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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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Ain't No Time for the Summertime News (#BOTB Results)



I don't mind working while on a vacation so long as someone is paying my expenses.  Come to think of it I'd rather work than do certain summer activities...


       Gosh, it's almost summer.  I've been pondering our travels for the upcoming months.  We'll basically do our same road trip round of going back to the east coast to visit family in New Jersey and Tennessee.   It's a frantic fun time, but so much easier when I've carefully mapped out the route and scheduled rest stops and overnight stays.  We've done this plenty of times now so I've got the routine down fairly well.

        Or do I?   Road trips make good metaphors.  By the way, I'd mentioned that I'd started writing a song back during April A to Z.  Now I've finished it and I think I've got a good one.  Next I've got to get some kind of recording made, but that's just part of the process.  In this post I'm just establishing the fact that I've written this song just in case I need this as documentation for something someday.  I mean--who knows what can happen?

        I might also add that this song I wrote is also a metaphor.  Not only do I like metaphors, I also like the word "metaphor."   But enough of this ramble.  No time for this now.  Must be moving on to some other things.

       Things like...


Battle of the Bands Results


         The musical match between Dinah Shore and Ozzie Nelson was another squeaker with my vote for Ozzie almost making this previous Battle a tied outcome.  Alas, my guy didn't win, but the lady can take her bow for the win.

Final Vote Tally

Ozzie Nelson            7

Dinah Shore             8

Next Battle on Friday June 1st

       In upcoming weeks my Battles will be geared toward summer themes.  Summer gets my mind to dreaming and thinking, but I guess that's the case all the time.  The mind never really goes on vacation.

        How long of a road trip do you think you could endure if all of your expenses were covered?  Do you prefer to travel according to a well planned schedule or just setting out on a blind adventure to see where life takes you?   Are you going to be following the A to Z Road Trip?







Tuesday, May 15, 2018

I'll Never Say Never Again Again (#BOTB)


      Words like "always" or "never" are overly rigid so I try not to use them, but I'm never successful and always end up using them at some point...


            For the past few years I've considered not doing the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge any more.  It's partly a result of the stress I've felt due to doing the Challenge, but my reluctance to continue is also due to a certain amount of frustration and disappointment I feel about the Challenge not being conducted in a way that is consistent with the Challenge of my dreams.

           Then, each May, it's all over and a lot of people seem happy and excited and I start thinking about the next year.   This past fall I was feeling especially despondent about doing another A to Z because of a number of factors that I won't go into in this post.   Thankfully my longtime A to Z blogging associate J Lenni Dorner got the ball rolling for me.

          Fellow blogger John Holton also provided his technical expertise which got us out of a few fixes that I certainly didn't know what to do with.  I almost feel like I grew up with John as we share many similar life experiences from what I've gathered on reading his blog.

           Csenge has also been helping for several years and was willing to provide her support again. New A to Z Team member Jayden brilliantly handled the lists and even provided helpful technical support to make finding participants more easily. 

             As long as I have other bloggers who want to keep A to Z going then I'm encouraged.  But it's like a lot of things in life.  I've tried to make a conscious effort of not saying that I'll never do something again.  It's a limiting phrase and I like to keep my options open. 

           I'm not going to say that I'll never say never again when there is some possibility that I will.  I might say it, but I try not to. 

Battle of the Bands


    Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some blogs there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle on the 1st of the month.   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.


I'll Never Say "Never Again" Again

          Last year I happened upon an episode of The Jack Benny Show (one of my favorite shows from childhood) that featured Frankie Avalon singing a song that I had heard all of my life, but I couldn't exactly place the song.  Then I realized it was actually a meshing of two songs--"Never Say Never Again Again" and "Taking a Chance on Love"--cleverly interwoven.   Battle idea inspired!

         Since I couldn't find anyone else doing what Avalon did, I decided to focus on one song only--"Never Say Never".  Sometime later I'll do another Battle with "Taking a Chance", but that will be like eventually rather than right away.  But I'll never say never!

         For this Battle I'll be matching two very different versions by two artists who were stars of  television shows in the fifties...

Ozzie Nelson  "I'll Never Say 'Never Again' Again"  (1935)

        Ozzie Nelson had a long career as a band leader/singer as well as a star of stage, screen, radio, and television.  I grew up watching the Nelson family in "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet".  Now the music of son Ricky Nelson is more well known than Dad Ozzie, but still those cats back then could really swing...





Dinah Shore  "I'll Never Say 'Never Again' Again" (1957)

        Twenty-two years after Ozzie did it, Dinah did it in her own sultry way.  She'd been a musical star for almost as long as Ozzie and hosted several popular television shows into the 1990's.  Dinah's arrangement of this song is very similar to the one I'd heard by Frankie Avalon so I'm guessing he was basing his version on hers.  It's a sound of the times...





Time to Vote!

       
  Come on and play. What's your favorite between these two choices? Which song version do you like best? You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

         Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Angel's Bark  


Debbie Doglady's Den

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside 



Winner of this Battle Announced on Tuesday May 22

         That will likely be the next day I post here, but if inspired I will write.   The next Battle of the Bands post on my blog will be Friday June 1st.  Summer songs are a-comin'!


           Have you ever felt like quitting and then were lifted into action by others?  Did you ever say you definitely were not going to do something only to change your mind?   Do you have any favorite old television shows?  






Friday, May 11, 2018

Happy Mother's Day!!!



Thought I'd post this last minute Mother's Day video message that was created by my daughter Ada Z.   She's been doing some great video work (not just my opinion).  Hope you enjoy it!  Please share with others and maybe you can go to YouTube and "Like" Ada's video and maybe add your comment of support on that page.   Comments below are also welcomed.







        Don't forget the Moms in your life.  Mother's Day (in the U.S.) is this Sunday May 13th.








Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Moving to the Next Thing ( #BOTB Results)


        The next thing on this blog is the results of my most recent Battle of the Bands post.  But first a word...



Once again Jeremy Hawkins has designed a special T shirt to commemorate this year's challenge.
2018 Blogging from A to Z Challenge T shirts now available!   For info visit A to Z T shirts.


Battle of the Bands Results


     This past Battle was the song "My Favorite Things" with versions from a current car commercial and some creepy video by an interesting performer:  Nora Khalif and Joe Raciti.

      Nora's version first caught my attention and Joe's fixated it and honed it into an odd fascination.  I liked both versions, but there's more to Joe's version and that's where my vote went.  I guess I'm getting pretty good at this BOTB game.  This Battle stayed very close.

Final Results

Nora           9 votes

Joe             11 votes

Next Battle on May 15th 









Sunday, May 6, 2018

#AtoZ Reflections for 2018





           This was my ninth year at the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  It's always been a somewhat frantic time for me in regard to my blog, but invariably some family crisis or event has arisen which made blogging more difficult for me.  But this year--as Frank Sinatra might sing--it was a very good year.

         Thanks to the incredible A to Z Team-- 
Zalka Csenge Virág @ The Multicolored DiaryJohn Holton @The Sound of One Hand TypingJ Lenni Dorner @ Blog of J Lenni DornerJayden R Vincente @ J R Vincente Erotica Writer
--my job was made so much easier and every problem that I was aware of got quickly remedied by the great minds that were assembled to run this year's Challenge.  A huge Thank You to the Team and to all the players who joined us on our alphabetical blog run of 2018.

         There is an excellent survey for A to Z participants and followers alike.  I hope you will follow this link and help us with your input.  There is also some other cool information.  

         Please stop by to thank the above linked A to Z Team members.  They really did an amazing job.

          I look forward to reading some of this year's batch of Reflections.

          Thanks to everybody who visited this blog during the April Challenge or ever any other time.










Tuesday, May 1, 2018

My Favorite Things (#BOTB) (#IWSG)



          Another successful year of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is now almost behind us.  The letter posts are done but don't forget to join us in our annual Reflections posts starting Monday May 7th.   And visit the A to Z Blog on May 3rd to participate in our after Challenge poll.  We have some questions for you and want to know your thoughts...





Insecure Writer's Support Group

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

The awesome co-hosts for the May 2 posting of the IWSG are E.M.A. Timar, J. Q. Rose, C.  LeeMcKenzie, and Raimey Gallant! Please visit their blogs to say hello and thank you!



May 2 question - It’s spring! Does this season inspire you to write more than others, or not?

         This is a question that I've never thought about before hence I'm not sure that I can provide any quantifiable answer--that is until the past several years.  One certain thing is that since I've been doing the A to Z Challenge I definitely write more in March and April, even if it is only blog posts.  For me that's writing as much as anything is. 

         Furthermore, with the A to Z writing comes a flood of ideas for future writing and other projects.  I even started some new future blog posts.  I've also been reassessing who I am as a writer and where I should take things next.  And most exciting for me at the moment is that during the past week I've written a song that I think is a pretty darn good one and I'll be polishing that up over the next couple of weeks. 

         When I was still in college I can recall springtime calling me out to read and write on grassy lawns or in one of the student facilities geared toward studious activities.  But then I think I was writing about equally in all seasons.  Now I don't see any connection to writing and seasons other than the A to Z Blogging.   I'm thankful that I've got that event to spur me on.

Battle of the Bands


Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some blogs there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle on the 1st of the month.   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.


My Favorite Things

        Some of my favorite things are the Blogging from A to Z Challenge and Insecure Writer's Support Group.   One of my most favorite things is Battle of the Bands which is why I haven't missed a one of these since they first started about five years ago.  That's a lot of Battles with a lot of great music! 

         BOTB co-founder Stephen T. McCarthy (as well as others) and I have pondered the question of why some people like certain things better than others.  The concept of "favorites" can be perplexing at times and probably would require a fairly in-depth study why some of us like certain things while others don't.  If anyone has an answer to this question I welcome your input on this subject.

        In the past few weeks I started hearing a song on a Volvo commercial that sounded vaguely familiar.  I didn't pay too much attention at first, but as the song started securing itself in my brain I started paying attention to it.  At that point I realized I was hearing an updated electronica version of "My Favorite Things" from Sound of Music

         I happen to know that this is a favorite song of my friend Stephen T McCarthy because we've discussed it in the past.   On the other hand, as I have mentioned to STMcC, "Favorite Things" is far from my favorite things.  I don't dislike hearing it, but I think it might be something about the lyrics that I don't care for.   As I have conceded to Stephen in the past, I do agree that the melody is very nice which is probably why I like the song better as an instrumental than a vocal number.

       Hearing the Volvo commercial repeatedly eventually earwormed the song into my head--or at least this version.   The immediacy of hearing this commercial decided my first post-A-to-Z blog post.   All other songs in my queue get knocked down a notch as this May Day round matches two versions of the song "My Favorite Things"...
         

Nora Khalif  "My Favorite Things"  (2018)

        I don't have any info on the artist, but this is the commercial version of a recording that presumably is still in the works for a longer version sometime down the road.   At least this version is very short which makes it a good pick for Battle of the Bands...

       






Joe Raciti  "My Favorite Things"  (2010)

        If we're going with odd versions of an old classic, then this "creepy" version seems to fit that bill.   I didn't research to find anything about the artist, but I did watch several of his videos.  He's got some interesting stuff on YouTube if you are intrigued after watching this video.   But first listen to his version of "Favorite Things"--and if you are able to do so you might enjoy watching the video--it's kind of weird, but good...







Time to Vote!

    
   
  Please vote. What's your favorite between these two choices? Which song version do you like best? You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside 



Winner of this Battle Announced on Tuesday May 8th

          Hope you'll stop by for my A to Z Reflections post on Monday May 7th, but definitely if you've voted in this current contest then you'll want to see who comes out on top.   By the way, due to a death in the family I will be away from the computer until Friday May 4th on which day I will hopefully make it around to all of the other BOTB posts.  Hope you'll bear with me on this, but it was not in my plans.

            Will you be submitting an A to Z Reflections post this year?    When you write do you tend to get a renewed creative energy to do more things?   Do you like hearing old classic songs in updated unconventional versions?