This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

The Challenge of 2019 was the 10th! Since this was kind of a milestone year for A to Z my theme was a retrospective of sorts, looking at my 10 years as a blogger as well as ruminations about my life as it is and as I hope it yet can be. I've got places to be and people to see along the way. Hope you'll join me for this part of my journey...

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

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Who Got the Love? (#BOTB Results)


         Some days you just gotta get to where you're going next.  Right now that's me.  At least that seems like a good enough excuse for being lazy right now...

Battle of the Bands Results!


   
        I'm going to get to the point:  Who won my last Battle?   As a reminder it was Paul Weller versus Paul Carrack on the Bobby Blue Bland song "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City".  I kind of figured that this would be a tough race because this was one of those where I liked both performances a great deal.  Carrack's version was by far the most complex, diverse, and flashy presentation and this is a good one to see performed live.  However, my musical taste leans more in that tough choppy sound of Paul Weller. His version suggested the grittiness and edge of the mean side of the city.

        For me it was a vote for Paul Weller which edged him a bit closer to the winner Paul Carrack.  Great race!

 Final Vote Tally

Paul Weller                11 votes

Paul Carrack              13 votes

Next Battle on Friday February 1st

          Not sure where I'll go with this next one yet.  I've got a log jam of good--or at least interesting--Battles so I'm going to have to settle for one or come up with something completely different.  Don't forget to keep watching the A to Z Blog!






Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Pick a Paul on a Bland Song (#BOTB)


        We sometimes hear someone say how much they love this city or that.  Well, that feeling ain't mutual.  The city is a heartless place that doesn't play favorites...




 
The Mean Streets of Los Angeles
 
        Here I am on a rainy Monday morning in Los Angeles.  It's colder than I care for these days and that rain doesn't look very inviting.  The forecasters say that the rain will be here for the next four days.  Not common for L.A.  It might be the end of this world as we know it.  Or maybe just more flash floods in Malibu.  Oh well, I guess I'm okay where I live.  I'm just not going to go outside if I can avoid it.

          This morning, aside from watching the rain, I wasted another 45 minutes of my life watching a police pursuit through the streets around the Compton area.  These car chases are not particularly unusual in L.A. except when it's pouring rain like today.  The rain is unusual. The driver was navigating the streets cautiously under the circumstances, with emergency flashers on and stopping at most red lights while pursuers stayed at a distance so as not to provoke the driver.  Fortunately there were no mishaps during the pursuit.

           At the end of the chase, the driver compliantly exited the vehicle and began stripping down to underwear, something I had not seen in previous pursuits.  As the cameras zoomed closer it became obvious that the driver was a woman and a rather heavy woman at that.  The lady was put into a police vehicle as the television stations resumed with regular programming.

           Just another day in Los Angeles, albeit an unusual one because of so much rain.  Three more days of predicted rain. Might be interesting--or maybe not.  Hopefully you'll find this Battle of the Bands to be interesting...


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.

Bobby Blue Bland

    A couple of years ago, Stephen T. McCarthy (our BOTB host) offered a Battle that featured Bobby Blue Bland.  In my comment I had mentioned that I wanted to find something by Bland with covers by other artists.  The best song choice that came to my attention was "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City" of which many excellent covers can be found on YouTube.  You might be most familiar with the cover as done by Whitesnake on their first album.

      I had a tough time narrowing this Battle down to just two so I went the gimmick route:  Two male artists from the UK who have been concurrently on the popular music scene for many years and both named Paul.  You might know their names and past affiliations so I won't delve into this.  You can always look them up if you want more info.  And if you want to hear the original version as done by Bobby Blue Bland then you can find that here.  Don't vote on it--I'm just offering this link to those who are curious.

      So, let us continue with the Battle combatants...


Paul Weller  "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City"  (1997)

         Injecting a lot of rock into some blue-eyed soul sound, Weller puts a rugged edge on things with his version.






Paul Carrack  "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City"  (2009)

          More in keeping with the original version, this big brassy performance was recorded live at St. Albans, UK.






Time to Vote!

     Show some love and please vote in this Battle.  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

A I Love Music


Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday January 21st

     By the way, things have been stirring over the A to Z Blog so you might want to drop in to check things out.  Once again Jeremy Hawkins has come up with some neat graphics.  At the helm of things is the ever amazing J Lenni Dorner and again the team is rounded out by Jayden R Vincente, John Holton, and Zalka Csenge Virág.  Keep in mind that this will be the 10th annual Challenge so you might want to join us in the milestone year.   Watch the Challenge blog for updates.

        Do you ever get caught up in watching police pursuits on television?  Do you prefer country life or city living?   Does the future belong to the city or the rusticity?  










Monday, January 7, 2019

Let Me Sleep Before I Wander (#BOTB Results)


If people hibernated like bears then maybe the world would be a more peaceful place.  I'm ready.  Somebody shake me when warmer weather gets here...






       People in colder climes probably would chide me--a fellow living in the more pleasant year-round temperatures of Los Angeles--for complaining about the cold.  But, seriously, it's been in the fifties and sixties of late where I am and I've been feeling very cold.  And from what I've been hearing it's been getting down in the forties at night when I'm asleep.  Maybe I should just go to sleep until May or so, wrapped in blankets in my cozy bed.  I don't think it will work, but on this Sunday I've been making an effort.

        I guess I should take a break from my hibernating nap to announce the winners of my recent Battle of the Bands post since I know everyone out there is waiting with great anticipation for these results.   So let's go...



Battle of the Bands Results



        My most recent Battle of the Bands featured a song first used in a Twilight Zone episode.  The versions of "Come Wander With Me" that I presented were performed by artists Émilie  Satt and Jay Lamm.  My vote goes to  Émilie Satt because I liked the arrangement with the violin.  I liked Jay's version as well, but the style of his competitor was more to my preference in music.

       Out of the starting gate it looked like Émilie was going to leave Jay in the dust, but the voters quickly came to Jay's rescue giving him a massive win.  Way to go, Jay!


Final Vote Tally

Émilie  Satt      7

Jay Lamm       16


Next Battle on Tuesday January 15th

        I plan to be there, will you?  I'm going to set my alarm right now so I don't sleep through that Battle.  Stay warm!

       Has it been cold where you are?  Do you tend to sleep more in winter?  Do you ever feel sorry for us folks in L.A.? 










Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Come Wander with Me (#BOTB & #IWSG)


We might have an idea where we think we are going, but the strangest things can set our journey awry landing us in places we never expected...


My last gig with Morris Costumes at the 2009 Halloween Trade Show in Las Vegas (that's
me behind the "Doctor")


The 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 January 2 posting of the IWSG are Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, and Fundy Blue--be sure to stop by their blogs to express your appreciation.


A Spirit of Adventure
        
          As I've alluded to in past posts, my writing fire has diminished somewhat--or maybe changed horses in midstream.  My mind has been wandering in many realms and my body has been tempted to follow suit.  Oh, I'm still writing regular blog posts--barely and without spirit--and I'm still tinkering a bit with my songwriting. But my thoughts have been in some distant place and time.

            Rarely does anyone ask about my writing, nor do I give them much reason to ask.  I still think of myself as a writer, yet my present ambitions would not declare this position to the world.  To outside eyes I'm just another guy with little to distinguish me from any other guy.  My day will come, I'd like to think, but the question is when.

           Then again, maybe it's not coming.  Maybe it's up to me to pursue that day.  They say nothing worth having comes easy.   For me that's not always been true, but that statement makes for an encouraging cliche about life, about attaining goals, about getting what we want in life.

           We can wait for a knock on our door, but we might be waiting a long time.  Our chances for success are increased by doing the door knocking ourselves.  Plans are usually the best way to go, however there is something good to be said for wandering a bit, whether in our minds or from a geographical perspective.

            I've got some wandering to do.  Would anybody care to wander with me?  I wonder.

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.


Come Wander With Me

          To celebrate my current state of mental wanderlust I've chosen this beautiful song by Jeff Alexander.   This song was written for the final taped Twilight Zone episode with the same title as the song featured in it.

        Bonnie Beecher, who played the lead role as well as the one who sings the song heard throughout the episode, was the replacement for Liza Minnelli after the more famous actress was rejected because of her nervousness during the audition. Beecher had been a friend of Bob Dylan in his early career.  Her singing and acting career never took off as expected though she secured a place in pop music history with this one appearance on the legendary television show.  She has been married for over 50 years to hippiedom's own legendary Wavy Gravy.

         This song has been recorded by a number of artists as well as having appeared in several films and television productions.

         I'm always hesitant to use an original that's not part of the Battle, but in this case I thought some of you might be interested in listening to the source for my Battle.  PLEASE DON'T VOTE ON THIS VERSION!!!  IT IS FOR YOUR REFERENCE ONLY!   If you don't care about listening to it then just scroll down to the versions I'm using for the Battle...

Bonnie Beecher  "Come Wander With Me"  (1964)
       And remember--don't vote on this version...
      




Now for the Battle!!

       Please vote for one of the following versions.


Émilie  Satt  "Come Wander With Me"  (2009)

        This French artist is one half of the duo known as Madame Monsieur. Her vocals are stylistically similar to Bonnie Beecher's original, but the instrumentation has been updated to have a more commercial modern appeal.

     







Jay Lamm  "Come Wander With Me"  (2013)

     From Louisiana, Jay Lamm is the founder of the progressive metal band Cea Serin.  Though this cover is soft and mellow, the metal influence can certainly be heard.






Time to Vote!
     Before you wander off, please vote in my first Battle of 2019.  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

A I Love Music


Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday January 7th

           Once you've voted, please don't forget to see if your choice won the Battle.  In the meantime I'll be wandering about.

             Has your life journey taken you to where you expected or have you been taken by surprise?  After losing focus on a project, do you tend to see things more clearly after you've meandered a bit?    Where do you see 2019 taking you?

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          Happy New Year!  
         Have a great 2019!
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