The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Monday, May 9, 2016

A to Z Reflections Post (#atozchallenge) #BOTB Results




          Of all blog events, #atozchallenge is the best by far!   The 2016 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was for me perhaps the best one yet.  After seven years of doing this Challenge, the writing of the posts is much easier.  My Manhattan Project theme was my favorite that I've done so far, something which probably made the writing easier and the month more fun.  I'm pretty pleased with the way things turned out for me this year.

          Oh sure, I could list all of the usual things that I've seen as problems in the past, but if you are really interested in those you can go back in my archives and read my past Reflections posts.  A lot of those negatives still remain to be remedied.   Likewise, you'll find positives enumerated in those older posts that still held true in this year's Challenge.  I don't want this post to be a rerun or a rehashing of stuff I've said before.   I'll just leave my view of 2016 as it having been a very good Challenge.

          This year I found many exceptional themes presented and met more new bloggers that I've not come across in previous Challenges.  As always, the A to Z Challenge is an amazing showcase of creativity and fine writing.   So despite those smaller irritants that we find while making our way through the list, in the end I think the good outweighs any bad elements of A to Z.  The Reflections posts that I've read already substantiate this positive view of A to Z.

           My utmost thanks go to the incredible talent and diligence of the A to Z Team of co-hosts who expend a great deal of time and energy to make the April Challenge the wonderful event that it is.  Special kudos are due to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the blogger extraordinaire who has participated in every Challenge so far and who devoted hours in managing the Linky List for us.   Also I am deeply grateful to Heather M. Gardner for her very capable leadership of the A to Z Team this year.   We all appreciate the artistic talents of Jeremy Hawkins who provided the artwork and graphics used to promote the Challenge and identify participants.

             Every Team co-host (names can be found at a-to-zchallenge.com) and the other assistance from each co-host support team (list found here) contributed time, effort, and talent to make the 2016 Challenge a success.   I hope you will stop by all of their blogs to say hello and thank them for what they put into A to Z this time around.

            And finally, thanks to all who participated as well as those who watched from the sidelines faithfully reading and commenting on our posts, providing that much needed encouragement that we all need to keep us in the blogging game.  This blogging community is the best in the world because it involves the whole world.  A to Z is a blogging phenomena!

      If you have a Reflections post ready or you would like to write one, please visit the A to Z Challenge Blog to sign up.   Be sure to read the directions before adding your link to the list! 

Battle of the Bands Results


 
       For my most recent Battle of the Bands I wound up my A to Z Manhattan inspired theme by using Leon Russell's song "Manhattan Island Serenade".    Since I figured Leon's original version was not all that well known, I put it up against a version renamed "Oude Maasweg" by the Dutch band The Amazing Stroopwafels.   Their version begins with Russell's English lyrics and ends with additional verses in Dutch.  If you missed this Battle and would like a listen to the versions you can find it here.

      The Dutch version by the Stroopwafels took an amazing lead from the very start.  Though Leon Russell made a valiant effort to catch up, the Stroopwafels retained their lead throughout the contest.  This was surprising to me since I had figured that the majority of voters would go with Leon Russell's original version.   However, some were not familiar with Russell's version and the Stroopwafels swayed voters with their harmonies, smoother sound, and the guitar solo in the break.  This is what won me over as well, putting my vote with the majority who voted for The Amazing Stroopwafels.  Another surprising outcome in Battle of the Bands.


Final Vote Tally:

Amazing Stroopwafels     19

Leon Russell                      10    

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Don't Miss the Next Battle!

       My next Battle of the Bands post will appear this coming Sunday May 15th.  This Battle might be my most controversial yet.   The reactions might encompass a range including derision, appreciation, mirth, and perhaps even anger.  The song will be from an album that I have enjoyed listening to over the past month and think is one of the better albums released in recent years.   But what can I say other than, again, it all comes down to taste.  I like what I like.   I'll be offering a clue to the upcoming song with a post on Wednesday which will be part of my series on "Love and Ego".    Hope you will join me for these upcoming posts.

         Do you agree with my assessment of the 2016 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge?   Would you consider yourself to be a Leon Russell fan?   What do you think might be a highly controversial artist or music style for me to use in my upcoming Battle of the Bands match up?

67 comments:

  1. Wonderful Reflection Lee. As thought I did went wrong on the Linky List.
    This was a wonderful year for the Challenge.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, 7 years for you! It's hard to believe we've come so far. Thanks for doing another Challenge.

      Lee

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  2. Biggest and the best. Good outweighs the bad. Great summing up of the challenge. Agree on all counts. Thank you.

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    1. Nilanjana, Glad you agree. I like to see the positive side of things and find ways to fix the negatives. Thanks for your visits to my blog posts during April.

      Lee

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  3. A to Z is definitely a blogging phenomenon and we have you to thank for that, Lee, along with your co-hosts! ☺ Where else can you meet such a diverse group of bloggers from all over the world? Even though I was struggling, I'll definitely do it again next year.

    Your BOTB posts are always enjoyable and unusual. One never knows what to expect. I like Leon Russell, but the Stroopwafels deserved the win, in my opinion.

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    1. Debbie D., you didn't seem to be struggling too bad--at least you covered it up well if you were. Yes, we convene with the world of bloggers each April and it's pretty exciting.

      I was surprised by the Stroopwafels sound. I was glad I found their version so I could use Russell's song to end up my April theme.

      Lee

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    2. Having to write A to Z posts in April puts a definite crimp in the social aspect and there were times I was completely overwhelmed. Good thing I'm a night person and don't need much sleep. ☺

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  4. Heather did a great job keeping it all together for us.

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    1. Alex, Heather did a great job as did you and everyone else who got involved.

      Lee

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  5. Amazing Stroopwafels... with a name like that, they HAD to be good!

    Quite a blowout for poor Leon on his own song. Well, in BOTB, stuffs happens.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. STMcC, I was really surprised about how far behind Leon was in the voting. He can be a bit of acquired taste though. I didn't care for him when I first heard him and it took a while for me to appreciate his music. Great songwriting helps.

      Lee

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  6. Hi, Lee!

    Your BOTB vote count surprises me, too. I voted for the Stroopwafels and I am not used to being on the winning side. :) The multi-talented Leon Russell deserves his props and I am happy to see that he collected a respectable number of votes.

    Have a wonderful week, good buddy Lee!

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    1. Shady, I would have been shocked and disappointed if Leon had done any worse.

      Lee

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  7. I do like your thought about the problems from the challenge that seem to keep on from year to year. This was my 4th one and the complaints I had from year one I still have after this one was done (mainly how hard it is to leave comments on some people's blogs). I think if people follow the general guidelines of the challenge, they will have a successful challenge. I too picked up some new blogs to continue to read through the year, which is one of the reasons I do the challenge; otherwise I more than likely would not have found those particular blogs.

    Thanks to you and all who put on the challenge and strive to keep it going.

    betty

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    1. Betty, due to the differences between blogging platforms I don't know that there is anything we at A to Z could do to fix the problems. Maybe we need to educate more about how to cross comment more easily.

      Lee

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  8. There are minor quibbles with the challenge, but it's too much fun to pass up. Thanks for coming up with this awesome idea, Arlee.

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    1. Patricia, life is filled with quibbles, but we keep on living. A to Z might be thought of as a blog metaphor about life. Thanks for supporting A to Z.

      Lee

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  9. The A to Z went well for me again this year and I will be back in 2017.

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    1. Tamara, thank you for this good report. Always like to hear from a happy participant who wants to come back.

      Lee

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  10. Thank you, Lee, for the very idea of the A to Z. I know you're constantly thinking of ways to improve what is already pretty terrific.

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    1. Susan GK, I'm always thinking, now if only I was smarter to figure out some of those ideas. But it's still pretty cool thanks to people like you and all the other supporters.

      Lee

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  11. Generally speaking, your brainchild continues to be a most enjoyable platform for bringing folks together :-) Congratulations on managing two blogs for the entire challenge - awesome!

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    1. Diedre, I think the good outweighs the bad. Thanks for providing me the support to continue.

      Lee

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  12. It is a great idea, Lee, one I hope to join soon. I've been to many of the participating blogs and will continue to visit others. Thanks for this opportunity!

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    1. Victoria, supporting the participants is a huge help so thank you for doing that part. Hope you can join in sometime.

      Lee

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  13. I don't know about 'highly controversial' music for BOTB, but several punk rock bands covered songs. The Dickies did a really fast version of 'Paranoid' which I like better than Black Sabbath's. The Sex Pistols covered 'Roadrunner'.

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    1. JoJo, in BOTB I've found that "controversial" can cover many things. I think I've got one that could initially be construed as controversial.

      Lee

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  14. Yay, the Stroopwafals won! I love the name!!
    And I totally agree with you assessment of the Challenge. It was indeed a grand event this year. Aside from the few gripes I had (which are common complaints from years past), it was an awesome A-Z. I'm trying to think of a theme that would be fun to do for next year and can't come up with anything yet. I think I might be a little pooped out in the idea department...
    Another great achievement Lee. Thanks for all your hard work.

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. PS: I LOVED LOVED LOVED your Manhattan theme! GREAT idea that was.

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    2. Michele, Thank you--that Manhattan theme is an example of how an idea can just kind of hit you and fuel the imagination. You'll probably have the same thing happen to you. You've got a lot of months to think about it. "Manhattan" came to me at the beginning of January and was inspired by BOTB in that I wanted something that would all tie together easily.

      Lee

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  15. Well done Mr B, the support team did grand this year. Upward and onward.

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    1. Ooooo not sure about other folk but the pic at the top of the post is showing as a broken link. . . It might just be me this PC does odd stuff.

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    2. Rob, the team members probably did more than I did, but whatever the case I'm content. Everything looks good on the page on my computer. Maybe yours was just slow loading or something.

      Lee

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  16. Lee, I enjoyed your rear view perspective of the 2016 A2Z challenge. I think I'm guilty of rehashing the same things from year to year. Next time, I will try to model this post in things I learn next April. It's all a learning process and a fun one at that! I wish I had read more of your posts during April, but failed a lot of blogger buds in that attempt. I am going to take things easy and get posts caught up the coming months. I did do something right, though. My artist won this BoTB! Have a good week!

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    1. Cathy, so much to say, but I've said it before and wanted to keep this post simple. I felt like you were there for all of my posts, but no matter--you were there for a lot of them.

      Lee

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  17. Arlee, you and all the co-hosts and helpers deserve a big Thank You for keeping the A to Z going! Connecting with new bloggers is one of the best parts of the experience, and it is part of the reason I will most likely participate again. The challenge was great this year!

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    1. Elizabeth, so glad to hear the positive assessment. Thanks for the encouragement.

      Lee

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  18. This was my second year doing the challenge and I'll definitely be back for more. It's great fun and a wonderful way to meet other bloggers. Thanks to you and the team for organizing and managing this phenomenal event.

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    1. Ellen, so glad to know that the Challenge has been working well for you. Thank you for letting me know your thoughts.

      Lee

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  19. There is a certain amount of buzz and excitement in the airwaves during the challenge. I love being part of it. Thanks for starting it and keeping it going. You're a great writer/connector!
    Mary at Play off the Page

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    1. Mary, thank you so much! April has become an exciting time for so many bloggers.

      Lee

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  20. Arlee I had no idea you had juggling skills but should have guessed from your deft handling of the challenge. That's something I've been meaning to learn but am a complete klutz. Maybe someday.

    Also was not aware of the BOTB aspect of your blog. This may have been done. If not, maybe fodder for a future battle?? http://www.musictimes.com/articles/8508/20140807/8-ring-fire-covers-ranked-alan-jackson-frank-zappa-blondie.htm

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    1. Lissa, I don't recall anyone having used "Ring of Fire" in a Battle yet. I have it in my someday line-up, but don't know when I'll ever get to it. Interesting article though.

      Lee

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  21. Congratulations on seven years of successful challenges. That, in an of itself, is praiseworthy. Despite a crazy month for myself, I had a successful challenge as well. I'm still out there visiting new blogs and already preparing for next year's challenge.

    Thank you for starting this challenge, and keeping it running annually.

    Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle

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    1. Mary, seven years is not too shabby--not something I would have expected when I first started this event with less than 100 participants.

      Lee

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  22. Congrats on the success of your 2016 A-to-Z! I really enjoyed it this year and it was a great way to get out of my blog-funk. I'll be back next year, if you'll have me, lol.

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    1. Cherdo, of course we'll have you back! I'm happy to hear this good report from you.

      Lee

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  23. Arlee, I must firstly thank you and the team for hosting another fantastic A-Z. In my reflections I suggested that a category FF would be useful for flash fiction writers , and it has gone down a storm with those who have left comments. WR is such a wide remit that finding other FF writers is a bit hit and miss. Cathy Kennedy suggested I mention it to you, so now I have! Thanks again Arlee.

    Visit Keith's Ramblings

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    1. Keith, this sounds like a good suggestion as many have written flash fiction for the Challenge in the past. We'll most likely have some revamping to come before the next Challenge comes our way.

      Lee

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  24. I just feel that we should all remember that the A to Z is a place to have fun! Learn about what others are writing, meet new people and don't stress about it. I enjoyed your Manahttan A to Z and I always feel like I am learning. I am not surprised by anything you pick for your Battle because you have such an eclectic taste which I like.

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    1. I love the A to Z Challenge, thanks so much for putting it all together. Overall, it is really a positive experience, and I'm surprised that so many people this year said they didn't bother commenting on any other blogs - that's the best part! The only thing that consistently bothers me is having to remove links from every comment - I get it, they want a return visit and a backlink but leaving your url in the box does that. Leaving links in the comment itself just looks spammy and has a negative effect on SEO
      Debbie

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    2. Birgit, I hope you'll like my next eclectic selection. I'm afraid a few might be turned off by it, but that's probably influenced by something other than the music.

      Lee

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    3. Debbie, funny but though I heard in Reflections posts that some bloggers said they didn't bother commenting, I didn't see that anywhere. But enough people said so I guess they saw that somewhere.

      I like the links in a comment so I can find a blogger, but I'm not happy to receive a meaningless "Nice Blog" sort of comment with a link. In fact I usually delete anything like that.

      Lee

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    4. Debbie thanks for mentioning the opposing view regarding links, as I am unclear about that as well. I've seen several bloggers complaining that commenters don't provide links, and that we should all have some sort of signature in our comments. My question has been: most blogs ask me for my name, my email, my website, and often my Twitter name before I can post a comment. Where is all that info going, if not to the blogger? I just didn't see the reason for duplication.

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    5. Lissa, I've seen a few complaining about that too. When you fill in those details, the person who's blog it is does see your email address and blog link and it is easy enough to just click on it there to make a return visit so I was quite confused that people complained about a lack of links. I never leave one because I don't want to look spammy to Google (or anyone else lol)

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    6. Lee, I'm with you completely on the "Nice blog" comments. We're all writers, finding two meaningful sentences to say shouldn't be that hard really should it! ;)

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    7. I was about to look into adding a signature somehow until I saw your posts. Damaging to SEO and interpreted as spam is all I need to hear - forget it :)

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  25. I love the AtoZ challenge. I had an enjoyable time even though I was stressed for parts of it because of my weekend get-away. I also enjoyed being a first time minion, though for various reasons, I felt I was very effective. As for my own reflection post, I finally have that posted as well as the results from my most recent BOTB. However, I have decided I'm going to sit out the next BOTB to work on some writing. Which I'll get right one once I've finished catching up on BOTB results and reflection post reading. By next week, I'll be free of blogging till June.

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    1. Jeffrey, hope you have a fruitful break from blogging. I should probably do that sometime during the summer when I'm travelling, but I probably won't knowing me.

      Lee

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  26. Hi Lee,

    Well done on completing your alphabet challenge. It might have well been a better year of such a long, drawn-out challenge. This year, I didn't receive any emails from bloggers who were struggling and felt a lot of anxiety doing it. Yes, I've been, like always, discreetly helping out in the background.

    All the best,

    Gary

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    1. Gary, I guess if fewer people are complaining that must mean the blogged world has resigned itself to accept that the A to Z Challenge is here to stay. Your presence is always appreciated.

      Lee

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  27. Thanks for all of the hard work you put into the A-Z challenge. This was my third year participating and my first year coming up with and sticking to a theme. Doing that definitely made it more difficult, but I also enjoyed it more this year than I have any other year. I'm already looking forward to next year!

    I don't think I read any of your posts on the Manhattan project, so I'll have to go back and read through those. It was hard finding time to visit so many blogs! And I know I missed a bunch! I guess that's what the Road Trip challenge is for. Looking forward to that! :)

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    1. M&J, visiting all the blogs is definitely hard to do in a month's time, but now we can explore other participant blogs throughout the year. Thanks for being a part of the A to Z community.

      Lee

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  28. Great reflections and so glad I found this challenge - looking forward to next year.

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  29. Thank you Arlee for coming up with such an ingenious idea to get world wide engagement. It was a challenge but I wonder how wide my blog's reach was?
    Ive been commenting regularly and even posting regularly but seem to have missed somethings non somewhere. Please do let me know what I've done wrong . Linking ? Posting? Content?
    Thanks for your input
    Bellybytes@unishta from
    MumbaiOnAHigh

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    1. BB, hard to say what you did wrong if anything. The main thing though is whether or not you enjoyed yourself. The networking is nice, but if you don't have fun doing the A to Z then it's a chore.

      I'll look at your blog to see if I can find any suggestions to give you.

      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