Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2018 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Cleaning the Clutter"--I might literally be cleaning my closets or figuratively clearing the excess from some other part of my life. I'm sure you can think of other things this could mean for you as well.

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

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Watching the World Go By (#BOTB Results)


The dreamer in me makes me see this world as a wonderful place.  Then this old world slaps me around and knocks me down leaving me battered and bruised.   Still, I intend to make the Dreamer win--even if it kills me...


Arlee Bird with daughter Ada @ 1984

       Life seems much like a parade to me.  Sometimes I might be just watching it go by while at other times I'm marching in step to the flow of it all.  All might be crazy wonderful in one moment, then comes just the moving forward, ever forward.   No matter what,  we're all a part of that parade whether it be marching, watching, or just knowing that it keeps on going.

        Sometime around Thanksgiving of 1964, my family's juggling act participated in the Chicago Christmas Parade.  We were living in northeastern Indiana at the time--about 40 miles from The Loop as downtown Chicago is called.  The parade was there. 

         We had to leave the house at some wee hour of the morning.  We got dressed in our show apparel before leaving and put heavy coats over that because it was very cold.  Chicagoland tends to get extremely bitter harsh cold in late November.  Now here we were driving in the middle of the night dressed in silly costumes.  My father said we had to do it.  And my sister and I would each get $25 which was not bad for a thirteen year old like I was at the time.

         My father drove to a designated area where we could park and assemble with the parade which was organizing in a staging area.  We shucked our coats into the car.  Now my father and I were only wearing tuxedos with those thin pants that didn't offer much protection from the cold, but I guess it was better than my mother and sister who were wearing short costumes with black fishnets.

        I can't say how long that parade was but it was a long way to walk in the freezing cold while juggling.  Exerting the activity of both of those actions did warm us all up considerably.  At first the wooden handles of the clubs we were juggling slapping against our cold hands stung as though we'd been slapped in our open hands with a cane.   It hurt.  The cold hurt.  I was numb from being cold, tired, and generally overwhelmed by everything all around me.  And walking and juggling and walking and juggling.

        At the end of the parade route, we simply stopped juggling and got in a taxicab that took us back to the car.  I'm sure my father had that heat blasting in no time.  I had survived and now I would have twenty-five bucks.  My legs burned like they were on fire.  The numbness was gradually going away, but at the time it seemed like it lasted forever.

         I only marched in one other parade juggling along with my family.  We got paid for that one too.  It was a 4th of July parade in Johnson City, Tennessee.  Damn!  It was hot!  I'm not sure what's worse:  Juggling in a Christmas parade in Chicago or a July parade in Tennessee.   Neither I'd say.  They're both just fine because here I am still marching along.   Those parades were just parts of a much bigger parade.  I hope it still has a way to go, but when it does end I hope there's a warm taxi waiting for me.

Battle of the Bands Results



Where Is Your Heart?

        In my recent Battle between versions of "The Song from Moulin Rouge" known later as "Where Is Your Heart?", vocalist Joni James dominated the voting.  My vote goes to her version as well.  While the jazzed up Jonah Jones version is slick and catchy (it's been playing in my head a lot over the past couple of weeks), Joni's version is a lush melancholy arrangement such as the ones I've been used to hearing since childhood.  As many of you noted, the slower version is more fitting to the song's lyrics and intent.

       Without the lyrics and played at a faster tempo, Jonah Jones presents a fun performance that as both Stephen T. McCarthy and I noted as being similar to the style of the Ray Coniff Singers who were popular during the 1960s.  Or as Michael Todd pointed out in his humorous observation, "while I was listening to the Jonah Jones Quartet rendition, I was expecting to hear "Manamana" as sung by the Muppets".    Yeah, I can hear it.

      The Jonah Jones rendition has a lot of entertainment value and it's good music as well.  I liked it a lot.  But the version sung by Joni James has a lot of heart (that's appropriate) and evokes the emotion that the song intends.  Both versions are winners, but in this contest Joni James takes the trophy.

Final Vote Tally

Jonah Jones         7 votes

Joni James          12 votes



Next Battle on Friday December 15th

         There might be a post or two between now and then.  I live by whim these days.  That is unless I absolutely have to do something.  My next Battle will be one inspired by Stephen T McCarthy's recent Los Angeles showdown.    What you can expect to see on Tossing It Out next time are two different songs that are not exactly about Los Angeles, but both are filmed in Los Angeles from very different perspectives.  It's gonna be weird.

          Do you enjoy weird?   Do you like parades?   What are some parades you have been in (don't forget your school days!)?




26 comments:

  1. Juggling in the cold like that had to be quite a misery. I've always thought it was easier to be too hot than too cold. I always kept my classroom too warm for comfort. My students were always on the cold side. Then I go home and freeze; my family is hot natured. lol

    You were a good looking man back in 84. We didn't know how precious youth was back then did we?

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    1. Ann, it was misery at the time, but an interesting experience when I looked back. I only wish I had taken more time to observe more details about that event.

      Thanks for the compliment. I'd like to think that I'm still thought of as relatively good looking--at least for an old guy.

      Lee

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  2. I've marched in many parades, but I wasn't juggling at the time. That must've been difficult in the cold.

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    1. Alex, when it's very cold it doesn't matter what one is doing--it's cold and everything is uncomfortable.

      Lee

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  3. Not a bad Battle, LEE. It stayed within the 5-vote victory margin, which is the way I personally judge the competitiveness of my own Battles.

    Looking forward to your next one. Sounds like we'll be asked to vote on the videos as well as the songs(?)

    ~ D-FensDogG
    STMcC Presents 'Battle Of The Bands'

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    1. STMcC, yes I'll provide the voting options on the next Battle. I think both songs are somewhat compelling and the videos are fun to watch.

      Lee

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  4. Wow, juggling and marching at the same time! That's some dedication! I'd be distracted.

    I remember you are living in the LA area. I hope you and your family are safe.

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    1. Debby, I don't know about the dedication, but juggling while walking for a lengthy distance requires focus and good juggling muscles in the arms.

      We are well as the fires are relatively far from us.

      Lee

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  5. I walked in some cold parades when I did colour guard in 11th grade. And then Memorial Day was usually hot and humid. I did the Memorial Day parade a couple times in Blue Birds/Campfire Girls too.

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    1. JoJo, I recall marching in parades with my Cub Scout group and at other times that I don't quite recall why I was participating in the parades. When I was a kid it made me feel important to be in the parades with people lined up to watch, but truth is that probably no one noticed me except for my parents.

      Lee

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  6. My daughter was in twirling as a little punkin. I spent a summer getting deathly sick of "I Feel Like A Woman." I think I'm allergic of parades now.

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    1. CW, I don't rush out to see any parades. I'm allergic to big crowds and congested areas.

      Lee

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  7. OMG I did not know you were that young once, Lee :PPP Just kidding! Judging from that photo, methinks Ada is about my age

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    1. Dezmond, yes, amazing that I was once young. If you are about 35 then you about the same age as my daughter who is married with 3 beautiful children.

      Lee

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  8. Juggling and walking sure is a skill, even more so in the cold. And at least you go paid for joining in the parade.

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    1. Pat, as long as you can walk okay, once you've got the juggling down smoothly adding the walk almost comes naturally. If we hadn't gotten paid then I'm pretty sure my father would not have been doing it.

      Lee

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  9. As soon as I saw the words "my family's juggling act," I knew this was going to be a great one. It took me a minute to realize you meant it literally.

    Fantastic!

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    1. Harry, yes, the juggling theme of this blog and my persona is literal, but it also makes for some good metaphor. The juggling background was a rich part of my life experience.

      Lee

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  10. I love weird Andy consider it a badge if someone says I am weird. I commend you for having that ability to walk and juggle at the same time in cold and In The heat. I was never in a parade but I like them...my hubby hates them.

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    1. Birgit, I let it be known that I am weird if someone doesn't acknowledge it first. Walking and juggling is a few steps above walking and chewing gum.

      Lee

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  11. Lee,

    I enjoyed reading your story of your family's participation in Chicago's parade in the early 60s. I don't like the extremes and I wouldn't want to be outdoors if I didn't have to. However, I guess if I had to pick one then I guess I'd take an east Tennessee summer over a Chicagoland late fall (may as well be winter, right?). I'm glad Joni's heartfelt rendition won the battle showdown. She was my pick. :) See ya around Blogosphere this week, my friend!

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    1. Cathy, excessive heat can be might uncomfortable while excessive cold can be downright painful.

      Lee

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  12. I haven't properly watched a parade in years. They were more exciting when I was younger, but now I feel like if you've seen one parade, you've just about seen them all. They're fun to watch, but I've seen them in different variations so many times. Though one of these days, I'd love to travel to NYC for the gigantic Celebrate Israel Parade. It's been held in early June in recent years, though used to be in May.

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    1. Carrie-Anne, I've never heard of the Celebrate Israel Parade, but it's something worth celebrating. I agree that one parade is essentially much like another. Kids get the biggest kick out of a parade. For the rest of us I guess it's something to do, but I can always find something else worth doing more.

      Lee

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  13. Juggling in extreme temperatures, hot or cold, must have been fairly unpleasant, but as you say, you're still here to talk about it. ☺ Glad to be on the winning side in this battle. See you on the 15th!

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    1. Debbie, discomfort is relative and usually a minuscule part of most of our lives. A parade is nothing compared to what some humans have had to endure.

      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