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Friday, January 9, 2015

I Got Something (BOTB Results)


Our House Runneth Over

        Have you ever taken a thorough inventory of your possessions?   If you're like my wife and I, you probably have a ton of material goods that you own with much of it stashed away in closets, sheds, or garages.   A lot of stuff that you neither need nor particularly remember that you even own.

          I've never really bothered to assess everything that's in my house, but in clothes alone I'm sure there's a cumulative investment of many thousands of dollars--and I'm not talking about particularly expensive clothes.   There's just a lot of clothes.  If I could give up all the recorded music, movies, and other media that I own and get the money back that I originally invested in them I would imagine I could pay off our house and have a lot of money left over.   We don't own much in the way of high value items, but we have a ton of crap that has accumulated over the years that adds up to a lot of money spent.

        We've got something and a lot of it.  Yet how much do we need?  And I think we are pretty much exemplary of most households that fit our demographic description.   And yet we both kind of want more in a way, but in another sense we don't.

          The Gershwin Porgy and Bess tune "I Got Plenty o' Nuttin'"  is about not needing material possessions for happiness or security, but enjoying the gifts of people and the blessings of the world around us--the God given gifts of life.  It's a similar philosophy as expressed in the popular song "The Best Things in Life Are Free".   Let's face it, most of the things we buy for ourselves wear out, break, or disappear and will typically lose the value that we invested in them.   It's those intangibles of life, our relationships with other people, and the amazing world all around us that are there for all of us to enjoy.   We don't need much when we've already got everything of true value that makes life most worth living.



I Got Plenty Of Results

          I can't complain about the votes my Battle of the Bands entries got in this recent round (follow the link if you missed the original post).  It was another crazy race with Brian Wilson's version remaining in the lead until right near the end.  Suddenly Tee and Cara swept ahead to win by a narrow margin.  But then Brian Wilson took another vote to bring things to a tie.  It was an exciting race to follow.

          And as it happens with a tie in a BOTB contest, I am left with the deciding vote.  Who do I bestow with the win?

           My love of pop music was nurtured to a great extent by Brian Wilson's group The Beach Boys.  Among the earliest albums I owned were The Beach Boys Concert (1964),  The Beach Boys Today! (1965), and The Beach Boys Party (1965).  I played the heck out of those albums when I was in junior high school and have long admired the genius of Brian Wilson.   I'd never realized that Wilson had released an album of Gershwin tunes until I began compiling candidates for this particular Battle.  What a discovery that was for me!  Two of my musical favorites, George Gershwin and Brian Wilson, on one fantastic album is like a dream come true.  This is an outstanding recording in my estimation.   Wilson's interpretation of "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'" is fun and original and highly enjoyable.

          However, Tee and Cara get my vote in this musical pairing.  It was their recording that inspired this Battle so in essence the Wilson recording was sort of like an afterthought.  I'm a huge fan of the album As They Are and the fact that Tee Sapoff and Cara Beckenstein never recorded anything else as a duo (at least not to my knowledge) is one of the great disappointments of modern music.   They wrote outstanding songs and everything on their album was performed with brilliance.   To think they were essentially kids when they recorded this album leaves us to wonder what they might have created as they gained more musical maturity.

 Final Count

Brian Wilson          15

Tee & Cara             16

      Be sure to be here at Tossing It Out next Thursday January 15th for my next Battle of the Bands entry.  The song I'll be using?  Watch for some hints on my Monday and Wednesday posts. 

Bonus Song!

       Cara Beckenstein continued with her career as a singer and writer after her pairing with Tee Sapoff ended.   I haven't found too much about what she did in the 40 years after recording As They Are, but there is the following recording she made in 2001 based on a children's book she wrote.   Give it a listen if you like and see what you think:



           Did you enjoy Cara Beckenstein's children's song?    What artists do you lament never having recorded more than they did?    Is there anything in your personal inventory of material possessions that you wish you could get your money back for?


43 comments:

  1. Glad you ended up with a lot of votes. (Sorry, I forgot to go back and listen. IWSG day is so insane.)
    We do have a ton of stuff although we go through and ditch items several times a year. We own thousands of CDs and at least half that in movies - I bet I could pay off my neighbor's house as well.

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    1. We make regular visits to Goodwill every few months. The CD's and movies mostly sit there and I rarely listen to them, but I hate to let them go--not yet at least.

      Lee

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  2. I do like the recording :)
    Our biggest need is to get rid of clutter - and I have to quit getting mugs as souvenirs . . .

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    1. We don't buy too many mugs anymore, but as a teacher my wife gets a lot of them as gifts. We've got more than enough to use.

      Lee

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  3. Is there anything you wish you could get your money back??? Oh Lee, I think most of us can compile an exhaustive list. The thing I'd really back is TIME. I spend way too much time thinking about the choices I'd make now if I could go back and do it again knowing what I know. BTW, that is a complete waste of time, since I've not heard of any time machine discoveries.

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    1. Every day I squander time without really thinking about it and such has it been my entire life. I guess most of us do. And like you indicated it's a waste of time to think much about the time that has been misused in the past. Whataya going to do anyway?

      Lee

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  4. >>... What artists do you lament never having recorded more than they did?

    Well, the only one that comes to mind is DAVID & DAVID. They recorded one album together, 'BOOMTOWN', and then broke up. They had one Top 40 hit from the album, 'Welcome To The Boomtown', but the entire album is, in my view, an unrecognized classic. It was kind of a downer, because it described the decay behind the glitz of Los Angeles. Think 'Hotel California' but far grittier and realistic.

    That album came out in 1986 and it really struck a chord with me, where I was mentally and emotionally at that time. I still play it fairly often because I love what they were saying and musically it has so many creative little touches going on. It's "hard" Rock in a more metaphysical sense. It's like music scratched out on a whiskey bottle with nails.

    I will always think of that album as a musical portrait of me. If you Google it and read comments at YouTube, you'll find that a lot of people hold this forgotten album in the same high esteem that I do.

    "We were on top of the mountain that Summer
    Thought we'd never be swallowed by the cracks
    Fallen so far down
    Like the rest of those clowns begging bus fare back
    Swallowed by the cracks.

    We would never be swallowed by the cracks
    We would talk through the night
    About what we would do
    If we just could get started.

    I would choreograph
    Eileen, she would act
    While Steve was a writer.

    Then Stevie ran away and got bored
    Eileen took a job in a store
    Me, I became this drunken old whore

    'Cause you see, we'd been swallowed by the cracks
    Fallen so far down
    Like the rest of those clowns begging bus fare back
    Swallowed by the cracks, our pride worn down
    Talking times gone by like everybody else."

    --------

    "At the Firefly
    [*A bar in Hollywood*]
    We all tell lies
    And the Cleanup kid
    Hangs his head
    He's the quiet type
    Came to L.A. to write
    But he never made it out of the fringes
    Keeps a low profile
    You kick him he'll smile
    Thinks blood is his payment for losing.


    D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. I listened to some of the David and David cuts available on YouTube when you've mentioned them in the past and I enjoyed what I heard. The "Firefly" lyrics sound like they could have come off an Eagles or Don Henley album.

      I guess most of us have a special album or two that have spoken to us at that right time in our lives to where the album (or song) becomes part of our life soundtrack.

      Lee

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    2. The whole album is way tougher than anything by Don Henley or The Eagles. And I like both of them, but that stuffs like cotton candy compared to David & David.

      ~ D-FensDogg

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    3. Mmm! Cotton candy! Gosh, I sound like Homer Simpson.

      Lee

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    4. One of the Davids (Baerwald) has several solo albums that are also quite good...

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    5. Two other interesting facts-both Davids were contributors to Sheryl Crow's mega-selling debut (Tuesday Night Music Club), and David Ricketts is from the great city of Philadelphia...

      (The second one is probably only interesting to me)

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    6. I guess many figures who missed fame in their initial attempts faded from the big eye of the public to a relative obscurity of the professional realm to continue adding their talents and knowledge to the endeavors of others. I've always enjoyed studying album notes and credits to see what names might be recognizable to me in their connections with other projects. More than once have I been surprised to see that a lot of people don't just disappear but they blend gracefully into the scenery of their professions.

      Lee

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  5. After helping a friend clean out her dad's home after his unexpected death, I looked around our house and thought about our kids having to wade through all this junk someday...and I started getting rid of stuff. Guess what, life is so much easier without all that clutter and we don't miss any of it.

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    1. After the losses of loved ones in my life I've faced the same thoughts. I'm cautious about what to get rid of when it comes to the things that speak most about who I am, but in the end do many people care? I'm grateful for the bits and pieces that my mother left behind, but in a way a lot of it is more like parts of a puzzle that I'm not sure I can figure out without having her around to explain them.

      Lee

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  6. I've never been too much of a pack rat but with four children, you do tend to collect 'stuff.' I've been cleaning out bits here and there. My daughter and I took four boxes of books to the used store and six bags of things to Goodwill in the last week. More to leave soon.

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    1. I've been trying to convince my wife to dump some old plastic trophies our daughter won for college debate competitions. Daughter doesn't want them so they collect dust at our house. We've been moving out our kids stuff as we can. Sometimes "cleaning" can be a slow process filled with decision-making.

      Lee

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  7. Gads Yorick , have I got junk to off load. The last time I moved, 2006, I got rid of pick-up loads of excess stuff some went to trash, some went to goodwill, others went to the library for donations. I had been keeping things in control until 3 years ago when I got sick and I do have a husband who is a pack rat. I didn't have the energy to sort and jettison the excess. Mostly I hid it. This spring we're bringing in a big garbage bin to fill up. Some I've earmarked for donation and I've been taking them , bit by bit, to donation centers. I like my house on minimalist side and it's not right now. Drives me nuts now that I'm all present and accountable in mind. It will be done to my standards by this spring. :-)

    My speakers aren't working this morning for some reason. I'll have to listen to this story song later. :-)

    Sia McKye Over Coffee

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    1. Moving is the experience that puts our love of our accumulated possessions to the real test. How much do we really want all the crap? Ownership requires work eventually if not on an ongoing basis.

      Lee

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  8. When I moved into my house in AZ, I was a single guy coming from a two bedroom apartment moving into a 2,400 square foot house with four bedrooms and a loft in addition to the normal shared spaces (dining room, living room) anda three car garage.

    The house was somewhat empty for years, and I had two guest bedrooms.

    Now the place seems packed floor to ceiling, I am down to one guest bedroom, and that closet is full of stuff.

    When you have space....you seem to fill it.

    My next move will be to a small condo or apartment-I do not think you ever eliminate clutter, but I figure with less square footage, I can mitigate it.

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    1. Mitigation is necessary when you don't have the space and don't want to pay for extra storage space. Those hoarder TV shows are some of the scariest shows that bring the concept of being a pack rat to the most extreme reality.

      How many things do each of us really need? Then the questions become why do we need what we think we need?

      Lee

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    2. Interesting how much more we have than our parents.

      The walk-in closet off of my bedroom (full) has more closet space than the entire house I grew up in, and I grew up in a family of eight.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLoge6QzcGY

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    3. I've always enjoyed this Carlin routine. In fact I riffed on it on my Wrote By Rote blog some time ago.

      We have much bigger closets now than the houses where I grew up. Same with our bathrooms. Maybe it's because we have collectively grown bigger as people? Or perhaps we've grown more claustrophobic.

      Lee

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  9. All of my stuff has so much sentimental value attached to it that I neither wish to get rid of them or wish I had my money back.

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    1. I wish I had sold it all to you and had your money.

      Lee

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  10. Anyone who's had the onerous task of sifting through the possessions of a deceased loved one ends up looking at their own possessions through new eyes. We used to joke that our kids would probably burn our house down after we're gone, rather than having to deal with all our stuff, but we've been making a concerted effort to winnow it out to save them the trouble. Not easy to do when the possessions have sentimental value, though. It's a bitter pill to swallow when we realize the things we value most will mean nothing to other people, even our children. Such is life.

    Wow, close contest on your last BOTB!

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    1. Value is always subjective and often overrated in the eyes of the one who owns the goods.

      Lee
      Tossing It Out

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    2. I have already alerted my nephew to the fact that he's going to have to deal with the more than 20,000 CD's and 2,000 records after I kick the bucket...fortunately, he seems to love music as much as I do, and I doubt he will think of this as a chore.

      I do need to (once again) straighten up the file cabinet where important documents are (and I need to do a formal will)-going through a music collection is one thing, but I spent a day in my father's file cabinet and he was pretty well organized.

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    3. Getting organized is on my to do list. Someday. I hope.

      Lee

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    1. I hope your garage is worse than mine so I don't feel so bad.

      Lee

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    2. If you can park in either of your garages, you are way ahead of most people I know....

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    3. Prior to last summer we were able to park one of our cars in the garage and then my wife got a coffee table that my daughter didn't want anymore. Now our old coffee table is out in the garage along with a bunch of other stuff we added. I've got to do that clean-up again so we'll have that parking space back.

      Lee

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  12. Tough battle.

    Cara Beckenstein's children's song is really cute. I love writing for children, though I've never been involved with music.

    What artists do you lament never having recorded more than they did?

    I don't know that Boz Scaggs would qualify to anyone other than me. His album, "My Time" was so unique for the time it came out. Then he dropped off the radar for a long time. Mega European and Asian tours. He resurfaced with album, "Harbor Lights," but it had lost that raw edginess. "Freedom of the Stallion" had haunting lyrics... just one among a vinyl filled with songs that flowed, one song into another. Someone stole my vinyl at a party - took me 20 years to get the CD - ordered from Japan. Company had so many requests for that one album, they released in the CD in the US the next year. Boz stuff since harbor Lights hasn't impressed me much. His recording done in Memphis is okay... but I don' care for it... maybe a couple of sings.

    Good luck with that downsize play!

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    1. I never kept up with Boz Scaggs, but I was under the impression that he'd recorded a lot since he seemed to be pretty high profile for a while. Guess it was that hit--"Lowdown" I think it was. He had a nice style.

      Lee

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  13. When we moved from large to smaller a while back we HAD to clear out stuff. What a pleasure. Give me minimal any time. Interesting comments - enjoyed thanks ..

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    1. Moving necessitates downsizing when space is at issue. Minimalism allows for more freedom that's for sure.

      Lee

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  14. Cara's children's song is cute. I'm sure I have lots of things I'd like to be able to get my money back on.

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    1. Too bad we're rarely able to recoup what we've actually spent on most things.

      Lee

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  15. I tried to listen but for some reason I couldn't get it to work. I often say to my clients, what we want can fit in one basic room (10x12) but what we want wouldn't fit in a huge factory as we always seem to want more. It's funny, when we are young, we don't want much but then as we get into our 20's we really start to accumulate and we keep at it until we hit around the 50-55 mark. We hold steady for a while only to start giving stuff away or having garage sales. I don't regret what I bought...it was good at the time but, later, one realizes the importance for it fades. I got rid of tons of clothes last year. This year I plan to attack my tons of magazines and see what I can get rid of. I also plan to go through a room and take out 2 things (no matter the size) and get rid of it. I had to move my mom 4 times and she came from that era when "you never know when you might need that string". I never want to place anyone in that position if something happens to me

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  16. I like that plan of purging room to room. I've been thinking along similar lines though so much of it belongs more to my wife than to me so I wouldn't want to create any problems by getting rid of stuff she still wants. If I can just convince her to stop buying new things that have no real function I could call that progress.

    Lee

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  17. Hubby and I started a one thing in, one thing out rule in our home. Problem is we never got to a sensible place to start. We would do better to throw 2 or 3 things out, whenever we buy something new. It's a start...but needs work!!

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    1. That would be a good rule to follow for paring down, but we certainly don't do it. And even if we got rid of 10 things for every one new thing it would still take a good while to notice that we'd done anything.

      Lee

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Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee