed lyrics that might be a reflection of his mental state of the time.  There is no precise focus to the song which to me might represent a more non-linear way to view time.  The message depicts a dichotomy between dark and light, apprehension and hope. The final destination is "the sea" without any precise indication of what will be waiting there, but there seems to be an expectation that something good might happen when that sea destination is reached.   The music wafts and rolls fading smoothly in and out, almost with a jazzy feel...

Alan Parsons Project "Time"  (1980)

          Alan Parsons Project was certainly more of a project than any actual band.  Consisting of the core members Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson and a parade of guest musicians and regular sidemen, the group cycled through a number of concept albums starting in 1976.  Sometimes mistaken for a song by Pink Floyd, the beautiful "Time" sounds like it could have been pulled off of Dark Side of the Moon.  This song is about as laid back as music can get.  Truly wonderful stuff.
      Though I can easily say that "Eye in the Sky" is my favorite song by The Project, "Time" is right up there among my favorite songs by the group.   Dreamy and relaxing, "Time" expresses a more linear view of time with the narrator suggesting a sense of resignation as he drifts from the present to eventual death.   As in the Mac song, the ultimate destination is the sea.   In the Parsons song the "sea" of "Time" is an ambiguous eternity...

Time To Vote!

        I hope you have time to vote!   And hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  Which version do you like the best?   To me it's a somewhat tough choice, but how do you feel about it?

        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  

Cherdo on the Flipside  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Winner Announced on Wednesday March 22nd

         On Monday March 20th I'll be revealing my theme for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge---yes, it's that time already.  Funny how time slips away.  Then on Wednesday I'll be back with the results of this current Battle.   Who will win?  Hope you help decide with your vote.

          Do you consider time to be a dimension?   What is your favorite combination of artists who comprised Fleetwood Mac?   Thinking of concept albums such as those recorded by Alan Parsons Project, do you have a favorite?