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...

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Monday, February 29, 2016

When Does the Fantasy Chase Off the Readers? (#IWSG)

English: 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza (right) and t...
 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza (right) and the 1929 Trump Building (center) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog






         Excuse me for posting a bit early for #IWSG, but I wanted to use this post to continue a series that I began last week.  And this at the risk of scaring readers away from commenting.  This is not my intention of course, but it seems to happen sometimes with certain topics.

         If you're feeling lost about what I'm talking about I invite you to read my posts Can Trump's Border Wall Work? and Why the Border Wall Can Bring Positive Change? and please weigh in on my topics if you're willing to put your imagination to work (or play as I see it).  Interestingly to me, these posts each garnered about the usual number of visits as my average posts while receiving far fewer than normal comments.  There were some excellent comments to be sure, but I'm not sure my vision was conveyed to most who read these pieces.

          Okay, I get this.  I certainly spent more time thinking about the "Border Wall World" than most who visited those posts.  This was my vision after all.   Like some of you I initially thought the concept of Donald Trump's border wall that Mexico pays for was rather absurd, but hearing so much about the wall I wanted to imagine why Mexico would willfully pay for it as well as the world that might be the result if a cooperative venture were to be put into place.

          But let me get away from the political controversy in order to express what it was that so enthralled me.  I had begun world-building in big way and the more I dreamed it the bigger it got.  Maybe if the Border Wall World were expanded as part of a story presented in a novel then more readers would start getting into as much as I began to be. 

        This imaginary world is a near future world or it could be a far future world.  This type of world could even be set in a past time or another planet.   It's an imagination creation from within my mind, perhaps not totally original if someone has done this in the past, but certainly an idea with potential for anyone else who decides to dream it.

        By the way, at present I'm not intending to use this world in anything that I'm going to write so anyone who wants to use it I say go for it.  I'll buy your book since I'd like to read about this kind of world.  Who knows--I might get to thinking so hard about this world that a story might get inspired within me, but still a world concept like this could be a setting for an infinite number of stories.  

        My intention now is not to apologize for introducing a topic of controversy in my previous posts, but to explain that those posts were not to foment any political distress among readers.  My primary intention was to understand a concept and in order to do that a world was created--Border Wall World (to use a convenient name that provides a description).   

          There are as many worlds as writers can imagine.  Every fiction is a creation of some particular world even if that fictional world is based on something real.  The closer to reality the world that the writer creates is, the easier it will be to convey the vision that writer wants the readers to see.  The imagination is boundless; the vast array of worlds is infinite.  Write your world as it is, as it could be, and as it one day might be. 

         Conveniently, last week as I was playing with world building, Raquel Byrnes wrote a post about rules of world-building.   Check it out at 5 Core Rules for World Building

          Do you enjoy world-building?   When you create a world within your mind do you ever get so excited about it that you perhaps go overboard describing it to others?    Are you able to easily separate politics from possibilities?   

        




Friday, February 26, 2016

Why the Border Wall Can Bring Positive Change

It's not so much a matter of what the wall will do as much as it is the question what we will do with the wall to make it of more benefit to all of us.
--Arlee Bird


       In my previous post I discussed my vision of how the border wall as described by Donald Trump including it being paid for by Mexico might actually be a practical and a very good idea.  My thinking on this suggests that a beautifully built and highly technological wall would provide economic stimulus and regional development to communities on both sides of the border.  To read more I recommend referring to Can Trump's Border Wall Work? before reading today's post.


English: Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland ...
 Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Resort, Anaheim CA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Walt Disney

A Symbol of Two Nations

       There is one more aspect of the "beautiful border wall" that I think is a very positive thing.  It sounds idealistic perhaps, but it makes sense from a certain standpoint of marketing.  What is this idealistic aspect?   I suggest the border wall as a symbol of two nations.

       The traditional symbol for immigrants coming to the United States has been the Statue of Liberty.  This monument was what the new arrivals to be processed through the Ellis Island immigration center would see.  The "Proud Lady of the Harbor" represented life, liberty, and the pursuit of dreams.   An awesome border wall build with aesthetic appeal could likewise become a symbol.

        A wall would initially seem like an unpleasant reminder of exclusion and hardship, but with smooth processing through modern efficient receiving centers located at the welcoming border gateways and vibrant development in the areas along the border wall, the border would become something to which hopeful immigrants would look forward.  This border wall would become famous and become a destination for travelers to just see and marvel.  The wall could become a destination for tourists as well as the crossing point between two great nations.

        Just as the Lady Liberty holds a torch in one hand and a book of law in the other, the wall's official logo might be a similar book of law.   At points along the length of the wall could be beacons or bright displays of light symbolizing illumination of the path as well as the minds of the people.  The development of this great wall perhaps could become like a sort of Disneyland of economic development where cultures would be shared through eating establishments, museums, shopping districts and so on.


       Many when faced with the concept of a border wall are immediately turned off.  They will argue about the expense, the impracticality, the divisiveness, or they might just say it can't be done.  What I've described in my previous post is practical and possible even though at first look it might seem fantasy.   What I've described in the above paragraphs will even be rejected outright as outlandish. Right now the idea is a fantasy in my mind.  I'm not saying that this is what Donald Trump or anyone else has in mind, but I do believe it is something to consider.  What it all comes down to is primarily marketing the idea, creating workable plans, implementing those plans, and then continuing to market the project until it has been widely accepted by most.

          There will always be those who are against any kind of progress, but if we'd listened to the naysayers of the past we'd still be in horse and buggies and there would be no such thing as flying in planes.  The greatest of ideas are almost always rejected as being a bit loony. I've presented a vision now its up to you the reader to decide if you think it is worth discussing.
The problems of the world cannot be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.
--John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963)





Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Can Trump's Border Wall Work?

English: Trump Hotel in Las Vegas (tilt and ve...
 Trump Hotel in Las Vegas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      As I indicated in my previous post, today's post will present my reasoning why Donald Trump's idea of the border wall between Mexico and the United States not only could be highly effective, but also could potentially be a very good idea that would be embraced by the governments and citizens of both countries.  Before you shut me out on this, keep in mind that this post is nothing to do with Trump the man and candidate, but is simply my argument why the border wall might be better than many people think.  To my knowledge none of what follows here is what Donald Trump has said, but this is my speculative vision on the possibilities of a wall as I imagine it.

The Concept of the Wall

      The border wall is one of the pivotal points of appeal for many regarding the campaign of Donald Trump.  When I first heard him announce the idea I laughed.  Many called the idea totally absurd and impractical while millions of Americans fed up with illegal immigration embraced the idea of a border wall that would stem the flow of Mexicans and others coming through Mexico to make their way to benefit from whatever the United States had to offer them without going through normal legal channels.  Then the more Mr. Trump touted the wall and the subject became the main point of conversation in media and among the other candidates, the more I began to think about how this would all work.

       The rhetoric has been entertaining:  "We're going to build a wall.  It's going to be beautiful. It's going to have a big beautiful door where people can come in legally.  You're going to love it."  Okay. "And Mexico's going to pay for it."  Huh?  How does that work?

English: Great Wall of China near Jinshanling ...
 Great Wall of China near Jinshanling  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why Would Mexico Want to Pay for the Wall?

        The Mexican government would undoubtedly be resistant to paying outright for a wall. Convincing them to do it would require a powerful presentation that would have to demonstrate the benefit of doing so.   There are many potential ways of making Mexico pay for the wall through what could be considered punitive measures.   Trump has already suggested some potential ways of getting the money for the wall.   We could impose taxes on remittances on money from the states going into Mexico, tariffs on goods coming from Mexico, turning trade imbalances to our favor, and other means.  Other possibilities might entail charging additional fees to those coming to the states or taking away foreign aid that the U.S. gives to Mexico.   A combination of measures such as these would likely over a few years provide the funds needed to build this pipe dream of a wall.

        But what if the United States could convince Mexico that building the wall would work greatly to their advantage in the end?  If the wall concept were marketed in such a way that the Mexican government could understand that such a wall would provide a huge economic stimulus that could result in massive regional development on both sides of the border then they might be persuaded to take the idea far more seriously.  Creating a powerful partnership between our two nations could lead to an unprecedented agreement that would create a dramatic impetus to both economies.  They would have to be convinced and we would have to be willing to work with Mexico in every possible way to assist them in cleaning up corruption and the drug cartels.  It could all come to fruition if the vision were made real enough.  Again I say it would come down to some effective marketing and persuasion.  Dedication to the ideals of the mission and a sincere effort to cooperate would be paramount to the success of this venture.

Economic Stimulus

       The "beautiful wall" would need to be attractive in appearance as well as contain surveillance technology that would suit our modern times.  We would not want an ugly metal or concrete apparatus such as some of you might have seen in places such as El Paso or San Diego.  After all we shouldn't want to create the image of a prison wall or a DMZ zone between warring countries.  This is not a wall to attempt to stop heavily armed militaristic invading forces, but a deterrent intended to keep people from entering the country by means that evade legal procedure.  A properly constructed wall could virtually stop all or most flow of drugs or other contraband into the country.

       When I envision the wall when Trump talks about it I think of one of the Trump properties--a modern thing aesthetically designed fulfilling its purpose in a practical manner.  The wall would be expensive, but all things considered it would have great viability in the present as well as the long range future.

         A dynamic project such as this would create a surge in job creation not only for the construction trades, but for all businesses in the locales where the wall was being built.   Part of our deal should include Mexican workers as well as labor from the U.S. side   It might be safe to say there would be an economic boom in the job market as well as nearly all aspects of the economy in the border cities and even having a farther reach beyond those cities most directly affected.

         Cleaning up the cities on the Mexican side to make them safer and with sounder infrastructure would encourage an infusion of investment from private sources.  These cities are far larger than their counterparts on the U.S. side and have a great potential to become destination spots for tourism and convention trade.  As these cities become more attractive, the cities on the U.S. side would likely experience similar growth.

       The bottom line is that large projects require sizable investment, but if approached in the proper manner the pay off can be enormous.  Through the tandem effort of the United States and Mexico we can turn the border region into an economic behemoth.   Remember--it takes money to make money.  If the border is managed well we can sustain that economy for decades to come.  There is no reason that Mexico should not assist in these efforts as they can experience great benefit in doing so.

Map showing the border region (U.S. Dept of Health & Human Svcs)

Regional Development

       As money pours into these regions we should see vast improvements in the infrastructure on both sides of the border.   Airports would need to be expanded or improved in order to accommodate increased numbers of travelers to the region.  With a safer Mexico that would likely result in more ground traffic there would be more improvements to the highway systems.   Development would not be confined only to the border, but likely extend to far greater distances.    Greater prosperity would lead to more tax revenue which then can be diverted into projects that benefit the citizenry (and hopefully not line the pockets of corrupt opportunists).   Investments would be encouraged which would lead to new businesses and expansion of existing businesses.

       We might also look at this another way.   The wall concept has become famous throughout the world.  If the wall is built and it is indeed beautiful--a sight to behold--then the wall could become a draw like other famous landmarks throughout the world.  An impressive modern highly technological feat of ingenious engineering might become our Tomorrowland version of The Great Wall of China, Stonehenge, or the Roman Colosseum. This factor alone would create development in the border region that could impact the U.S. and Mexico in significant ways.

        A wall covering every inch of the border does not make sense as in some areas it would be impractical and not economically feasible.  Since I'm not specifically familiar with all of the terrain involved, but do have some general knowledge that there are mountainous regions, I realize a wall crossing the entire border should not be done.  In some areas such as the Big Bend National Park area in Texas--an area with dramatically beautiful scenery as well as ecological considerations--building a wall would be a travesty.  There is other technology and methodology that can be used in any of these cases.  For the most part though, especially in the areas where there are the highest numbers of border incursions, the wall would not be much different than constructing a highway or a large building.

        Experts have most likely looked at this issue from many aspects and  what has not yet been determined would have to be figured out.  It can be done and it can be done well.

A Possible Dream?

       Okay, perhaps I've gone overboard with my imagination.  Or have I?  My mind becomes fired up when I start thinking about this, but this is the way I operate when something of this nature fuels my thinking.  I'm a dreamer--perhaps even a visionary.  But please don't say this is something that can't be done without telling me exactly why.  If you believe that the wall is just a foolish pipe dream and none of what I've described here is possible in your mind then tell me what I'm missing.

        This post has already gone longer than I like my posts to go so I'm going to stop here for now to  allow my ideas to settle in your minds.  I do have one more point to make about this big wall idea as I have imagined it, but that is going to wait until Friday when I will present a more idealistic aspect of this vision.

         And if you are convinced that I am off base and this idea can never work, I have a special message for you.  But you will have to wait for that next post to hear my message to the doubters.

          Do you think I might be onto something or am I spouting off silly thinking?   Please tell me one way or another why you think the way you do about this.   Is there anything that you think I've missed regarding the positive benefits of the border wall as I've explained it?   Is there a fallacy in my thinking that knocks down this fantasy wall?
       



Monday, February 22, 2016

What Kinds of Change Will Be Coming? (#BOTB results)


What Kinds of Change Will Be Coming?  (BOTB results are below my opening statement)


Señalización de lugar de votación en Californi...
Señalización de lugar de votación en California. 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        The presidential primary voting rounds from the week-end are over and most of us know the results which I feel no need to detail here.  There's plenty more ahead and I'll have to admit that I'm watching things with great fascination.   At the end come November, we'll be seeing what change will be in store for us in the United States.  The real question will be whether the change will be significant or just a change in personnel with no real change in the actual operations.

          One note on the Republican side is the nastiness rearing its ugly butt.   When Jeb Bush entered the race I thought he seemed like a nice enough guy, though I wasn't thrilled about seeing another Bush in the White House.  But then he started getting very mean-spirited in his campaigning.  Between him and his PAC's tens of millions of dollars were spent on negative ads against the others in the running.   The ads I saw were very ugly and to me unnecessary.   I think a lot of people felt like I did.  Every time I saw one of those ads or heard Jeb attacking the other candidates I liked Jeb less.  This week-end I was glad to see him go.

         I know that's the way of politics and I'm not saying that Jeb was the only one guilty of doing these things, but he stood out.   The behavior seemed very out of character from the way he initially came across to me and his backers just seemed scary to me.   Good-bye, Jeb.

           Who will be next?

           I know some of you don't particularly like politics, but since it is the season I may mention the topic now and then.  I'm not looking to harangue anybody about the topic, but I might bring up what I think are interesting ideas that set my imagination going and might spark yours as well.  If you do leave a comment on the topic here, please do be respectful and not belittling to any of the other commenters.    Ask questions and engage in discourse if you like.  I'm all for learning, but not so much for making other people mad.

         Bear with me if you can and let me know if I get out of line or tell me if you think I'm wrong.  Try to be nice about it.





The BOTB Results Are In!

      My most recent song pick was the great Sam Cooke civil rights anthem "A Change Is Gonna Come" as performed by Luther Vandross and Al Green.  There was a decent turn-out with 36 of you casting votes.  The outcome was closer than I thought it might be and that's a good thing as far as I'm concerned.

       I've liked Al Green ever since he hit the charts in 1972 with "Let's Stay Together".   You can call me a fan.  Not hardcore, but over the years I've enjoyed his music and bought some of his albums.  I didn't discover Luther Vandross until after he died.  Several years back I heard the song "Dance with My Father" and it really hit me to the point that I immediately went out and purchased the CD.  He has a very smooth listenable style that I can well appreciate.

       My favorite of the two artists would have to be Al Green since I have a longer relationship with his music and over all I find it more distinctive than that of Vandross.   Al Green is in a place of his own in music.  Between the versions of "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Green and Vandross, my favorite is that emotionally charged performance by Al Green.   Luther is outstanding--love the band--but Al Green outshines him just a tad to my ears.

         A good many of you agreed with me on this, but not enough to give Al Green the win in this Battle.  Actually, due to Al Green's higher almost screechy vocals I thought he'd do worse than he did.  But after all, Al Green has a lot of name recognition and a long history of making music.  I'll bet "Let's Stay Together" is a high-ranking favorite with many of you.  However the smoother sounds of Luther Vandross won over the majority giving him the win.


Final Vote Tally:

Luther Vandross                  19 votes

Al Green                              17 votes


And Now The Future      

        So there you have another fairly tight Battle behind us.   What does the future hold?   For one thing my next Battle of the Bands post I think you might find interesting.   It will be a song that relates to some of the things coming up on this blog as well as being a somewhat dark scary song about things to come otherwise.  This song is by a very well known songwriter and singer who very well may be a favorite of many of you.   Be here on Tuesday March 1st to see what song I'll be using.

       The next Battle of the Bands post will be tied in with my March Insecure Writer's Support Group post and as I typically try to do I'll keep that part of the post themed with my song pick for that round of Battle.   This could be interesting.  Could be?  No it will be interesting!   We'll see what the future holds.

         Watch later this week as I address some of the comment discussion that appeared in my previous post A Result Is Gonna Come.   Controversial times call for controversial discussion and while I don't want to turn readers off, I hope you all will come back with an open mind as I present my interpretation of how I think Donald Trump's border wall idea might not actually be as bad as many think it sounds and might be better in a very different way than what the Trump supporters envision.    Keep in mind that what I will be presenting is my speculation--or vision if you will.  If you're a fan of speculative or futurist literature I might have some ideas to get you thinking.   I hope you'll at least hear me out on my thoughts.

          Did the primary voting outcomes of the week-end turn out like you thought they would?   Do you think the method of selecting presidential candidates in the United States is effective?    Can you guess what my next BOTB song choice will be based on some very obvious hints I've given in this post?



Friday, February 19, 2016

A Result Is Gonna Come


What Did He Say?

      Crazy stuff about Pope Francis casting judgment upon Donald Trump's being a Christian.  Or did the Pope really say what the news media said he did?  If the Pope truly made a direct declaration such as this then he is wrong.  After all he is not God and only God can read what is in the hearts of any of us.
 
       The problem is that media often twists and mangles what public figures say in order to create the news rather than report it. Perhaps in the days to come we'll get this controversy unraveled with the media clarifying what really happened.  Or maybe not.   Whatever we get from the media sources or the Pope himself might result in greater understanding of the truth, but I doubt it.  As is often the case, seeds of discord and distrust have been planted in our minds where they will flourish into bigger confusions or wither away covered by way too much fertilizer.

        In the meantime, some of us may be wondering why the Vatican is surrounded by walls and protected by armed guards?  And how many Muslim refugees have they allowed to come in to stay in the hallowed halls of the papal seat of government?

The Next Round in the Primaries

        Something is going to happen on Saturday that could bring us closer to projecting where the presidential primaries are heading.  Things have been getting out of hand for the Republicans in South Carolina though some say this is just business as usual.   Maybe so if the business is monkey business.

          I'll admit it can get entertaining at times watching the antics of the candidates and listening to all of the nonsensical back and forth nasty politics.  I'm sure that the Democrats are going to have some rich material for their future political ads when it just comes down to the two main party candidates and they'll be letting the Republicans do all the mean talk for them.

          However it might be that the most interesting event on Saturday will be the Democrat caucus in Nevada.  Bernie Sanders is gaining ground on Hillary and she might be getting nervous.  She's even taken to barking like a dog.


     
       In fact, according to Fox News:   Sen. Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton nationally for the first time in the Democratic presidential primary race-- by three points-- in the latest Fox News Poll, which also shows Donald Trump leading his closest rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, by a 36-19 percent margin among self-identified Republican primary voters. 

         I'm thinking that the old-school establishment politicians might all be in the doghouse together after this year's election.  A lot of people are not very happy with those who have been running things  in our country and maybe this year will be a huge turning point where we will see the result of too many years of mismanagement in the United States government.  The world just keeps getting weirder.


What about Battle of the Band Results?

        The results of my most recent Battle of the Bands contest will be coming on Monday February 22nd.   You've still got time to go back and cast your vote for your favorite version of the song I used this time, "A Change Is Gonna Come".   I'll be tallying the votes on Sunday afternoon so if you'd like to vote this click this link.  




          Are you keeping up with the political shenanigans?   What do you think about the comments made by Pope Francis?   What breed of dog do you think Hillary was impersonating?  


Monday, February 15, 2016

A Change Is Gonna Come (#BOTB)

        February has been designated as Black History Month in the United States and Canada.   The month-long observance was officially recognized by the U.S. in the 1976 bicentennial year.  Prior to that time a week in February had been set aside as Negro History Week.  Some consider the observance to be racist while others believe that recognizing the accomplishments of blacks in America and elsewhere is an important step in establishing greater harmony between races and instilling a value of tradition and pride within the black community.

English:
Do you know these figures from Black History? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        When I was growing up I was never around black people to any great extent.  I never had any black classmates until I started high school in East Tennessee and even then there were probably not more than 20 black students in our entire school which probably had about a thousand students.  To my recollection there was never any emphasis on black history, but apparently I did receive information about many aspects of black history because I did have a fairly extensive awareness about it.  Maybe I learned a lot on television or elsewhere since I grew up in the 50's and 60's when the Civil Rights Movement was taking a powerful hold on the nation.

        According to Wikipedia, Morgan Freeman is quoted as having said,  "I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history."    Freeman has argued that there was no White History Month, because white people did not want their history relegated to just one month.[14]

       I think Freeman makes a reasonable point.  The way I see it, teaching of history should be homogeneous with events examined according to a historical timeline with references to preceding events as they apply to that timeline.  However, in defense of the the celebration of black accomplishment, I think it is reasonable for communities to have special events designated for the appreciation of what black Americans have accomplished.  Mostly though this is probably more of an issue for specific communities.

        There is no doubt that the descendants of African diaspora have made important contributions throughout the world, but so have the peoples from many other cultures.  My preference is to become aware of as much history as I can absorb and have a very keen knowledge of the history that made my country of the United States of America what it is and to discern where it can go in the positive sense.

        In any case, the following Battle of the Bands post is my recognition of Black History Month.

Battle of the Bands

   Battle of the Bands is the blogging event hosted by 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.



"A Change Is Gonna Come"

       Sam Cooke was a highly influential singer and songwriter who was known as the "King of Soul". Cooke had first hand experience with racial injustice.   His experiences led him to compose "A Change Is Gonna Come" which became a civil rights anthem.  Over the years many artists both black and white have recorded this amazing song.

       An incident in 1963 where Cooke and his band were turned away from a "whites only" Holiday Inn in Shreveport, Louisiana prompted him to write the song.  He had already felt a prodding to write an important song about change after being inspired by Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind".   Cooke's song also pays homage to the song "Ol' Man River" from the Jerome Kern musical Showboat.

        To read an interesting article about Cooke's song, refer to an article in The New Yorker magazine.  And now take a listen to two amazing live performances by a couple of legendary performers.

Luther Vandross   "A Change Is Gonna Come" (Date uncertain)

      Vandross has such a fine voice and that certainly comes across in this recording.   Luther Vandross departed this Earth in 2005 at the far too early age of 54 years.  







Al Green   "A Change Is Gonna Come"  (2001?)

       While the recording of Luther Vandross was done at a church, the Reverend Al Green's performance sounds like he's preaching a sermon in church--but after all he is a preacher.  When not performing as a singer, Al Green preaches at his church in Memphis, Tennessee.  The recording here is from a post 9/11 benefit concert for United We Stand.







Time to Vote!

        Well, let us know what you think about these versions. There must be one that you prefer over the other though I'll admit that I'm having a tough time deciding on this Battle. If you're visiting a Battle of the Bands post for the first time then let me briefly explain.  Please give each song version a fair listen to decide which one you prefer over the other.  If you don't like either then at least tell us which recording was least innocuous to you. This comes down to your preference and it's as easy as that.

     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:

FAR AWAY SERIES’ 

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

DC Relief Battle of the Bands

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Cherdo on the Flipside  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Janie Junebug Righting & Editing.
  
J. A. Scott  

Quiet Laughter

Holli's Hoots and Hollers

NovelBrews

Be ReInVintaged



Results on Monday February 22nd
      
        Cast your vote now so you don't forget!   Maybe another post or two will appear between then and now, but I'll definitely be back on the 22nd with the voting results.   My blogging has become a bit unpredictable of late so be ready for some surprises.   Let's hear a cheer for whimsicality in blogging!


         Do you think Black History should be focused upon in schools during the month of February?  When you were growing up did you receive much specific information about the accomplishments of blacks?   Do you prefer using the term "Afro-Americans" or "Blacks"?




Friday, February 12, 2016

Change Is Not Always Good--Except When It's to My Advantage

i want change
i want change (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        Changing diapers is no fun by my estimation nor would I think many others are thrilled with the prospect of doing the chore.  Someone's got to do it.  I think I got pretty good at changing diapers during my parenting years, but I'd prefer not to do anymore diaper changing in my life.  In the case of diapers, change, though not a pleasant task, is a necessity.

         Not all change is a necessity, but often it is inevitable.  Change might not be pleasant for everyone and can even be burdensome.  Some may benefit from change while others pay for it.  Time can change things as can circumstances.  While some change might be barely discernible, other change can be traumatic and life-changing.

         New life situations such as marriage, children, or death of someone who affects us greatly can lead us to become very different people than we formerly were.  We can welcome change as much as we can fear it.  However we think of change, it is something that can happen and will happen.

         This being a presidential election year in the United States we are hearing a lot about the promise of change as well as the threat of change.  There are some who try to ignore the politics that are all around us while others are following closely.  Whether you embrace the goings on in the political news or try to escape the election chatter, one fact is inescapable:  The coming change is going to affect you and possibly do so in a big way.

         Change is continually happening.  We can only hope--and pray--that the coming change will be for the better.

           Do you adapt to change easily?    Do you like change when it alters your way of living?   What are some changes that you hope to see as a result of the next presidential election?

           This post provides a clue to my next song choice in the Battle of the Bands which will be on Monday February 15th.    As I mentioned in a previous post, the song I'll be pitting in Battle has something to do with the season--or in other words, specifically February.   Can you guess the song?


Monday, February 8, 2016

I Think I Was Wrong--Kind of (BOTB Results)

L.A. Guns (album)
L.A. Guns (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

          Lately I've been ordering music for my brother.  When he discusses most of the groups that he likes, I'm somewhat lost since they are groups that I've never listened to.  Some of the artists such as Aerosmith, AC/DC, and Kiss I am well enough familiar with to know some extent of their catalogs of works.  Others like Dio, Warrant, and L.A, Guns I'd never heard actually played though I'd heard of them.

          My brother asked me if I like any of these artists and I told him it isn't my kind of music.  These days I don't listen to music like I used to and when I do it's often classical.  Then around the 1st and 15th of each month I listen to the song picks offered by the Battle of the Band participants.  There's a wide range of musical excursions at those times of the month.

          In recent days I've been listening to some L.A. Guns, Dio, Faster Pussycat, and Alice Cooper.  Back in the 70's I used to listen to a lot of Alice Cooper and even saw the band in concert--it was a great show.  What I've listened to recently is far better than I remember.  I guess that's why I liked them so much at one time.  The other groups were also excellent.  I've been digging listening to the digital copies of the albums that come with the CD's.

          I think what I said to my brother was wrong--I do like this kind of music.   Not that I would want to listen to this type of music all the time, but I don't mind hearing it at all and am finding many of the tunes enjoyable.

          More than once have I made a judgement call about something because of preconceived notions or not giving myself more of a chance to understand and appreciate it.  I'll still take classical music much of the time, but for now I'm listening to Alice Cooper and it sounds pretty good to me.


Battle of the Bands Results

         As many of you have noted about your own Battles since the Battle of the Bands first began over two years ago, the results can be unexpected and sometimes very surprising.  The results of my most recent Battle were just that.  I was bracing myself for a brutal shut out, but you voters kept this from happening.

         This Battle was between two Spanish language artists performing what I perhaps audaciously suggested what might be "among the most beautiful pop songs ever written".  Fortunately the song, "Mi Historia Entre Tus Dedos", was graciously accepted by the readers and even appreciated by most of those who voted.  

          From the outset my expectation was that the sound of the duo Sergio Dalma and Vanesa Martín would be the one that everyone would readily accept while the more Latin cumbia/reggaeton sound of Los Verduleros would be rejected.    I was sure wrong about this.  Even though Los Verduleros were pretty far off from a win, there were still enough of you who liked their style to hand them your vote and in the end give them a respectable showing.

          While I enjoy the exuberant performance and lively style of Los Verduleros, I much prefer the jazzy romantic style of the duo.  As Stephen T McCarthy pointed out, "How in the world Los Verduleros got it into their heads to perform THOSE lyrics in THAT style is way beyond me".  That was my initial reaction, though as I pondered the motivation of an artist I can see how the lyrics could be done in an upbeat styles as the group performed them.  It's not what I would prefer hearing with this song, but Los Verduleros sure make the song fun.  This group would probably be highly entertaining in concert and with music like that who's listening to the lyrics anyway?

           As you might have guessed, my preference was the performance of Sergio Dalma and Vanesa Martín.   I enjoy that jazzy style of music.  The vocal interplay between the two singers gave the song the sense of being a romantic mini-drama.  But even without the performance as a duo, I'd prefer the style in which they presented the song.

Final Vote Tally

Sergio Dalma (w/ Vanesa Martín)               28 votes

Los Verduleros                                              15 votes


More Battle of the Bands Coming Up!

        My next Battle will be appearing here on Monday February 15th.   Again I will be using a thematic approach geared toward the season.  Nothing dealing with romance or Valentine's Day this time.   However my song picks will be appropriate in their timeliness.  Oh,and the song will have nothing to do with the Academy Awards--or maybe it will in a way.  

        Another Battle of the Bands will be coming on Tuesday March 1st.   My song choice for that Battle will be offering a prediction of the future in a dual sense.  It's a song that "predicts the future" in the sense of the lyrics, but it will also offer some clues as to some of my upcoming song battles.   I've got something big planned--or at least my plans include something big.   Enigmatic enough for you?   I'll just leave it at that and leave you guessing.

BlogFest Stuff

         My hugest thanks to  Guilie Castillo-Oriard, Elizabeth Seckman,  Yolanda Renee,  Denise Covey.  and  Alex J Cavanaugh for helping to make the Lost & Found: Valentine's Edition blog hop such a tremendous success.   And of course the event would have not been a success at all without all of the wonderful entries from those who participated.   What a wide range of views on the topic of "Lost and Found love" and a great assortment of stylistic approaches.   If you didn't get a chance to read all of the entries you can find the list of participants here.  

          Also let us not forget the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.   In the first two weeks of sign-ups we have passed the 600 mark.   You've still got several weeks to add your link to the list, but why not do it now.   Start your posts now and you'll have your April blogging wrapped up before that month starts.   For more information visit the Blogging from A to Z Blog.   

          What was something that you pre-judged only to decide later that you were wrong about?   Is there a type of music (food, sport, literary genre, etc) that you now greatly appreciate after finding out more about it?    Are there any things that interested you in the past that you now don't particularly like?


If you're interested in being part of my Arlee's Ambassadors A to Z Challenge Team, please let me know in the comments.  Essentially this means assisting me with the A to Z Challenge by monitoring the sign-up list for bad links, etc and visiting bloggers who have signed up.