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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Monday, October 15, 2018

Alligator Man (#BOTB)


       Halloween is that time when we can be whoever we want to be and as stupid as we want to be.  Sounds like the story of my life...

Arlee Bird with brother Jeff--What is this?  The Great Pumpkin Competition?
 A Halloween Story     

      I don't seem to have many pictures of my youngest brother Jeff, but I never saw him that often after I left home.  The few pictures I have of me and him together are not very good from a technical standpoint, still that's what I've got now.  He died unexpectedly last November.  I still think of him a lot.

        Jeff was born on Halloween of 1962, a year before we moved from San Diego.  In those days Halloween was a big event for me--a day that consumed many days of thought both before and after the day had passed.  All my life I had liked Halloween as well as all things scary--not so much now, but I attribute many great memories to Halloween.

         As I entered my forties with a family for which to provide, I moved to Downey California in 1991 to manage a wholesale warehouse that distributed primarily Halloween costumes.  That old joy of childhood was now a year round job.  Every day for the next eighteen years the accoutrements of Halloween were all around me.

          Then in 2009 my branch closed.  We were in California so that was a factor (some of you might understand what I mean).  There was also a matter of changing times that brought new ways of marketing and delivery of product.  Our company was feeling the same impact that many companies have felt in recent decades.   Fixtures and remaining product were sent back to the home office in Charlotte North Carolina.  I stayed behind.

            The end of this story is the beginning of another.  To retell this story that some of you might have missed in past posts where I discussed it, as I tried to find another job in a time when jobs were tough to find, I began to write a blog.  My blog theme was Halloween.  My first many posts were related to Halloween and the Halloween business.

             In a pumpkin shell, that's the story of Tossing It Out--or at least this blog's beginnings. Over the past many years this blog has evolved through a number of themes and topics.  The main thing I've been doing on this site of late is Battle of the Bands.  That's what I'm doing in this current post and as noted in my previous post my theme will be Halloween related.  Well, kind of...



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.

Alligator Man

       This song originally written and performed by Cajun Country artist Jimmy C Newman (you can find his original version here) has been recorded a number of times by a range of artists.  The song is about a bayou dweller who catches alligators for a living as opposed to some guy who dresses up like an alligator or even looks like an alligator.

        So what's the Halloween connection?   This song first caught my attention when I heard it recently while watching the movie Dracula A.D. 1972.  When I saw that the film was going to be on TCM I felt compelled to watch it.  In my youth I had been a big fan of films from the Hammer Film Studios which made this film.  Also 1972 is a year that I've always considered to be a milestone of sorts in my life.  For one thing I turned 21 that year.  I don't actually remember many specifics of that year other than I was attending the University of Tennessee at the time.

        In any case, when I heard the Stoneground version of "Alligator Man" I had to look it up on YouTube and discovered that with the many versions available it would make a good song for Battle.  So here we are with an ersatz Halloween Battle using what I think is a pretty cool song.  See if you like it as well and which version you enjoy the most...



Fairport Convention   "Alligator Man"  (1971)

            Fairport Convention is a British folk rock band that has had a long reign that produced a number of impressive solo acts. A version of the band continues to perform, but looking at their website it looks like they won't be coming to the United States anytime soon.  Their version of "Alligator Man" stays somewhat close to the original with a touch of rock and roll...






Stoneground   "Alligator Man"  (1972)

          Watching Stoneground perform this song in Dracula A.D. 1972 they look pretty much like the consummate hippy band.  You can watch the movie clip here--they perform the entire song along with some visual shtick that's kind of fun.  Some of the members of the band went on to form the group Pablo Cruise.

          See what you think:  Do you enjoy this song more done as a rock and roll tune?









Time to Vote!

       
Don't be scared to 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  


Debbie Doglady's Den

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside



Winner of this Battle Announced Monday October 22nd

        We'll have a winner next Monday as long as some of you have voted.  I do appreciate your votes.   And maybe I'll have something else to say on that day.  I mean, I don't think I'm just gonna come here and announce winners and that's all.  But you never know.

           Have you seen Dracula A.D. 1972?  Are you a fan of Cajun style country music?    Was Halloween a big deal for you when you were a kid?







Monday, October 8, 2018

I Don't Care Because I Do Care (#BOTB Results)


       Life is filled with paradoxes, the biggest one being that life itself is a paradox.  Have you ever seen how much you can do in one single minute?  I've had dreams that lasted mere seconds yet seemed like lifetimes...


Arlee Bird with youngest daughter Angelina in March of 2006

         Being a father is a whopper of a responsibility.  So is being a son, a sibling, a friend, or a decent neighbor to people I rarely see and often don't know their names.  Sometimes I become overwhelmed by my own smallness in a huge world in an infinite universe.   Things that I care about are literally all over the map.

          I'll eventually figure out the solution with which I feel most comfortable or have to accept.  Until then, here is the main point of this current post...

Battle of the Bands Results


        My most recent Battle was between two versions of the old standard "If I Didn't Care" as performed by the Ink Spots and David Cassidy.  I was hesitant with this pairing as I thought the original Ink Spots version might clean Cassidy's clock.  But apparently my better judgment worked once again to present a good race.

        Cassidy does a very credible job with his version and he still has fans as shown by his good showing out of the starting gate.  Then the Ink Spots took a strong lead and my vote goes to make that a one vote bigger lead giving them the win.  Still it was a nice showing for the late teen idol.

Final Vote Tally

Ink Spots                  16

David Cassidy          11


Next Battle on Monday October 15th

          Maybe I'll tie into Halloween or something seasonal for this next one.  Whatever it is I hope to make it a good one.

          Have you ever woken from a sleep that seemed to have lasted for hours and then realize you were only asleep for a few minutes?   Is your family geographically scattered?  Are they scattered in any other ways? 







Monday, October 1, 2018

If I Didn't Care (#BOTB) (#IWSG)


If we don't have some bad in life it's harder to appreciate the good.  Even though I've had my share of the bad, I can't say that I'd envy anyone else's life no matter how good it seemed...


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 co-hosts for the October 3 posting of the IWSG are Dolorah @ Book Lover,Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, and Chemist Ken!


October 3 question - How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?


        Maybe I care too much about what's going on in my life even though some might say that I don't seem to care about much of anything. Over the past year or so I haven't been writing much and I can point to major life events hitting me from all sides.  It's all been a distraction for sure, but somewhere within me I have the power to write.  I've seemed to have developed a strange aversion to writing of late.

          A lazy streak within me plays a discernible role in my lack of writing initiative, but still there is a spark that is failing to roar into a blaze of creativity.  Frequently I think about what I want to write or what I might write eventually.  Ideas and words continually flow in and out of my sphere of thought.  Then I get distracted by my world, my life.  Writing gets put on hold again.

        In my past I have often retreated into writing as a means of expressing myself or venting my emotions.  Writing for the most part helped me get through high school and college--and I mean writing aside from that which was required by my classes.  Through stories I could escape into worlds where my real life troubles were translated into fantasy which in turn was cycled into expression of my feelings and my beliefs.  My writing was my communication to some unknown reader in some other point in time.

         As I have alluded to in previous posts, my writing that has been fueled by my most intensely troubled times has typically been songs.  Lately my songwriting drive has returned, not so much due to any painfully emotional times, but a complex series of events and circumstances that have come together to create that perfect storm of dilemma.  Don't get me wrong:  Life has been good.  Still, there is a diversion of thought present that makes me want to escape into song more than story.

          In the meantime there are my memoirs to which I must return.  There are novels and short stories.  I need to write, but for now I apparently don't want to write.  Well, I want to write, but I am not compelled in the way that would work to my advantage as a writer.

           Writing calls.  I keep hearing songs.  Those are what I will write for now and hopefully I can find a way to get them recorded in a way that does them justice.

           Anyone want to start a band?

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.


If I Didn't Care

        The #IWSG questions along with my current patterns of thought in this year led me to use this wonderful song that has been a tune that I've heard throughout my life.  Some of you might remember this song from the film The Shawshank Redemption.  It's a song that has been oft recorded since its original introduction in 1939 by The Ink Spots.  Such a haunting melody expressing thoughts that we've all likely experienced. 

        Caring can be painful and distracting, but if we never cared about anything then we would lack passion.  A life without passion is not a life that I'd want to live.

The Ink Spots  "If I Didn't Care"  (1939)

       As with many other BOTB participants, I usually will avoid an original.  In the case of this recording, since it is so old it might be new for some of you. Anyway, it's old and maybe it's not your cup of tea.  You'll just have to listen and decide...




David Cassidy  "If I Didn't Care"  (1974)

          If you were around in the 1970's then you'll likely know the name of David Cassidy  He was quite a teen idol back then with his string of hit records and as a regular on the television show The Partridge Family.  I saw him live in 1981 when he was touring with a stage production of George M. Cohan's Little Johnny Jones. After that I had a whole new perspective of his talent as he did a nice job in that show.   Anyway, here is his more modern take on "If I Didn't Care"...






Time to Vote!

       
I do care about your vote so I hope you will participate.  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 Monday October 8th

        Same place, same time next week.  Come back to see which version wins the most votes.  Have a great week.  I will try to do the same.

          When have you cared so much about something that it interfered with your life?   Do you ever feel like a passionate personal pursuit has been in vain?   Have you ever wanted to just totally get away from your life to do something that might seem crazy to others?