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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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Is History Becoming History? ( #BOTB Results )


Who should decide when what or who has become irrelevant?   Do you trust others to make that decision for you?  And who are those "others"?   

Is History Becoming History?

        Looking back to my years of pre-college education, it seems strange that I often considered history to be one of my least favorite courses.  It's strange--maybe even contradictory--since I've always loved movies, books, and stories about historic events.  I still prefer non-fiction accounts of people and times in the past.  In actuality history was/is one of my favorite subjects.

          It would be unfair to some of the wonderful teachers I had in younger days to say that they taught the subject of history poorly.  Primarily it was a matter of my perception--a perception that changed radically after I began taking history classes at the University of Tennessee and began pursuing the topic on my own.  History became interesting to me as well as relevant to my understanding of the people and events that shaped history to the present day.

          Those who we see currently rejecting the achievements of those who brought us to where we are now--those who want to tear down monuments and erase names from history books--they are essentially ignorant from all indications I receive from them.  Or they are radical insurgents who are deliberately trying to destroy the history, culture, and legacy of the United States of America and for that alone they should be condemned and rejected.

        To me there is no logical argument to tearing down or even removal of statues and monuments that currently exist unless they pose some kind of threat to their surroundings or there is a sound purpose in doing so.  Just because they might "make people feel badly" is not a reasonable argument.  Those monuments are inanimate without any motivation in and of themselves and therefore cannot "make" anybody feel anything--people chose to feel an emotion, control it, and take action to deal with why they feel that way.  The monuments are objects of learning, reflection, understanding, and discussion.  They should be cherished as part of our heritage--or at the very least respected as property that others might appreciate.

        And all of this does not even address the memorials as art.  They are indeed art since they were creations of human minds and handiwork.  Some, such as those on Monument Avenue in Richmond VA, are (or were) quite impressive to behold.  When I lived in Richmond my route to work took me past those statues and I always enjoyed seeing them.

         Now, the statue of Stonewall Jackson (whom I still proudly claim in my family's ancestry) is gone.  I guess the others have been removed as well.  I know that the statue of Matthew Maury was removed after Stonewall, something I lamented since I had only recently learned about Maury's great contributions to science and navigation.  Why oh why?  Why is there so much ignorance?  Why is the will of a handful of un-American Americans catered to while the rest of us are not even given an opportunity for input?   The incompetent mayor of Richmond, Levar Stoney, is a pitiful joke as far as I am concerned.

           But that's where we've come to in this country.  Loud mobs of ignorant child-adults seem to be kowtowing local and state leaders into submitting to the will of folks who care nothing for America.  None of the government leaders or mob participants will ever attain the great achievements of Christoper Columbus, Thomas Jefferson, or Andrew Jackson.  I can say that with relative confidence and I'll retract my words if I ever see it happen.

          We live in sorry days, but I'm hoping better things will be coming.  I don't expect that to happen so I won't lay any money on that bet.  As much as possible we need to reject the mob influence or the influence of insidious radical groups like Black Lives Matter.  If you're offended by that then do your research--BLM is an evil organization.  Many people can't seem to distinguish between the sentiment of black or any lives mattering and a leftist organization that has absconded a slogan as their name.

            In true Orwellian fashion the radical left wants to rewrite our great history to reflect their ideology.  The pressure to shame us about our history is leading to musical groups changing their names, movies and books under consideration to be banned or given limited access, or erasing any vestiges of our history in our surroundings.  If you really want to tear down statues then build your own damn statue on your own land with your own money and rip the sucker down.  Otherwise leave your filthy mitts off of what others have created and funded. 

           I for one love the United States of America despite its flaws and foibles.  History should be a learning experience.  Unfortunately the spoiled brat radicals haven't learned much from our history, but they are gladly taking cues from the evil governments of the past that did the same kind of eradication of the past.

             To get angry or upset about history and what people of the past did is utterly foolish and stupid.  Really?  Getting emotional about things that already happened and can't be undone other than in some childish imaginary way?   Let's pretend things didn't happen? 

               I glad I'm more intelligent than that.   But that's me.  And I think it's a lot of other people as well.   Anyone who supports the "peaceful" protesting of graffiti, looting, violence, destruction, and chaos in general is an idiot--a dangerous idiot.  Maybe you have a different point of view about this-- and then maybe you're an idiot.



Battle of the Bands Results 



         This most recent Battle featured the Dave Loggins hit "Please Come to Boston" as performed by Confederate Railroad and Reba McIntire.  The Railroad chugged out of the station with a nice lead, but it wasn't long before spunky Reba overtook the train to take the lead all the way until the end of the match.

          I liked both versions quite well, but the male voices of Confederate Railroad were more preferred to me than Reba's country twang.  But, alas, my vote for the Confederate guys wasn't enough to beat Reba.  And I gotta admit that her version is pretty good.


Final Vote Tally

Confederate Railroad         10

Reba McIntire                    13




Next Battle on July 15th?  Maybe? Probably

           If I show up for a mid month Battle I hope you'll join me in a week.  I still feel like I need the break, but on the other hand I have so many Battles waiting in the wings that by doing two a month I might wrap them up in a couple years if I'm still blogging that long.  Then, of course, there is that fact that I keep thinking up new Battles to add.  But for me it's all less of a conundrum than it is a matter of whim.  Either way, I intend to be back at some point so please don't forget me.  Forgetting seems to be the mode of the day and I don't relish being the next victim of being forgotten.  Not in my lifetime at least.


        Can you think of a logical reason to tear down monuments to the past (especially if they have been standing for many decades)?    Do you think students today are being properly educated about history?   Are you interested in exploring the past?  



Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Please Come to Boston ( #BOTB ) ( #IWSG )


In recent weeks I've been hearing a shrill shrieking noise emanating from somewhere in the vicinity of the neighborhood where I live.  I hear it periodically throughout the day and the night.  Sometimes I am awakened to hear this undefinable noise. My wife says she hears it too so I know it's not something in my head.  It's puzzling to me.  But so much has become puzzling in recent months.  I mean more puzzling than anything ever before in my life...



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 July 1 posting of the IWSG are Jenni Enzor, Beth Camp, Liesbet, Tyrean Martinson, and Sandra Cox!



July 1 question - There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?


      The changes that I'd like to see are changes within me.  Everything in the industry has changed in ways that certainly make getting my work published to be a more attainable goal, but to be actually read by any appreciable audience remains a mystery in so many ways.  And if I don't write then it won't matter what else I do anyway.

       My interest in fiction writing has gone by the wayside while my inclination towards writing non-fiction--primarily memoir--is more steadfast though with not enough actual writing.  You might think the restrictive nature of current life circumstances might lead me to write more.  No, not quite--I'm not even reading more.

       Good news is that I'm writing more songs these days.  Almost every day I start a new song and even almost finish some.  My mind has been filled with music--and other writing I suppose.  I'm writing a lot in my head.

       So here's a change I'd like to see--or maybe it's more of an invention.  How about a device that I can hook into my brain that will transmit my writing thoughts into digital storage that can be printed out or sent where I want to send it.  Just the ticket for lazy me!

        If I had one of those I'd be really prolific.  Wouldn't we all...

     

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 there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle excepting over these summer months.   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.


Please Come to Boston

        After my last BOTB post, my youngest sister Joni sent me a request to feature a favorite song of hers--"Please Come to Boston" which was originally done by Dave Loggins. Now, like I told Joni, I have so many song Battles lined up in my "someday queue" that I wasn't sure when I'd get around to doing this one, but considering it's my sister and she recently celebrated a birthday with her twin brother Jay (I won't say how old they turned, but they are getting older like I am) I figured I'd indulge her request and move her song to the top of my list.

       When "Please Come to Boston" came out in 1974 it got a lot of airplay on the radio stations in Knoxville TN near where I was living at the time.  I think the reference to Tennessee particularly caught the attention of Knoxville music fans.  My good friend Vernon had mentioned at the time how much he liked the song. I liked it too, though maybe not as much he did.

        It's a sweet song that has since those days taken on greater meaning for me seeing as how I've roamed far and wide away from East Tennessee throughout the years that followed the song's release.  These days as I seem more trapped in Los Angeles by the circumstances of life and the choices that I've made, the song hits home like never before.  It would be nice to go back to at least visit Tennessee, but I doubt that I'll ever live there again.  If visiting there or anywhere is in my future, it's not on my agenda for this year.  Don't think I'll be going anywhere this year unless the situation in this country changes drastically for the better.

        Realistically speaking, I don't think this is a very good year for traveling anywhere.  But I can dream and reminisce...
     




Confederate Railroad  "Please Come to Boston" (2007)

       When I was looking for cover versions of "Please Come to Boston" this group's name stood out considering all that's been going on of late.  Looking at the Wikipedia entry for the group I read where upcoming concerts for the band have been cancelled because of the problem with their name.  Looks like another band is going to have to change their name due to the current scourge of political correctness.  But that's a topic for another day and for now let's listen to their version of the Dave Loggins hit...







Reba McEntire  "Please Come to Boston"  (1995)

       For the female take on "Please Come to Boston" I decided to stay with the country genre.  Surely everyone is familiar with Reba since she's not only been a long time country star, but has appeared in movies and television, including her own sitcom.  See what you think of Reba's version...







Time to Vote!

         Are you feeling the country?    Which song version do you prefer?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  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

 ‘Storms and Stardust’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside 

A I Love Music


Winner of this Battle Announced Wednesday July 8th

         Stay happy if you can and if you're doing like I've been doing you'll be mostly staying at home.  That's fine with me.  I'm happy at home.  Please vote today and come back later to see if your favorite was the winner.


         Have you been hearing any strange sounds lately?   Do you have any vacation plans this summer that involve travel?   During the pandemic lock down have you experienced greater productivity or have you been distracted by other things?





     



Monday, June 8, 2020

Not Exactly, Perhaps ( #BOTB Results )


Call me capricious.  Call me irresponsible.  Sure, I might vacillate at times--or even frequently--but that is our right if it comes to little things in life...

I guess I don't care about much these days

Battle of the Bands Results


       First off, let me get to the main point of this post--the results of my most recent Battle of the Bands match up which was between the jazzy duo Jackie and Roy and the psychedelic vocal group Rotary Connection.  As is usually the case, I liked both of my selections quite well, but one comes out on top for me.  My preferred pick is Rotary Connection.  Diedre Knight  summed it up well for me: 
Jackie and Roy were good, real smooth. I can imagine them smiling as they sing together. But the lyrics suggest an entirely different mood, one I thought was well conveyed in the somewhat cosmic background sounds and fetching vocals of Rotary Connection. A vote for RC from me, please.

        A dose of psychedelia is something I welcome in music and a few others seemed to agree. This was another back and forth close race.  It was what I needed to rekindle things for me and my blog. 


Final Vote Tally

 Jackie and Roy              11

Rotary Connection         13


Piece of My Mind

      Now as to the point on the periphery of my  recent thinking,  I had mentioned previously that I was pondering a decision.  Part of the clue was in the title of my song choice "Didn't Want to Have to Do It".   "Do what?" you might or might not say.  Respond to the frustrations and exasperations that I've been feeling of late is my answer.

       To expound upon this thought, I was strongly considering taking a blog break until at least September and maybe longer.  But then I was seeing where I was not the only one pondering these thoughts.  Maybe it's an offshoot of recent events and moods.  Maybe some of us have been blogging too long in a social media environment that isn't always very nice and frequently not very receptive to different opinions.  I don't know, but so much of the time I just don't feel so much like "tossing it out" anymore.

       Then I have a pretty dynamite Battle of the Bands with an excellent response (24 votes isn't too bad) and I get inspired for the next one to come.  I do enjoy these Battle posts.  Maybe I won't take that break that I was planning--yet, if ever.   However I am going to cut back for summer to just one Battle on the first of the month which will continue to be in tandem with my post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group along with my follow-up results post for that Battle.  That will keep my monthly posting to just two entries per month unless I get worked up enough to post something else in a month. 

       I'll see how things go and be flexible.  Right now I feel tremendously discouraged about our country.  Hopefully things will get better soon.  Sometimes hope is all that keeps us going. 


Next Battle of the Bands on Wednesday July 1st

        This post will also be for Insecure Writer's Support Group.  Hope you'll join me then--unless I have something that I feel I must say before that time.  I'll try to keep visiting your posts and commenting,  Seems like I should have time on my hands since I probably won't be going back East to visit family this summer.  That hurts, but I guess it's not as bad as a kick in the head from some irrational mindless idiot protester.   As far as I"m concerned, all of the people with their causes can take those causes and shove them where I don't have to see them.


        Do you still enjoy blogging as much as you used to?   Has producing new blog posts become somewhat of a chore to you at times?   Where do you think the world is heading these days?






Monday, June 1, 2020

Didn't Want To Have To Do It (#BOTB) ( #IWSG )


        Been watching new episodes of the Los Angeles riot series that seem to be on every local channel.  I guess these riots will be going on through the summer.  Coverage can get a bit tedious at times, but it sure beats the wall-to-wall COVID coverage we had before this...

After watching riots all day I wanted to see a picture that makes me think of better times.



Didn't Want to Have to Do It

        This might be an excuse from some of the rioters and looters, but they seem pretty willing do be doing what they've been doing.  Personally I don't get it.

         In everyday life we all have to do things we didn't want to have to do, but hopefully none of us are responsible for feeling a need to do useless destructive things.  Right now my mind is a bit weighted down with considerations of certain things.  Things that I might not want to do, but probably need to do. 

          But I'm still thinking and will discuss it on my Battle of the Bands results post in about a week.  So first we need to have a Battle of the Bands, which is something I always enjoy doing.  Besides this song by John Sebastian of the Lovin' Spoonful being a favorite of mine, the song contains a thought that's at the center of what's been on my mind.   Listen and enjoy...



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 there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle excepting over these summer months.   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.



       

Jackie & Roy   "Didn't Want to Have to Do It"  (1968)

      This husband and wife team performed together for over 50 years and left a slew of albums in the wake of their long career.  They were a Vegas smash back in the years around 1960.  I first saw them on some old television reruns of The Danny Kaye Show and The Dinah Shore Show and was impressed enough to find some of their songs on YouTube including this old favorite song of mine...

       




Rotary Connection    "Didn't Want to Have to Do It"  (1967)

        Among my all time favorite groups, Rotary Connection was noted for mind-bending song covers and psychedelic pop.  I first became intrigued with this group after reading about them.  When I saw their album Aladdin in about 1970 I bought it and have it in my vinyl collection to this day.  In more recent years I've added some of their other albums to my CD collection.  I think their music still holds up pretty well.  Let us know what you think...





Time to Vote!
         How does this song make you feel?    Which song version do you prefer?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  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

 ‘Storms and Stardust’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside 

A I Love Music


Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday June 8th

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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 June 3 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, J.Q. Rose, and Natalie Aguirre!



   
June 3 question - Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?

             Seems like my work is based on my life for the most part--or at least life experience.  My work is mainly on my blog so there isn't much left to the imagination if one reads enough.  And maybe I'd ultimately have to say "What work?" since nothing of note has been published. 

            But of course there are secrets.  Some very big secrets.  And I'm not going to reveal those here or perhaps anywhere.  That's why they are secrets.

         

          Maybe I'll figure out what I'm going to decide by the time of my next post on June 8th, but do come back to find out.  Or just come back because I'm here.  What are your big decisions for this upcoming potentially tumultuous summer?













Friday, May 22, 2020

Take Your Mask and Shove It! ( #BOTB results )


       Okay everybody!  Comply!  Wear your masks!  Stand in lines!  Keep your distances!  Forfeit your humanity!   Listen and obey!   The New World of the Future is coming for you!


Take Your Mask and Shove It!
Image result for tragedy and comedy masks
Traditional Tragedy and Comedy Masks
        Ugh!  I'm uncomfortable having to wear those crazy face masks--not just physically, but mentally.  Something's not right here.  Looking around at all of the other folks in masks I am a bit disturbed.  Where exactly is this all going if we stay with this trend?  What will be next?

          You might be the compliant type who insists that everyone should be wearing a mask.  I say go ahead and wear yours if you wish.  Or better yet just quarantine yourself in your locked down house and wait until the world is a totally safe place for you.  Enjoy your wait.  As long as the power and water stay on you might be okay.

         About these masks though...

          After reading an article recently, I was reminded of something I had heard about a few years ago.  The word "hypocrite" comes from a Greek root word that refers to someone who is a fake, a cheat, or a liar which is based on the stage actors of ancient Greek theater who wore masks instead of showing their true faces.

           This article discussed how much we rely on facial expressions to provide some indication of the intent or emotion of another person.  As humans--as well as many animals--we use the outward appearance of a person to read what that person might be thinking which in turn might help us determine their potential action in a certain situation.  A mask covers that up.  It's not only difficult to read another person who is wearing a mask, but sometimes it's hard to even recognize who they are.

           Shades of masquerades!   Or perhaps banditry? 

           So today we accept mask wearing as a norm and even a requirement.  So how about another practical solution to maintaining order in society?  Maybe some kind of mark or number on each of us?  What a great idea!  No more ID cards needed and all of the information about each of us encoded in a mark that can be read by a scanning device.  The fast track solution to getting through security checks and moving easily about society.  Much easier than a mask too--you can breath better and it doesn't hide your face.

            If you don't mind the mask then the world government mark will be a breeze for you.  How about it?  Are you ready to accept that as well?


Battle of the Bands Results




        This recent Battle of the Bands contest between Dorris Henderson and Melody Gardot performing the traditional work song "No More My Lord" was one that I went back and forth on.  The guitar work in the Henderson version was appealing to me, but I preferred the vocals on Gardot's version.  The delivery of the Melody Gardot version was more entertaining and listenable in my estimation so that is the one I settled my vote on.

        At the outset it looked like Dorris Henderson was going to run away with the win, which she did, but in the end Melody didn't have too bad of a showing.


Final Vote Tally

Dorris Henderson        11

Melody Gardot              8



Next Battle on Monday June 1st

         Hard to believe that summer is almost here again.  For now I'll plan on doing this next Battle, but a break might still be in the cards for me.  Come back on June 1st for the Battle and maybe something else...

Do you have any special summer plans?  Or have you put plans on hold to see what is going to happen with the pandemic scam?   I'm not saying that the COVID disease isn't real, but the response to it is indeed a scam.  Have you figured that out yet?  If you don't think it's a scam then are you ready for that identification mark?






Friday, May 15, 2020

No More My Lord (#BOTB)


       Personally I'm tired of all this COVID stuff.  I hate the lock downs, the masks, the social distancing.  There's a devious plot afoot the way I see it.  I feel badly for a lot of the younger folks who have had their lives overturned and diminished from what is going on.  This is unlike anything we've ever seen.  I have my theories as to what is going on, but I'll save those for myself or for anyone who wants to hear what I think--but I won't say much in this blog post.

      Recently I was reading about the Hong Kong Flu pandemic.  I recall the name, but couldn't have said when it happened until I started reading about it.   This pandemic was from fall of 1968 to sometime in 1970.  That was my senior year in high school and the beginning of my first year at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  I have no recollection of a pandemic going on at that time even though about 1 million deaths worldwide and 100,000 deaths in the United States were the results.

       Maybe we were tougher then.  Or maybe more callous?  Or maybe we just wanted to live our lives.  I don't know what the difference between then and now is.  I can guess, but does anyone really care?   All I can say now is I'm ready for all of this to end.  Please!  No more my Lord...


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 there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle excepting over these summer months.   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.



No More My Lord

           This is a "Negro prison song" first collected by ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax many years ago.  There are many renditions to be found on YouTube.  For this Battle I've chosen two versions by female artists.  Take a listen and pick your preference...




Dorris Henderson   "No More My Lord"  (1967)









Melody Gardot  "No More My Lord"  (2010)








Time to Vote!

         How does this song make you feel?    Which song version do you prefer?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  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

 ‘Storms and Stardust’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside 

A I Love Music


Winner of this Battle Announced on Friday May 22nd

         I plan to be here then, but probably not before.  Hope you'll come back to see which version won the most votes.